For most Long Island small businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating. According to the Washington Post, more than 100,000 small businesses have closed from the start of the pandemic in March through May. Yet Jayson and Nicola McLeod have found success in these troubling times. With the public’s growing desire for natural soaps and moisturizers, Nikki’s Naturals is booming.
Mr. and Mrs. McLeod own a small business that makes, imports and distributes quality raw butters and soaps. Based in Uniondale, N.Y., they specialize in distributing and creating skin-care products. Incorporating shea butter, soaps and other raw goods, their products help fight dry skin and eczema. They have received exposure through setting up an online shop and selling to small distributors, blossoming small businesses and local markets. They’ve even been featured in DMochelle Fashions Magazine in March 2015.
The Start of Nikki’s Naturals
The couple were inspired to start their business when trying to provide their daughter with the treatment she needed for her eczema. “We didn’t know what to do,” Mr. McLeod said. “We were using all the creams the doctors were giving her, and it was giving her white splotches on her body.” In a lengthy battle of trial and error, they found their answer: shea butter.
Seeing the potential of this product as an eczema treatment, the pair tinkered with different formulas. Due to this experimentation, they now have a plethora of options for their customers.
“We tested it out at home, and then eventually I started giving out samples,” Mrs. McLeod said. “Everyone loved it.” They sell not only to customers who suffer from eczema, but also to skin-care lovers.
While this isn’t the only source of income for the McLeods, they’re anxious to see how COVID-19 potentially affects them.
Outside of their business, Nicola teaches kindergarten and Jayson works as a technical engineer. When the pandemic forced them to stay home in early March, they were nervous about what would happen to their family if the business was to take a financial hit. Luckily for them, this would not be their reality.
As it turns out, since more people are staying inside, it has given them more time to focus on themselves. The couple soon noticed that since March, their customers’ simple need for skin-care has grown into a large demand.
Since the formation of their business five years ago, the McLeods had experienced minor growth, so this sudden boom was a complete shock. “It’s the importing that really took off,” Mrs. McLeod said. “That’s where we are now and that is where we are going to stay.”
Race, Morality, and Philosophy
The McLeods say they don’t know if they have faced any sort of racial bias when conducting their businesses. Regardless, it wouldn’t have slowed them down. “Even if that did happen to our face, we’d just move on and that’s it,” Mrs. McLeod said.
“As for our experience, I would say that sometimes ignorance is bliss,” Mr. McLeod said. “We went into this because we wanted to do it. We didn’t really think about what the obstacles were going to be. We said this is what we want to do, we’re going to do it, and that’s it.”
Persevering through potential racial discrimination is just one way that they are inspiring others. The couple says their philosophy of informing and sharing advice helped form their agenda as business owners.
They are adamant on answering questions from customers and other potential businesspeople. They are even willing to sell raw materials in mass quantities, influencing others to start their own businesses. Their generosity has led people outside of their business to either distribute the purchased raw materials or create something of their own.
Mr. McLeod said that they have helped kickstart smaller businesses and dozens of individual distributors through their strategies. “Being a supplier to those companies really boosted our growth, [so] there’s a mutual relationship there. If they do well, we do well.”
They love helping the businesses smaller than them, and are determined to continue that mindset as they plan for development within their own business. Their generosity in giving advice has helped many in the pursuit of growth.
“They text us, and they call us, and we answer!” Mrs. McLeod said. “We want them to be better.”
Desires and Plans For the Future
The McLeods don’t plan on staying small forever. They want to expand their options for customers, get more control over distribution and finetune the business as a whole.
Excited to explore the benefits of exotic oils and sea moss, the couple can’t wait to share their products as they plan for expansion. “We want to do it on a bigger scale,” Mrs. McLeod said, “so when people call us, or go on the internet, or come to see us, they can walk away with a variety of things that can help them feel and look better.”
While they plan on maintaining their helpful and environmentally ethical practices, they are excited for what awaits them in the future.
Where to Find Them/Information:
Phone Number: (516) 234-3950
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