Move over Carol’s Daughter, there’s a new skin care product in town and it’s for men! Solo Noir is an awesome complete grooming line for ethnic men that has taken the skin care industry by storm. The company is the brain child of Chicago, IL resident and Tennessee State University alum Andrea Polk!
I got the opportunity to interview Andrea to find out what inspired her to start Solo Nair for Men. You can access our interview by scrolling below.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur and tell us a little bit about Solo Noir for Men?
Andrea: As a child the word entrepreneur was never a term that was part of my vocabulary; in fact I never realized being an entrepreneur was a profession until my junior year in high school. Growing up in a middle class single parent home outside of Chicago, I was never taught how to own a business, but rather how to be a great employee.
What inspired me to become an entrepreneur was spending years working in sales positions in which I helped grow and promote others brands. After years of being a corporate employee, I decided to put my skills and knowledge gained from those corporations and couple it with my Master’s degree in Supply Chain Management and Aesthetics to launch Solo Noir.
Solo Noir is a complete grooming line for ethnic men featuring 100% organic 2-in-1 grooming products to make grooming simple. For years the male ethnic skin care market has been overlooked and Solo Noir is the solution to the markets void.
We formulate organic skin care products that help moisturize the skin, assist in the prevention of ingrown hairs, soften course facial hair, and promote smooth skin. We offer unique skin care products that do not create a dependency on usage like most chemical skin care products in the industry.
In our efforts to emphasize empowerment in our consumers, we have named all our products after positive attributes of men: DAPPER a 2-in-1 Facial Wash/Toner, REFINED a 2-in-1 Facial Buff/Cleanse, SMOOTH a Skin Conditioner/Skin Smoother, BRAVE an Aftershave/Toner, and SLEEK a Pre-Shave/Shave Cream.
What makes Solo Noir for Men different and unique from other skincare products?
Andrea: What makes Solo Noir different from other skin care products on the market is our niche and emphasis placed on maintaining a healthy lifestyle while providing our consumers with the products to help achieve skin perfection. Currently there are hundreds of chemical-based male products on the market with just a handful of organic skin care products, and even fewer ethnic based products designed for ethnic male skin concerns.
Another MAJOR factor is with Solo Noir every ingredient on our label is 100% organic. Most often large manufacturers use a low percentage of NATURAL ingredients for label claims to keep their cost low and to capitalize on the natural skin care trends. The only full proof way to know if are using 100% organic natural ingredients is to read the ingredients label. If it’s not listed in the beginning of the ingredients, then 9 times out of 10, it’s not an organic product.
What did you have to sacrifice to make it to this point and how have those sacrifices benefited you thus far?
Andrea: First and foremost, I had to downscale on my lifestyle to pursue my passion of owning a business. It wasn’t easy, but I knew it had to be done. It’s hard when you want to be the independent person with your own place, doing things for yourself, etc, but when it comes down to it, you have to make the best moves that will set you up for where you want to be, not where you are at now.
When I started this venture I was living a lifestyle that was not conducive of me being smart with my finances. It was practically impossible for me to set aside start up funds while paying rent, a car note, taking care of my dogs; money was tight enough as it is. So I had to really think about what I wanted for myself. After weighing my options of being independent versus being successful, success prevailed. So I moved back in with my mom and from there continued to make necessary adjustments to get me on track.
Another sacrifice was my personal relationships. It’s hard not being able to see family and close friends like you once did before taking the journey into entrepreneurship. Although it’s hard to prioritize work and relationships sometimes you have to do what is best for you at that time. If your family and close friends are just that, then they will understand and will be there for support regardless of if you have spent quality time with them or not because they ultimately want to see you reach your goals.
If you could go back and do one thing over as it pertains to your business, what would it be and why?
Andrea: Solo Noir is my second attempt in the male skin care market. A few years ago I owned a company named Adonis Body Care, in which I did everything wrong but yet had mediocre success. It took me a few years to build my network to pursue it again and now I feel like I am doing everything right. Some of the things that led to my downfall was not owning my formula, not utilizing resources, not having a firm business structure, spending money on the wrong marketing avenues, and not having a team of supporters.
Looking back I was not ready for the level of success I wanted. Some of the biggest details I overlooked were costly. I didn’t have UPC codes on my products, my labels did not adhere to FDA standards, and I didn’t have the business structure. If I knew then what I know now things would have been a lot different. If I could go back I would have definitely made sure I had a contingency plan for my business.
Although I experienced the downfall of my first business, it was much needed. I learned a lot from that and have now been able to avoid those mistakes and make better choices in this venture. I have been able to put systems in place to minimize failure. Currently I have contracted a manufacturer to produce, package, label, and distribute my products.
What book, movie or song inspires your drive an entrepreneur?
Andrea: The book that inspired me to be an entrepreneur is “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Koyosaki. This book changed my life in terms of how I see entrepreneurship and working for a corporation. The book focuses on two fundamental concepts: a can-do attitude and fearless entrepreneurship. I believe everyone should read this book if they are in a place of uncertainty in their career.
How do you use fear as a motivator?
Andrea: My biggest fear is not pursuing my purpose. I believe when you put forth effort and time in pursuing your purpose you are doing yourself and the Creator justice. During the time when I lacked the confidence to step out on faith and did not go after owning a business of my own, I felt empty and purposeless (regarding my career) and that was not a good feeling. Knowing how I felt then and how I feel now, I refuse to revisit that feeling of emptiness.
How does Solo Noir for Men SpreadLuv?
Andrea: Solo Noir SpreadLuv by educating men and teens on grooming, wellness, and lifestyle. As a licensed aesthetician I utilize my experience and knowledge in the skin care industry to pay it forward. We use our social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and LinkedIn) to educate our consumers on the importance of having a proper skin care regimen.
We also SpreadLuv by offering individuals the opportunity to pursue their dreams through the Solo Noir platform. For individuals that are looking to build their portfolio in various areas we welcome the connection. For more information about my company, please feel free to visit our website www.solonoir.com or Facebook page www.facebook.com/solonoirformen. Thanks for the support SpreadLuv!!