The Heroine Project © 2019 

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Gugu Nkabinde: The brand builder

Updated: May 13, 2019



Gugu Nkabinde @gugu_n is a freelance brand strategist and the founder of Gugu Intimates @guguintimates, a premium, skin-coloured underwear brand for brown-skinned girls. Gugu spent the first part of her career working on the brand strategies of many household names before venturing off on her own as an entrepreneur. It all really started with the “white shirt problem” many women face - and specifically what is the most appropriate underwear to wear when the standard nude underwear offered by mainstream clothing stores does not quite match the flesh-toned colour of your skin. This set Gugu off on a mission to find the perfect bra and when she could not find a reasonably priced offering, she realised there was a massive gap in the market and Gugu Intimates was born. Gugu Intimates reverse engineers skin tone colours from make-up tones and is offered in a range of flesh-toned colours making it easier for women to find an appropriate match. Launching a new business of course does not come without hiccups and the need for perseverance, Gugu had an 8 month wait between when she was ready to launch production and when she was able to secure an investor. Gugu tells us that the journey to establishing and launching her underwear brand is one filled with a rollercoaster of highs and lows and incredible personal growth, although she does believe that unbeknown to her, life was serendipitously preparing her for this path all along the way, with her being exposed from a young age to a mom who was an entrepreneur, having worked on brands in the manufacturing space, and acquiring the necessary skills and insight to launch a new and compelling brand.

We are inspired by Gugu’s courage and commitment in building a resonant and powerful brand that meets a huge market need. Meditation and running keep Gugu grounded and focussed so she can weather the stress of being both a freelance brand strategist and entrepreneur.

Featured artist: Julie Pernet @julie.pernet

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