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Kahina at Follain

Kahina at Follain

We are so thrilled to announce that Kahina has landed at Follain! Follain is the discerning green beauty destination in Boston and we couldn’t be happier to have a home there.

You can find select Kahina products at the following Follain Boston locations:
Boston – South End: 53 Dartmouth St
Boston – Beacon Hill: 65 Charles Street

And – bonus – while they’re just carrying our Eye Serum at the moment, we also have a home at Follain’s Washington DC outpost: 1309 5th Street NE

GIVING BACK: High Atlas Foundation Spring Project

High Atlas Foundation Team to Make A Difference

I was contacted by the High Atlas Foundation in Morocco one month ago with an urgent plea for help. A one-room school outside of Marrakesh for boys and girls in Grades 3 – 6 was noticing a sharp dropoff in attendance by the girls. Without a bathroom for the children, there was no privacy or sanitation, an unacceptable situation for the parents of the girls, not to mention humiliating for the girls themselves. Kahina was able to provide the money for building and plumbing supplies, and the fathers of the children went right to work.

I met Abderrahim, the program director of the High Atlas Foundation and went with him to view the project on my trip to Morocco in April. I was amazed to see what the men had accomplished in just one month. A square structure built of cement blocks stood next to the school, complete with septic system and plumbed for four toilets, showers, and faucets. On my arrival at the school, I was welcomed by the school principal, teacher and the men of the village, as well as 50 boys and girls waving and calling out “Bonjour”. The children lined up and each one politely shook my hand, and, with huge smiles, repeated “Bonjour”. It is a tragic circumstance that so many lively, eager children should be deprived of a future over something we so easily take for granted, clean running water. I am grateful to all of our Kahina customers for participating in our efforts to make a difference in the lives of these children.

Children outside schoolhouse

Interior of schoolhouse

Katharine L'Heureux with children in High Atlas region

Eco Diva Beauty Interview

I had the pleasure of meeting Katharine L’Heureux, founder of Kahina Giving Beauty, at the Elements Showcasein January. With her came a spirit of humility, gratitude, and an overall passion for life. She is the perfect example of sometime who is creating the change that they wants to see in the world, and that’s why this luxury organic skincare brand is going to be around for a long time.

Tell us about yourself and Kahina Giving Beauty.

I’m the founder of Kahina Giving Beauty, a simple and effective skincare line based on highest quality and ethically sourced ingredients from around the world.  With organic and fair trade argan oil at its core, Kahina Giving Beauty provides real skincare solutions that advance people and the planet.  A percentage of profits from the sale of all Kahina products goes to the indigenous Berber women of Morocco who extract the oil at the heart of our line.

“I am certainly ecologically minded and don’t believe I need to sacrifice my personal style to do so.”

Kahina Press

 Name one of Kahina’s recent successes, and tell us about your next big goal!

My latest business success was to be able to provide 100 sheep for the Berber women who source the argan oil at the heart of Kahina.  My next goal is to provide them with clean, solar-powered cooking stoves so they don’t have to cut down argan trees for cooking.

Take us behind your brand, what does a day in your life look like?

Since I just returned from visiting my argan suppliers in Morocco, I’ll tell you what my day in the village of Tazghelilt looked like.   After waking up to the sounds of donkeys braying and roosters crowing, I eat a breakfast of crepes and eggs in the home of my supplier. Then I’m off to see the sheep I donated living in the homes of the Berber women.  I’m happy to discover that the sheep have grown big and fat.  A quick visit to the center for weaving in the village, where I purchase some hand-loomed rugs from the women.  After that I do an inspection of the facility where argan oil is cold-pressed by machine and have a meeting with my supplier before driving down the mountain toward Agadir, where I eat fresh fish at the port!

What part of your job do you love most?

My favorite part of my job is working with the Berber women and being able to help them materially.  I also love developing fabulous new products for our line using argan oil and other amazing all natural ingredients.

Do you think it’s important to love what you do, or make good money?

I hope that if you do what you love, the money will follow.

Is owning your own business as glamorous as it sounds?

