Janae of Ku’Panda Beauty was one of the 2021 recipients of the IdeaFunding Adelante Arizona Prize. The Adelante prize supports diverse founders, such as women-owned and BIPOC-owned companies, here in Southern Arizona. Ku'Panda sells carefully crafted skin care products inspired by the Sonoran Desert.
Q: Describe your company. What’s your product and what problem are you solving for your customers?
A: Ku’Panda creates handcrafted herbal tea infused skincare that primarily focuses on hydrating and brightening the skin with active ingredients and botanicals. The biggest issue that I’m solving is providing affordable products by a small business with corporate-like quality. Ku’Panda is Swahili for “to plant.”
Q: Congratulations on winning the IdeaFunding Adelante Award! What are your next steps? How will this money help you achieve your goals?
A: First and foremost, I cannot say how grateful I am to the donors, judges, Startup Tucson and UofA for doing this! I literally cried. Once I receive the funds I’ll be using a portion of the funding to establish and set up our Kombucha manufacturing as the Kombucha will be infused in our skincare products for our second collection release. I’ll also be purchasing equipment to further improve the content creation process. And some things I cannot share at the moment. I’m excited because the funds will definitely be giving a lot of things to celebrate at KP!
Q: What inspired you to start Ku’Panda beauty?
A: I was made for this. I remember the first time I formulated. I was incredibly nervous but I also felt that I innately was doing what I was always meant to do. I have never felt more at home than I do when new herbs arrive and I’m able to witness the herbs and other raw ingredients transform into a product that rejuvenates skin. I was made for this. Built for it by God, so I have to make this happen. There’s simply no other choice for me.
Q: Do you have any tips, skincare or otherwise, for anyone wanting to start a cosmetics business?
Stop asking friends and family for help. Find people that are smarter than you who are talking about it. Do the research on your own. Google it.
Do the work. There is LITERALLY nothing to talk about if the work hasn’t been done.
The extension of your imagination is the limit. Keep yourself in a flow of ideas by unwinding, enjoying life and experiences to readily access your creativity. I get the best ideas for products when hiking and taking herbal baths.
Use your 9 - 5 to learn more about how to run, establish and scale a business. The fundamentals of how your workplace runs the business can help you to understand what your business needs internally to be successful. Learn these business fundamentals any way you can.
Read 90 Days to CEO by Rochelle Graham, Traffic, Profit and Sales by Lamar Terry and the e-Myth by Michael Gerber to help you transition your mindset for business and not an employee.
Most people major in minor things, don’t be one of them. If it’s not that serious, don't treat it as such. MOVE ON.
Q: How can we keep up with what Ku’Panda has going on?
A: If you visit our website, www.kupandaskin.com, you can subscribe to our newsletter and be in the know, plus grab 15% off coupon code. Also, please follow us on IG @kupandaskin.