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Meet the women

 

RECOGNIZING THE ARTISAN HEROINES BEHIND THE BRAND

For centuries, the hard work of extracting oil from the nut of the argan tree has been performed by Berber women, the indigenous people of North Africa, many of whom live in Morocco’s argan region. The work is extremely labor intensive. It can take one woman up to eight hours to crack the nuts for one liter of oil. This labor provides the women with an opportunity for social and economic freedom that they would not otherwise have.

Most of these women cannot read nor write, so they use illustrative symbols to mark their identity. One such example is the five-pointed star—a key element in Arabic design that is drawn on the top of each Giving Beauty package. Encircled, this star is the emblem of the Moroccan flag.

In 2008, on one of her many visits to the cooperatives, Katharine collected the marks and signatures of several of the women who extract the argan oil for her products. As they wrote their names—some for the first time—they told Katharine stories through the aid of a Berber translator.

As a testament to their inner and outer beauty, their stories and signatures are shared here.