Owning a small start-up means I have to be ready to do most all jobs from doing interviews to packing up boxes for shipping and to sourcing the argan oil.  Some of it feels very glamorous, but the majority of my time is spent doing pretty unglamorous work.

Would you consider yourself an Eco Diva?

I am certainly ecologically minded and don’t believe I need to sacrifice my personal style to do so.  To the contrary, I believe that being conscientious is the most on-trend way to live – and hopefully will be for a long time to come.

Tilda Swinton at the Veni 001

What celebrity do you look at for style inspiration and why?

I love Tilda Swinton for her beautiful minimalist style – and that she doesn’t follow trends, but has identified her own individual style and adheres to it.

Where are Kahina products made? And how did you choose your supplier?

I import the argan oil from Morocco and manufacture products in the US.  In selecting my argan oil supplier and my manufacturer, it is important to me that they share my vision of providing the highest quality products based on ethically sourced natural and organic ingredients.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

French fries and red wine

Favorite way to unwind?

French fries and red wine 🙂

Fes Morocco

What is your favorite travel hot spot?

I prefer to avoid hot spots, but my all time favorite destination is Fes, Morocco.

Thank you Katharine! To buy all Kahina‘s ethically sourced and sustainably made products, head over to Eco Diva.

luxury organic skincare

My personal faves are the Serum and Cleanser and Brightening Serum.

See the original post on Eco Diva Beauty.

Eighth and Wild on Toners & Kahina Toning Mist

Eighth and Wild

PSA: for those of us subjected to dry heating in these coming months, please make sure to use a hydrating mist as part of your skincare. Topical water + humectant sodium hyaluronate = great way to combat dry, flaky skin and get those oils/balms/moisturizers to absorb even better.

Green beauty blogger Eighth and Wild recently reminded you “Don’t Skip the Toner” and wrote about the benefits of toners and how to use them. (Cheat sheet: pH balance, exfoliation, and absorption/moisture) Check out her post here.

What she has to say about Kahina Toning Mist:
“It has a nice soothing scent, you can feel it on your skin after using it… The Toning Mist leaves my skin the most moisturized out of all of them, so for those who have drier skin, this might be what you’ve been looking for.”

Kahina pledges assistance for those impacted by Moroccan flash flooding

Photo by gulf-times.com

Photo by Huffington Post

Severe flash floods in Morocco’s south over the weekend have left at least 40 dead and many more missing, according to reports from the Moroccan Red Crescent. The argan region near Agadir and the Anti-Atlas Mountains was heavily impacted. The torrential rains also destroyed hundreds of mud homes and damaged the countries’ infrastructure, closing one hundred roads, including six national highways. Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones and are otherwise affected by the devastation.

In the coming months, Kahina’s donations will be directed towards relief for our friends in the Anti-Atlas village of ait Goh, which was heavily impacted by the storm.

You can read more and provide additional support by visiting the website of the Moroccan Red Crescent which has responded to the emergency with more than 600 volunteers for the distribution of relief items such as blankets, mattresses, water purification and hygiene kits for 1,100 families.

Fresh Faced Interview

Katharine L'Heureux of Kahina Giving Beauty Interview by Fresh Faced

A lifetime believer in the potential of beauty rituals to delight and empower, Kahina Giving Beauty founder Katharine L’Heureux discovered argan oil on the first of many journeys to Morocco. Recognizing a need in the marketplace for beautifully packaged, effective organic skin care that nourishes skin and spirit, Katharine conceived of a niche beauty brand that would give back. To realize her vision to connect women across the world through beauty, Katharine developed and produced the Kahina product line and brand, infusing it with her minimalist esthetic and philanthropic spirit (the company donates 25 percent of its profits to the indigenous Berber women who extract the oil at the heart of the line). She personally sources the argan that goes into Kahina products to ensure the highest quality oil and fair compensation for the women who extract it.

I had a chance to ask Katharine about her inspirations, how she balances business with personal life, and her own beauty philosophy. (And I’m super excited to share the new products she’s working on!)

FF: What inspired you to start Kahina Giving Beauty?
KLH: I had been searching for a natural skincare line that was truly effective. In 2007 the choices were limited.When I discovered argan oil on vacation in Morocco that year, I realized I had finally found the skincare ingredient I had been searching for. When I learned more about the women who work to extract the oil and about the argan forest, I realized I could create a company that could have a positive impact both socially and environmentally, while providing high-performance, results-driven skincare.

