Today I chat with my friend and fellow trailblazing entrepreneur Mr. Kenroy George. Kenroy is someone who I met first digitally and then in person once I went back from to Grenada. The first time we met in person, I could feel the passion in his voice and the drive he had as an individual. So it is of no surprise to me when he reached out to me to say he was launching an all natural skin care line in Grenada. Once we began talking about this initiative, I knew I had to get this story out there to show that innovation and entrepreneurship are alive in the Caribbean.
Kenroy and I chatted about how he started his NUMAD brand, the inspiration behind it all, the obstacles he faced along the way and how he overcame them and what’s next for his business. NUMAD will officially be launched on August 3rd in Grenada.
Tell me a little about who you are?
My name is Kenroy George, I’m Grenadian but left for New York at 10. I’ve always wanted to be a pilot growing up but eventually became a web developer with a creative bent. This later lead me to marketing.
I did not fulfill the pilot dream, but I made up for it by traveling, a lot. This allowed me to learn and observe other cultures and ways of life. These would all lead the way to what is now NUMAD.
What is your business about?
NUMAD is all natural skin care line of products ranging from Chocolate Body Butter, Hemp and Avocado Oil, Mint and Rosemary Sugar Scrub and more. The idea came about during a business trip to Morocco for a product launch very much similar to NUMAD.
NUMAD is a brand focused on highlighting the natural products of regions around the world starting, of course, with Grenada.
I remember initially meeting a Grenadian woman name Wendy Ann George; she made some of the most amazing products, I was sold the first time I experienced her products. From there we began developing what was to become NUMAD.
NUMAD is a play on the work NOMAD; initially i wanted to call the brand NOMAD. However, I felt it may get lost in the sea of information that exists around the word NOMAD, so I decided to play on the words NEW and NOMAD, and we get NUMAD.
What were you doing before you started your business?
Before starting the company, I was running my own design agency in NY, consulting with startups and assisting with content curation.
Much of the skills employed then were repurposed when establishing the brand. Travel was a huge part of the company and just about everything we did during the agency and that too made its way into what we plan to do with NUMAD.
What inspired you to start your Business?
Traveling the world and seeing how countries market their own products and how much they care about both presentation and customer service. Increasing local exports was another key reason for getting into this.
It really hit home while sitting in my apartment in Morocco how much getting national support can really propel local products. It all starts with merchants being proud of their country and displaying it to the world every day in day to day interactions.
What obstacles did you face in starting your business and how did you overcome them?
There were initially some challenges around dealing with a manufacturer to source jars from China while making sure the quality and price were right.
This is difficult when you’re thousands of miles away and not able to oversee the process yourself. This was made exponentially difficult when my partner at the time was not able to continue, so I personally had to take on responsibility for all areas of the business from design to the negotiation of the more delicate details of all our partnerships. This included working with the product manufacturers, packaging manufacturers, shipping container loads of products, marketing, and more.
What’s next for you and your business?
Next up for us after the Grenada collection is well established is to turn our attention to Morocco, my 3rd home. We were initially going to start here but ran into some issues with shipping products out with the manufacturer due to not having the necessary health and export licenses.
There are also plans to create travel experiences around the countries and products we create. Instead of just selling products from these countries why not market the entire country and all it has to offer. Creating niche experiences allows our customers to get an exciting look at how the products came about and experienced the country in a novel way.
What is your best advice for young people looking to start a similar business?
What I can suggest is you start with what you know, do your research to find gaps in the market you can fill, focus on the customer, do the unexpected, and lastly, have confidence in yourself and your ideas.