Nydia Norville was living and working in New York City as a model, when she began to encounter skin problems. The pollution, the stress of city life, it all began to manifest on her skin. She started experimenting with her own skincare solutions and came up with Choiselle, an artisanal all natural skincare line that is inspired by the botanicals of St. Lucia and the Caribbean. Norville wanted to create products that would eliminate the need for harmful chemicals and synthetic fragrances. Today, Norville, who since starting Choiselle has relocated to St. Lucia, is focused on increasing cash flow while maintaining the quality of every product her company makes.
Norvilles’ story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
What was your reason for starting your business?
As a young model in New York City, I quickly discovered the toll that urban living can take on our skin – and spirit. Seeking a solutions to chronically dry and troubled skin, brought on by the frantic pace of city dwelling, I found that the remedies recommended to me featured lengthy lists of synthetic ingredients and chemicals not found in nature and only seemed to exacerbate my concerns. At the other end of the spectrum, the more natural ‘back to the earth’ alternatives left much to be desired, aesthetically speaking, and didn’t appeal to my modern sensibilities and appreciation for understated elegance. Thus began my journey of discovery into the potent powers of natural botanicals and a passion for formulating nature based skincare solutions that are at once, effective, aesthetically pleasing and elegantly packaged.
How do you define success?
My definition of success includes running a successful business that provides timeless, quality products that are made with intention every step of the way. Coconut wax is used because it is created with the cold press extraction of coconut oil from the coconut meat. The oil then goes through a hydrogenation process resulting in a sustainable, cleaner, longer burning wax than soy with a burn time of 40 hours for our 8 oz candles. We forgo the industry standard of using synthetic fragrance oil and opted to use all-natural, plant-based essential oils of lavender, lemongrass or ylang ylang to infuse with our wax. Lavender is great to help ease tension and to promote restful sleep. Lemongrass has an uplifting effect on mind helping to clear negative thoughts and enhance concentration. Ylang Ylang is an exquisite floral scent with subtle notes of black pepper, ginger, lavender and lemongrass that will add an exotic, tropical fragrance to any room and helps reduce depression and alleviate anxiety. We went a step further to enhance your experience by adding a wooden wick that has an enticing yet soothing, soft crackling sound while burning. The combination of natural ingredients, aroma and soothing crackling sounds produces a healthier candle that creates an ambience that fosters warm, love, tranquility and restoration in one’s home during the pandemic.
Tell us about your biggest success to date
I took a leap of faith and moved my business from the NYC tri-state area to St. Lucia in July 2019. A year later, I am settled on the island where I have acquired a studio space on the island where I manufacture my products that I export to the US and other Caribbean islands.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Cash flow. I’ve done different strategies to addressed this. I’ve taken low interest, small loans to keep us afloat as we wait for payments from our customers or to purchase supplies etc. I’ve learn to generate sales outside the normal avenues like our website but instead partnered up with local stores and boutiques and I’ve been doing pop-ups.
Who is your most important role model?
My grandmother! My early childhood spent with her on the island is what inspired this brand. She exemplifies tenacity, warmth, love and strength.