FF: What does a typical day look like for you?
KLH: My day starts at 6:45 when I wake up to get my kids breakfast and off to school. Luckily, my youngest goes to school close to our apartment in Manhattan so we can take it a little easy until 8:30I usually get some emails done over morning coffee. When I’m not travelling, I’m at my office, which happens to be my dining room table. We’re a small company, just myself and one employee, so we both have to wear many hats.I spend most of my time managing the sales team, developing new products, working with Moroccan suppliers, and overseeing production, but I can also be found packing boxes for shipping or affixing tags to our limited edition gift sets. The good thing about working from home is that I can be there when my kids return from school. In between the travel, the work, and the kids, I try to fit in some sort of exercise routine, whether it’s a yoga class, some time spent on the treadmill, or a walk along the Hudson River. I’m at home for family dinner and helping my kids with their homework most nights.

FF: Where do you draw inspiration?
KLH: My father for his sense of humour in the face of life’s challenges and his integrity. The Berber women for their strength, their spirit, and their ability to create beauty from the simplest of materials. Morocco inspires me for the complete sensory experience it providesvivid colours, exotic smells, and the beautiful sounds of music and the daily call to prayer. Finally, Donna Karan for her minimalist but accessible aesthetic and for creating Urban Zen, a company and foundation based on the principle of helping others.

FF: Can you tell me a little bit about your ingredients and how you select them?
KLH: First and foremost, our ingredients need to be effective, whether they’re the actives that contribute to skin health or the preservatives that support shelf-life and stability. Our products are certified by Ecocert, so the ingredients and their processing methods must pass Ecocert’s rigid standards for environmental protection and consumer safety. Finally, we source ingredients ethically, from small family farms and certified fair trade whenever possible.

FF: What sets Kahina apart from other brands?
KLH: Kahina was one of the first brands to bring argan oil to the U.S. In 2007, there were a handful of brands using it in their formulations, but we were the first to create a complete natural and organic skincare line based on its amazing properties. We use very high concentrations of the best, selectively-sourced argan oil, something that can’t be said for most brands piggy-backing on the argan oil trend. Kahina is also one of the pioneers of the “luxury organic” category, bringing luxury packaging and efficacy to the natural market. But what really makes us stand out, I think, is our dedication to sustainability from the ground up, beginning with our sourcing the best organic ingredients, to our recycled and recyclable packaging, and finally to our support of the women who extract the oil at the heart of our line.

FF: Can you share your personal beauty philosophy?
KLH: I hate to sound cliché, but beauty really does come from feeling good about yourself. When a woman is confident and happy, she is beautiful. As for my own routine, I keep it simple. I believe in eating well, getting plenty of sleep, staying hydrated, using natural products on my skin, and trying to minimize stress. If I lapse in any of these areas it tends to show up on my skin. I am very no-frills about hair and makeup, so having a good skin and hair maintenance program is important.  

FF: How do you balance running a business with family and other priorities?
KLH: It’s a bit of a juggling act.But the advantage of running my own company is that I can be somewhat in control of my time. My family always comes first, but they know that I am running a business and respect my need to work most evenings and on weekends. I’ve learned not to stress about the things that aren’t that important at home and at workif it means we’re eating scrambled eggs for dinner, or the beds don’t get made sometimes, so be it. Exercise at least four times a week helps me stay sane and I try to get at least eight to nine hours of sleep every night. I also couldn’t do it without an amazing support systemmy husband and my incredible, but small, team. 

FF: Your argan oil has become a bit of a cult favourite among Fresh Faced customers. Can you tell me what new products you’re working on?
KLH: We are very careful about adding new products to our line as we intentionally want to keep the line tight and simple.  After two years in development and testing, we are excited to be launching two new products this fall and wintera wonderfully restorative night cream and a beautifully scented body oil. That’s all I can give away now!

See the original post on Fresh Faced.

Gratitude Speaks Interview

Gratitude Speaks Interview with Katharine L'Heureux

Thanks for the interview! Gratitude is so important to the work we do at Kahina!

