10 Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2021 Jul21712 Most Innovative Hair Care Entrepreneur (Mid Atlantic USA): Christine Martey-Ochola Reshaping the haircare industry with naturally derived ingredients is the innovative NUELE Hair – a must for women everywhere who desire clean, chemical-free products. We find out more about the pioneering women behind the brand as we speak to Co-Founder, Dr Christine Martey-Ochola, about her passion for the industry and her dedication to empowering the next generation of female leaders. UELE is a conscious clean beauty company that is setting the standard for clean hair care by innovating in the safe and healthy hair product category. Created by Christine Martey-Ochola and co-founder Anne Cheatham, the pair wanted to create a company that would help people have healthy, glowing, well-nourished and manageable hair without using chemical relaxers, keratin treatments, or ingredients that compromise on short and long-term health. “Basically, we wanted to shift from complaining about the products on the market (which have a plethora of ingredients that were known toxicants), to being a solution provider and creating a clean beauty company in the hair sector which has been one of the most difficult sectors to clean in the beauty industry,” Christine explains. “Glad to say, we continue to make inroads and succeed in this niche market!” As women of color, and especially from the viewpoint of being parents, the business partners felt very strongly that leaving a legacy of entrepreneurship and business establishment for their children and grandchildren was essential. Anne has worked in research, served as a missionary and now is a successful Nurse Anaesthetist. Having been Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer at the firm for the last five years, Christine is a PhD pharmaceutical and biochemist, and with a background in toxicology, cancer research, product development and formulation in both the beauty and food industry. These roles have certainly played a huge part in the style of formulation that NUELE now uses, as well as the ease of entering the clean beauty market. Strategic planning and engaging in an international chamber of commerce also provided a wealth of knowledge and experience which Christine has been able to benefit from at NUELE. “Although all these roles have brought us great satisfaction and personal growth, they pale in comparison to working with our respective families to build an organisation that establishes a sense of ownership for our combined families,” she says. “Our hope is that N more people of all backgrounds, will seize the opportunity to create industries that provide products and services that positively benefit our society, and that through this process their next generation will be stimulated to build on the foundation that has been laid out.” Since starting the firm it has grown significantly, having become a global company with distribution across more states in the US, UK and Australia. The industry has also shifted more into the ‘clean and conscious’ bracket. Christine believes that the largest drivers for change have been consumer awareness on toxic ingredients found in beauty products, and their demand for clean products. Other key drivers have been the need to look at diversity, equity, and inclusion from the lens of diverse beauty product suppliers in big box stores. The 15% pledge that some larger retailers put in place has enabled smaller clean beauty brands to be in close vicinity to consumers who shop at larger stores. The European market has been at the forefront in the clean beauty world, and the shrinking global divide now enables smaller indie brands. “The philosophy around not only functional but clean, non-toxic, and safe beauty products have been a key driver for our company,” she says. “It has been wonderful seeing consumers become more conscious and intentional about the products that they are using, as well as beauty product manufacturers who are now more sensitive to consumer needs in the clean beauty industry. In a nutshell, we have more engagement in the “clean beauty playground”.” Christine continues to tell us that one of the biggest thrills comes from designing a product that totally addresses a core customer need without compromising on all aspects of conscious and clean NUELE is a conscious clean beauty company that is setting the standard for clean hair care by innovating in the safe and healthy hair product category.