Interview with Nicky Gaylor from Sylk

Running the family business she took over from her parents in 2007, ex marketing exec and mother Nicky Gaylor is used to juggling the day to day issues surrounding managing a business. She runs Sylk UK, one of the UK’s favourite natural lubricant brands, supplying both the NHS, health professionals and pharmacies up and down the country.  

Nicky, from Kingston, Surrey, is passionate about promoting positive messages and empowerment with regards to women’s health, which has led her and her vaginal lubricant brand Sylk, to constantly strive to meet its core value as a champion of womens health.

Sylk UK was founded by Nicky’s parents back in the 1990s following time spent living and working in New Zealand where they discovered this amazing plant based product. Her parents started the business, but Nicky and her siblings decided to take the business to the next level after their retirement. The rest is history.

How did it feel, moving away from your successful career as a marketing executive to run the family business?

I was delighted to join Sylk. It came not long after my daughter was born, so working on the family business helped to give me a great work-life balance after spending 12 years in busy London advertising agencies. Plus my office is walking distance from my home, so no lengthy commute.

Tell us why your work is so important to you – I think work gives me a sense of purpose and fulfilment. I also enjoy having a life that is outside of my family, particularly as the kids are getting older and need me less in many ways.

Who has inspired you in the way that you work and run your business? 

That would probably be my mum and dad. Both have incredibly strong work ethics but also are great fun and family comes first. That is pretty much how I try to live my life too.

How do you manage to juggle running a successful brand with family life? 

It is hard balancing business and family when you’re a small team. There always seems to be lots of balls to juggle and the buck rests with you. I think you have to be really organised, both at work, and in particular, on the home front. My main piece of advice would be not to allow yourself to worry about everything being perfect!  

What’s been your proudest business moment so far? 

Ah, that’s an easy one – securing our product being listed in Boots. We’re SO excited about this. It means Sylk UK will be in their stores across the UK this spring, so keep an eye out of us on their shelves in the future.

As a businesswoman, what would be your  three biggest pieces of advice?

  1. Treat everyone as you would want to be treated – as a small business you need people on side as you tend to get better deals and hear about things before others by forging good relationships.
  2. Prioritise – What are the three key things you have to do today? The rest can wait. This keeps me focussed when my email box is over-flowing and phone is ringing lots.
  3. Try not to take work home – I find it easier to do my work at work rather than trying to fit it around the kids, even if that means they have to do more days in after school club. 

As a business owner whose product is all about empowering women, how does this influence how you run your own team?

We champion flexible working, so being able to work around school pick up times and spending quality time with the kids really helps. Seeing the way our product can transform a woman’s life is a huge reward and really makes it all worthwhile.

When you’re passionate about what you do, it doesn’t feel like hard work. I think the key to loving running your own business is to find something you’re passionate about, and the rest will follow.

Sylk is available on prescription, over the counter at all chemists, and online, where you can also apply for a free sample. It will also be available in larger Boots stores by Spring 2019.