“Through Gratitude Speaks, I get to interview people whose work and presence I admire; who embody that divine spark of aliveness that draws you in; whose love has touched souls and saved lives, and this planet is kinder for it; people who are bright, spirited, and rooted in joy,” Miriam Ava, author of Gratitude Speaks.

Who: Katharine L’Heureux, founder of Kahina Giving Beauty

Katharine L'Heureux with her children

It’s a pleasure to feature Katharine L’Heureux, the founder of Kahina Giving Beauty, on Gratitude Speaks. When I met Katharine for the first time in person at this year’s ANFGB, I was drawn in by her radiance. Yes, her skin is beautifully radiant but she’s also got a good aura that adds to the light. We had a sweet chat and I got to say hi to her lovely daughter, Grace. Being a green beauty enthusiast, I’ve used Katharine’s creations for quite some time. The Antioxidant Mask and the 100% Organic Argan Oil are staples in my routine; the Facial Cleanser doubles as a nice enzyme mask. Oh, and the new Fez Hand & Body Balm is divine. The beauty of Kahina reaches beyond skincare, though. Katharine works with the Berber women of Morocco who extract the organic argan oil using techniques passed down through generations. By the sharing of traditions, a bridge between Northern Africa and New York has come to life that honors the craft of the Berber women, improves their lives, and offers pure beauty to women around the world. Named after a Berber queen and prophetess, Kahina reminds us that beauty is power and power is beauty. I’m excited to share Katharine’s life experience and wisdom with you. Hope you enjoy.

1) How do you define gratitude, and what are you grateful for?

Gratitude is being thankful, and I have so much to be thankful for: my health and the health of my family, the love of family and friends, the privilege of living in the society I do, the opportunity to create and operate a successful business

2) What is art to you?

Art lies in the intention of the creator. The best art connects one to something larger, such as a shared human experience.

3) When did you experience significant personal growth, and how did it impact your perspective on life?

When I was starting Kahina, which was a time of great excitement as well as tremendous anxiety, my then teenage daughter became critically ill. Over the next two years she was hospitalized and underwent numerous surgeries that severely impacted her quality of life during her high school years. It was during that time that I learned to pray. To me, this meant focusing on what was good in my life, even if only feeling love and support from those around me, and giving thanks for those things. This kept the negative thoughts at bay and helped me stay afloat and moving forward through a very difficult time. I learned to practice gratitude during that time.

4) What other gems of joy & wisdom would you like to share with us?

Put out positive energy and you will attract positive energy

Create beautiful things that you can be proud of

Avoid waste in anything, ie. time, words, materials

Live simply and appreciate the moment

Be satisfied with what you have

Always consider those less fortunate

Know you can achieve great things

Indulge often”

See the original post on Gratitude Speaks.

Katharine Speaks with Claudia Chan for ClaudiaChan.com

katharine-head-shot-white-shirt-tif-copy-small4

Claudia Chan, media entrepreneur and lifestyle expert best known as the Founder of Shecky’s, has just launched an exciting new venture, ClaudiaChan.com.  I was thrilled to be invited to be among the 100 women she chose to interview for her website aiming to connect and inspire women.  I am incredibly honored to be in the company of such amazing women as Zainab Salbi of Women For Women International, Summer Rayne Oakes of Source4Style, Hayley Kana and Katia Beauchamp of Birchbox, and many more.  I plan to reach each and every interview.  You can read mine below.

Though she never thought she would end up where she did, Katharine sees now that everything she had done was for a greater purpose, which they call Maktoub in Morocco. After representing natural and healthy product-based companies like Odwalla Fresh Juice and Bare Escentuals, Katharine created Kahina Giving Beauty, a skincare line based on the power of argan oil. Katharine combines philanthropy with beauty by donating a portion of profits from her company to organizations working in girls’ education and alternative income projects for women in the Moroccan communities that produce her skincare’s argan oil.

Please share with us the story of how your professional journey began and has brought you to where you are today.

