Skin Life

“Shower me with lemon, ginger, mint and lavender – all at once! For I’m at home in my skin”

Let’s be honest, beauty and the promise of it sells - from the promise of fewer wrinkles, more hair volume. Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop reports in her memoir Business as unusual, that the only thing shampoo will ever really do for you is wash your hair. We don’t have to get into the argument of whether or not anti-wrinkle creams, work or whether you can make stretch-marks disappear. I also am not going to pretend like everything that comes naturally smells great or is good for you. What I do know however, is that when you wash your hair or cleanse your face or body with products made from tea-tree or Lavender or sea-weed or coconut or mango or peach or any combination of these, this can be termed blissful. For that reason, I indulge in good quality moisturisers, bath salts, facial washes and treatments. I confess though, that I’m in love with my tea-tree shampoo... ahhhh.

EVIA Woman talks to Precious Jason, creator of new luxury skin care brand Etie’no, about her love for life, her grandmother and also how Etie’no fits into your life and your wallet.

EW: From the story of Etie’no (www.etieno.com) it’s clear that apart from the obvious nostalgia of growing up in the tropics, you’ve been most influenced by love. How does that translate into the way that your products are made?

Every product is carefully thought through before creation   - from the ingredients to the packaging. I get my inspiration from people I meet. I love it when people can ask for products they imagine in their heads and I am able to create a recipe to meet their needs. Our unscented bar with Mango butter and Sweet Almond oil was a request by a friend for her new baby and I wanted something so luxurious and mild with no scent whatsoever. After a few tries I got the formula right and I am so proud of it.

Every product is created by hand using the finest natural ingredients I can find. I am always on the lookout for exotic oils and herbs and I am currently playing with Argan oil which is a Moroccan treat for hair and skin.

EW: Apart from what you share on the Etie’no website, can you tell us more about growing up in Nigeria?

I am one of two kids and I was born here in the UK. I was 3 when we moved back to Nigeria and I spent my formative years with my maternal grandmother. It was a culture shock but I adapted easily and it didn’t take long for me to settle in. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother (now late) and learnt so much about life, nature and the value of giving back to others. The lessons learnt from her ignited a passion for Etie’no.  My earliest memory was watching her collect herbs from the garden to make salves and unguents for the village.

EW: Are your products made with any specific skin or hair type and/ or any condition in mind?

We are a global company and we make products for every skin type. As an African woman, I make a few extras for African skin and hair. We use olive oil and coconut oil in all our handmade soaps. Both are fantastic cleansers and moisturisers. We also use nutrient oils too for different conditions. Our Shampoo bar for instance contains antibacterial Neem oil, conditioning hemp oil, rosemary oil to stimulate hair growth tea tree oil to fight dandruff and lemon oil to cleanse and stimulate your senses.

EW: Can you elaborate on Etie’no’s commitment to ethical business and you’re support for communities?

One of the main reasons for setting up was to benefit less privileged communities. We are currently working with a charity that supports Rwandan widows and orphans and are thrilled to be sponsoring four children in Primary school. We are also looking at assisting women with micro businesses and training. Rwanda is our pilot country at present and we hope to roll this scheme in other countries very soon. We prefer to deal with carefully selected women’s cooperatives as we believe in empowering women so that they can have dignity in labour.

We believe that we can change lives by what we do, with fantastic products at competitive prices. We source our ingredients very carefully. A lot of research and ethical consideration is given to each product. We pay premium prices for our Palm oil for instance because we use a sustainably sourced variety –

To be honest, we would rather make a little less money whilst doing the right thing.

EW: You are growing Etie’no online at the moment, but in what countries and what stores can we expect to have the products stocked?

We are working round the clock to get it in as many countries as possible. In line with our future projections, we are hoping to be in Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa in the next 6 months. I am extremely thankful for the excellent feedback from people who have bought our products and given them as gifts. We are working on getting a physical presence in EU Countries by the end of next year also. In the meantime we can be found on our website www.etieno.com and on Amazon at www.amazon.co.uk  and on Ethical superstore at www.marketplace.ethicalsuperstore.com .

EW: Is the business model for Etie'no inspired by other beauty or social enterprises?

I admire companies such as Lush and The Body Shop and I like the fact that they take a stand for issues that are not given much consideration by mainstream media. I am happy to set the pace for the company and encourage our customers to participate in decision making concerning issues that need to be tackled. I love reading emails from customers and I sincerely hope that we can make a difference to as many lives as possible.

EW: Etie’no is operating in the beauty industry in which beauty is interpreted in so many ways; tell us what beauty means to you?

Beauty is an inside thing. We radiate beauty when we are confident on the inside. It has nothing to do with how much money you have. A beautiful person is warm, kind and giving. I always say to people an Etie’no product will make you feel beautiful (they are all fabulous by the way) on the inside as well as on the outside.