After One Business Failed, Andrea Polk Persevered To Create Skin Care Line Solo Noir For Men

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MN: How do you get in the mindset of your customers to anticipate their needs?

AP: Like any successful company looking to offer a product and be sustainable in the market, we performed numerous studies… market research, research and development, and product testing.  After receiving the results from our market research we gained a better understanding of our target market and began developing marketing campaigns to speak directly to ethnic male concerns.  The male grooming industry is unique because, historically, women purchase more grooming products for men than they do for themselves, so from a marketing perspective, we strive to attract women as well as men in our outreach.

MN: Why was it important to you that the products be all natural?

AP: It was important for me to create a skin care line that was organic because of the long-term benefits that organic products have on the skin. We use ingredients such as Black Willow Bark, Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, Grapeseed Oil, and Cupuassa Butter to address ingrown hair prevention, skin discoloration, acne, and promote overall grooming. It was doubly important for Solo Noir to offer its customers a product that was easy to use.  We currently have five products in our catalog all equipped with 2-in-1 capabilities and named after a positive attribute of a man: “DAPPER” Cleanser + Toner, “REFINED” Buff + Cleanse, “SMOOTH” Skin Conditioner + Skin Smoother, “BRAVE” Aftershave + Toner, “SLEEK” Pre-shave + Shave Cream.

MN: Your sales model includes the opportunity for “SoloPreneurs” to invest in the product at a discount and do face to face sales a la Mary Kay. Why is this mode of sale important to your business?

AP: The direct sales component is important to Solo Noir because it helps our consumers put a face with the brand and allow us to be present in multiple markets.  Our SoloPreneur program helps empower men and women allowing them to make a supplemental income by selling to individuals and businesses.

MN: What is your advice to anyone contemplating starting a business?

AP: The advice that I would give to aspiring entrepreneurs is to build their network, join organizations, meet new people, and gain experience in their industry of interest. The benefits of building a network is priceless, [your] network of friends may one day be your largest clients or business alliances.  Most importantly follow your dreams and don’t let others [doubts] hinder your pursuit. Following your dream and pursuing your purpose is very rewarding, so never give up on yourself.

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Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond is the author of the novel Powder Necklace and founder of the blog People Who Write. Follow her on Twitter @nanaekua.

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