I really never set out to create a line of organic skin care, but now I see that everything I had done before was leading up to this in some way. In Morocco, this is called Maktoub, or Destiny.I now see the development of Kahina Giving Beauty as the culmination of many experiences, professional and personal, I’ve had in my life.

I grew up in San Francisco and on my family’s sustainable vineyard outside Yountville, California, in the Napa Valley.The emphasis there has always been on the quality of the grapes and on sustaining the land and the community.Later in life, I founded my own marketing and public relations firm representing several natural and organic brands, including Bare Escentuals, one of the first natural cosmetics companies, and Odwalla Fresh Juice, whose tag line was “no mumbo jumbo”. My firm also represented The French Laundry when Thomas Keller first opened it in Yountville.Again, he was so focused on offering the best possible product based on the best sustainable ingredients.These companies are firmly committed to the communities they serve as well. That philosophy of sustainability, simplicity, quality and authenticity has really inspired my vision for Kahina Giving Beauty.

I discovered argan oil by chance on a trip to Morocco in 2007.I was looking for organic skincare that worked at the time.Creating the Kahina line allowed me to realize my own desire for a simple and effective organic skincare line, while helping women in need.

What’s your best advice for an entrepreneur in an early/bootstrapping phase?

I would advise entrepreneurs just starting out to make sure your vision and values are well-defined, and to know your audience.Your vision and values can serve as a roadmap to help guide you during the many challenges and decisions you will inevitably face.If you have a clear vision and know your audience, your instincts will guide you and your message will be clearly articulated.Also, network.You never know whether the next person you meet might become an amazing resource.

I love the quote “the bigger the vision, the smaller the first step”. Right now, what is the big vision you have for your career?

Based on the response to Kahina Giving Beauty’s philosophy and products, I feel very positive about the future of the company.I plan to continue to release high quality products based on argan oil under the Kahina label and look forward to extending the concept to product lines and extensions based on material sourced from other countries as well, always giving back to women in need from the countries where these ingredients are sourced.

Can you share a story of how networking led to a great success?

Kahina Giving Beauty crosses so many worlds, from the world of design, to helping women, and organic beauty.All of these communities are incredibly supportive of each other and I have made invaluable contacts and friends through my networking in each.An example of one great connection established through networking originated at an event at ABC Home for New York Women Entrepreneurs.Rebecca Kousky, CEO and Founder of Nest, was speaking.Nest provides artisans with interest-free loans, education and market access to create sustainable and successful businesses.We now are collaborating on our Kahina GiftBags.Nest’s handblocked cotton cases made by formerly trafficked women in India house our artisinal argan soap and argan oil.It’s a great example of how two different worlds can come together, enhance each other, and potentially make change in the world.

What do you feel separates your brand from your competitors?

Of course, the skincare market is very competitive, but many of the traditional skincare companies use harmful ingredients in their products.At Kahina, we use only the highest quality natural and organic ingredients.We are certified by Ecocert, ensuring the greatest respect for our consumers and the environment.

More and more companies are doing some form of giving back.Our brand is unique in that our mission is fully integrated with our product, connecting the consumer on an emotional level to our cause – and to our brand.Starting with giving back 25% of profits to the women who extract the oil at the heart of our line, incorporating their signatures into our package design, and naming the product line after a Berber queen, we continue to try to build a bridge between women here and the Berber women of Morocco.This has worked well to build loyalty for our brand.

What or who in your life gives you the strength to persevere?

I would have to say my daughter.Now 17 years old, she has suffered through some serious medical problems in the past two years which has caused her to miss a great deal of high school through several surgeries and resulting complications.I think of all she missed, but she never complained.Her strength and fortitude during that time continue to inspire me.

What simple things in life today bring you joy?

I love to travel, but I would rather be home with my family than anywhere else.Easy dinners outside with them in the country are my favorite time together.I also enjoy gardening in my home in Upstate New York and taking long walks, especially in New York.I am continually energized and visually inspired by living in New York City.

What do you do to unwind or disconnect?

Yoga, gardening enjoying a glass of wine with my husband.

How do you overcome feelings of insecurity, fear or discomfort when deciding to take a risk?

