Inspiring Stories of Our Owners

Q&A with NKVSKIN Founder Nikia Vaughan

February 5, 2024
4 min read

Nikia Vaughan has always been passionate about skincare. After turning 40, family and friends would constantly ask Nikia how she kept her skin looking so healthy. Her secret? DIY-ing her own skincare. At home she would create her own oils and butters, but is wasn’t until her daughter was diagnosed with Sickle cell disease at 6 weeks old that she decided to turn her passion into a business.

Q&A with Nikia Vaughan

Can you share what your small business is and its mission?

NKVSKIN is a service and facial skincare product based business in Baltimore, Maryland. NKVSKIN was created to provide healthy and effective skin care products and services to improve the appearance of skin and enhance the overall health and wellness lifestyles of our clients by example and education.

Why did you decide to start your own business? Can you take me back to the moment you saw a need for your business, and how you came up with its concept?

NKVSKIN was originally created to help aid in additional household income to help pay for educational assistance for (my) daughter who was diagnosed with sickle cell disease at 6 weeks old. I have always been passionate about skin and creating DIY products for myself. This (grew) into a successful business. I enrolled into esthetician school at 44 and graduated at 45. So now as a Licensed Esthetician and formulator I am an expert on the physiology of skin and ingredients for optimal skin health. I am turning 47 this May and skincare is now equated to overall wellness.

How do you set your business apart from those in your industry?

NKVSKIN is set apart from other beauty businesses in my industry based on a plethora of reasons. One is community specifically. In all things that NKVSKIN does, I ensure that the community that I service is included in many ways. Sickle Cell disease is the reason why my business started and every chance I get to talk about a community that is truly underserved, I do by associating it back to my business. From talks, to donating products and money to the efforts to support. Also, being a Licensed Esthetician gives me an advantage by understanding the skin in depth so this allows me to produce formulations for specific skincare concerns and needs.

What tool/tools have you used that has helped boost your business?

Hello Alice of course was and is a great tool that has helped boost my business with the tools and resources provided to me as a small woman-owned and black-owned business. Specifically being a Hello Alice BGE Energizing Grant winner and with the support of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore inaugural BOOST (Black Owned Operated Storefront Tenancy) Program winners. These opportunities and the tools and resources have helped my business to soar from learning how to run a storefront to learning how to read a lease and CPA resources. As we all know, me being all three: small, Black and a woman-owned business presents many disparities and unequal support in capital, resources and business opportunities. NKVSKIN is truly grateful and humbled for these resources that have been a tremendous help to my business.

What’s your biggest challenge right now and how are you working through that?

My biggest challenge right now is scaling my business. As a solo entrepreneur with a growing audience and now an Executive Director of a community non-profit, I am struggling with accepting I have to scale and bring on employees. Learning to navigate knowing that it is essential to have the ability to grow without hindering my business. It’s like birthing a child: building a business and then having others who have the same integrity and love for something you have built and entrusting them to maintain its same standards.

How do you deal with fear and self-doubt as an entrepreneur? 

I deal with fear and self-doubt by talking with other small business owners, in and out of my industry. This is why it is important to have a village. I recently attended a midweek beauty meet-up and the topic was “Imposter Syndrome.” Being able to understand that I was not alone in my walk helped and helps me to understand that being a small business owner/entrepreneur is no easy feat. But giving up is never an option and the rewards are always greater than any fear and self-doubts that I may have. Having a support system is not only critical, but key to keeping afloat.

Who do you look up to for help/mentorship and how did you find them? 

My business mentor and coach Takia Ross, owner of Accessmatized Make-Up Artistry, who is a Baltimore native. Takia pours so much life not only into me but my business. The ultimate pitcher, Takia will take your brand and elevate it to the potential you would have never thought. Giving me deadlines, having me write down goals and establishing deadlines to hold myself accountable. She is a gem and I am blessed to have her in my corner.

If you could only give one piece of advice to your fellow entrepreneurs, what would it be?

If I could give one piece of advice to my fellow entrepreneurs it would most certainly be “BEND DON’T BREAK!” It’s gonna be tough, but as my grandmother has always said to me in one of my favorite poems, “When things go wrong as they sometimes will, when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill, when the funds are low and the debts are high, and you want to smile, but you have to sigh, when care is pressing you down a bit, rest if you must, but don’t you quit.”

What is your favorite part of being an entrepreneur, and how have you grown personally since becoming one? 

My favorite part of being an entrepreneur is providing the service that I give to my clients. Studies show that when you look and feel better about yourself, you are deemed to be happier and more successful. I once had a client who went through a series treatment with me. They were consistent in appointments and NKVSKIN product use. My client had a job interview and attributed her skin to getting the job. I looked at her and said, “No my dear, you got the job, your skin was just the representative.” And from that day on I knew what my purpose was and continues to be to always make others feel and be confident in whatever they are facing. Which helps me to grow daily as an entrepreneur in this short time that I am here. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would like to say thank you to Hello Alice for such an incredible opportunity and to everyone who supports me even when the times are tough including my family and friends, specifically my husband and my grandmother. To Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, and the city I love so much: Baltimore City! We are so much more than the wire! Thank you for voting NKVSKIN Best Black Skincare in Baltimore City 2013!

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