Veteran Feature: Lola Lowe from NYA Skin care
By Aly Kuiken
Hundreds of divisions and job categories comprise the U.S. Armed Forces. In addition to the combat, tactical and logistics units most people associate with the military, the individuals that supply food, resources, and family support are just as imperative to the success of our nation’s military. As we recognize and celebrate veterans this month, we’re excited to introduce the November 2018 featured Veteran of the Month, Lola Lowe.
Lola Lowe is an Air Force veteran with experience providing for the on-base needs of Air Force service members and their families. As a former Services Journeyman with a background in the culinary arts, she was taught the skills of resourceful cooking and fully understanding the utility of natural ingredients.
“I remember my teacher making us eat and smell every herb in the classroom,” remarked Lola. “We had to know it by taste, color, and smell because we needed to know what we were putting in everyone’s food. That really stuck with me.”
This skill proved useful when Lola’s daughter was diagnosed with eczema at a young age. After purchasing countless over-the-counter and prescription lotions, Lola realized her daughter’s eczema wasn’t improving.
“The impact of eczema on someone’s self-confidence is really underplayed,” she explained. “Feeling the need to hide and cover up yourself can really take a toll on a person’s self-esteem, and I was noticing that with my daughter.”
Lola decided to use her culinary background to create her own plant-based formula. This lotion consisted of natural moisturizers like coconut oil and insect-repelling lemongrass, and it began clearing up her daughter’s skin.
“I was so excited,” said Lola. “Her skin was improving, and so was her confidence—she’s a really fiery girl and I finally started to see that side of her again.”
Eczema runs in Lola’s family, and once family members and friends noticed her daughter’s skin they began asking for her secret. Suddenly, Lola found herself making jars of the lotion for friends and family, who kept coming back for more.
“It was starting to get a little expensive,” she said. “I realized that this product was solving a problem that others weren’t, and that there was a real potential for a business here.”
Following her time in the military, Lola had worked in network marketing and been paired with a mentor at the University of Pennsylvania, who suggested she apply for the GPVN Veteran Shark Tank competition in 2017.
“I filled out the application and honestly didn’t expect to be accepted,” commented Lola. “I had just began to solidify my business idea less than a month prior.”
Lola was selected as one of 6 competitors in the 2017 competition, which involved developing a business plan and pitching in front of a large crowd."
“I had shared my idea in front of ten, maybe twenty people at the most, but upwards of 300 people would be listening to my pitch at Shark Tank. At first I was really nervous, but I reminded myself that it was about more than just me. I want my kids to exude confidence, and if I wanted to teach them that I would have to model it first. I had to set the example.”
After the competition, Lola was connected with Bunker Labs Philadelphia and invited to apply for the 2018 Launch Lab X Cohort.
“It was another opportunity to keep growing this business I was working on. Bunker was so welcoming to me during the program. I was pregnant and I wasn’t sure if I could commit to the cohort at first, but their belief in me and willingness to help allowed me to stick with it.”
Lola joined 13 other entrepreneurs in developing their business in a 16-week curriculum-based program earlier this year. She was also featured by Comcast LIFT Labs for Startup Grind’s Female Leaders Month in May.
“I really did evolve during the process. There were people in the group who had more experience than me in military and in business, but I saw that as an opportunity. The Air Force really taught me to surround myself with people like that who can give quality feedback and to let that be a motivator. The military has a great way of making sure that you can take constructive criticism and feedback, and that’s so important for an entrepreneur.”
Currently, Lola is in negotiations with a bulk manufacturer for the Fairytale Moments Lotion and her newest product, an soap developed to treat Eczema. Both products are planned to launch on a larger scale in 2019.
To read more about Lola’s journey with the Fairytale Moments story, click here.