I have always been quite insecure when meeting new people, but have never had a problem taking large risks, such as starting a business.My position now requires lots of meeting people all over the world and speaking.I have gotten much better at it now, but before I go into an important meeting or give a speech, I always give myself a little pep talk and remind myself of my accomplishments and my mission to help women in order to conjure up my reserves of strength.

Can you share with us an experience of giving that was extremely rewarding or transformational?

One year ago, I first visited a cooperative near Agadir of 46 women who had no work, unable to sell their oil because they couldn’t complete their organic certification due to bureaucratic and financial constraints.They had done all the work to set up their cooperative, including raising the money to build a structure where they could work, but their vision came to a halt when their certification didn’t come through.When I first saw them, they were sitting idle with no nuts to crack.I paid for their certification and assisted with the legal documentation.When I returned last month, the women were busy at work with large piles of nuts to crack for an upcoming order.They insisted I join them in singing and dancing in the traditional Berber fashion to show me their appreciation.

Oprah has that great section in her magazine “What I know for sure”. What do you know for sure?

That I don’t know anything for sure.

What are the top 3 things that you do to stay healthy?

I have always exercised, tried to eat right, and get plenty of sleep, but I have to admit that its getting harder to adhere to a healthy regimen with the amount of travel I need to do these days.Now, the top thing I do to stay healthy is to try to keep my stress levels down.When I can’t get to a yoga class, I do some sun salutes first thing in the morning at home.

How do you balance career and motherhood?

I have three kids, aged 7, 15 and 17.Each of them requires my attention and focus in different ways.My office is currently the dining room table in my Manhattan loft.This way, I am usually home when they need me and I can pick up my youngest from school most days.The biggest challenge is when I travel and am gone for weeks at a time.My husband has learned to take care of everything without me now so things are running pretty smoothly.

Who are your favorite designers?

I like clothes that are easy to wear, but with interesting lines.Bibbhu Mohapatra is one of my favorites, and not just because he is a great friend.He manages to create an edgy, progressive look with classic and beautifully cut pieces.For everyday, I love Donna Karan.She understands the way I want to feel comfortable but still look good.Other designers that I adore are Maria Conejo and Ohne Titel.Both of these produce beautiful clothes pairing architectural details with soft draping and meticulous attention to detail.

If you love to cook, can you share a favorite recipe(s)?

I always bring home lots of Moroccan spices when I travel there.I like to cook very simply and rarely use measurements.Cumin, tumeric and coriander make everything taste exotic and delicious.Here’s a recipe that works for any fish and chicken:

Marinade:

Olive oil

Lemon juice

Coriander

garlic

Combine together and marinate the chicken pieces or fish.Combine tomatoes, oilive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and spices (tumeric, coriander, cumin, saffron) in a sauté pan and heat until soft.Add a drop of water. When it steams, add the fish or chicken to the sauce.Cover and cook until cooked through (5 – 10 minutes for fish/15 – 20 minutes for chicken).

What are the beauty items you could not live without?

Argan Oil, Argan Oil, Argan Oil

I also love the organic and Fair for Life shea butter leave-in conditioner from Beautiful Curls.

I wear very little makeup, but when I want a little more finish, I use the RMS Living Luminizer.

Return from Morocco

blue-star-in-courtyard-small

I just returned from Morocco.  The purpose of my trip was to visit the cooperatives and to learn as much as possible about issues surrounding sustainability in the region.  My visit took me from Casablanca to Marrakech, Agadir and Taroudant in the south with stops in remote villages in the Mid- and Anti-Atlas mountains. I saw numerous examples of successful efforts to aid the people of the country being undertaken by foreigners as well as locals, including a boarding house for teenage girls that provides safe housing in order that they may continue their education after the age of ten, associations committed to the development of the argan industry as a means of progress for women, individuals working toward environmental sustainability in the region, and strong Berber women working to help themselves in the cooperatives.  I was pleased to see the women of the Cooperative Tilila busy cracking nuts for my next order who one year ago had no work because they couldn’t get their organic certification.  As usual, wherever I went I was met with the Moroccans’ extreme hospitality.  I return laden with gifts and with warm memories of my time there.  I hope to shed light on some of the issues I have learned facing the women and the argan industry in general in Morocco in upcoming posts.

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