This Mother-Daughter Team Behind ‘Free-From’ Beauty Company, Nala Care, Promote a Cleaner Lifestyle
From startups to restaurants to high-tech corporations, women are taking the business world by storm and leaving their mark. Bay Street Bull talks to female business leaders about their life, passions and how they became girl bosses in their respective fields. Co-creators of Nala Care, Mila and Ada, talk about growing their business organically, reducing the stigma around natural skincare products, and working with family.
In 2013, Mila Juristovski Bosnic and Ada Juristovski lost Alan—Mila’s husband and Ada’s father—to cancer. As a biotech engineer, Mila had spent most of her career developing drugs, but when her husband was diagnosed with lung cancer, she felt helpless. They tried every possible treatment to fight Alan’s cancer, both mainstream and alternative, but nothing really worked. The experience opened Mila and Ada’s eyes to the importance of taking care of our bodies and the harmful substances we are exposed to everyday. When Alan passed away, the they decided to channel their pain and grief into something positive and create something that would help other people avoid this pain. “It’s either going to kill you or you can do something with it,” Mila said.
Mila and Ada launched Nala, Alan’s name backwards, in 2017. It’s a clean, free-from beauty line that currently sells three natural deodorants with three different strengths and scents. Their goal was to make products that serve a purpose and were free of harmful chemicals, like carcinogens, aluminium, parabens, and other usual offenders in the cosmetic industry. The mother-daughter team wanted their products to be safe, reliable, and efficacious. In a world where it seems like everything gives you cancer, Ada says Nala is one thing people can rely on. With Ada’s marketing and tech background and Mila’s chemical engineering experience and MBA, the two have successfully built a brand that encourages everyone to care about themselves and their loved ones, starting with their skin.
Here, we talk to Ada and Mila about potential consumer fears about going natural, and what it’s like working with family.
On growing Nala organically
Ada: It’s an industry that neither of us are familiar with. Mila’s in biotech and I’m in tech. Neither of us are in this beauty or retail space. Starting in Vancouver, we wanted to have a strong local base here and we reached out to a couple local stores. We were lucky to get some good free press from Jillian Harris. We heard she was coming, we heard she was looking for natural deodorant, so we quickly packed a little box of deodorants and gave them to her. Nine months later she shot us a DM on Instagram telling us she’s tried over 20 natural deodorants and ours was by far her favourite. She said she was going to blog about it, so get ready. Needless to say, when she posted about us, our website literally crashed because we had so many orders coming in. It’s been a mix of people coming to us and us seeking out retailers that match our values. For us, it’s been about growing at a pace we can keep up with an enjoy.
Mila: We’ve been growing organically, we haven’t really invested in marketing at all. We just attended the L.A Indie Beauty Expo in January and we were so happy to find out we were named consumer favourite. Things like that really help us grow.
On ending the stigma associated with natural products
Ada: Stigma number one: it’s not going to work, which goes hand in hand with stigma two: I’m going to stink. A lot of what we do is focus on education. Anti-perspirant literally means anti-perspire; don’t sweat; clog your pores. We teach that your body is made to sweat. You will sweat but you won’t stink because your body is learning to self-regulate. There is a detox period, on average four weeks, where you do sweat more and stink more but that’s just the toxins leaving your body and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Natural deodorant can still be effective and we still have high-quality ingredients that are deodorizing and moisture absorbing and we use high-quality, gentle essential oils. But we’re also very big on not doing any fear-mongering, guilting or shaming, because the fear of body odour is a real one and we don’t want to diminish that. It’s about balancing that with education and expectations.
On working with family
Ada: We actually get along very well and work well, but I think we both had our hesitations about it. For me, it’s been really special because I get to see my mom in a different role. She’s not just mom or caretaker, even though I’m almost 30-years-old now. I get to see her as this visionary and leader who has amazing ideas and a wealth of knowledge. It’s been really cool to learn from her in a new context. I think we can still get into the family stuff but for the most part it’s been quite rewarding.
Mila: Oh, absolutely. For me, it’s a blessing. I love spending time with Ada, I really adore her. When I’m working with her I just keep saying, “Oh, she’s so good, she’s so talented,” so I really enjoy it. It’s been great quality time with my daughter.