Being Content Interviews Katharine L'Heureux
KAHINA INTERVIEW As we celebrate the launch of Kahina Giving Beauty in-store and online this week, we caught up with the inspiring founder, Katharine L’Heureux, to find out more about this #mindfulbeauty brand – as kind to skin as it is the environment. What inspired you to create Kahina Giving Beauty? I had been searching for effective organic skincare at the time when I traveled to Morocco in 2007. It was on that trip that I discovered Argan Oil and realized I had found the single ingredient I had been searching for – sustainable, multi-purpose and effective. After sharing the oil with friends I discovered that I wasn’t the only one searching for simple organic skincare that works. I made frequent trips to Morocco to source the highest quality Argan Oil and developed a deep appreciation for Morocco, particularly the Berber women who do the hardwork of extracting the Argan Oil. It was then I decided to create the Kahina line of ethically sourced skincare that honors and gives back to these women. We love a company that gives back. How does shopping the Kahina collection benefit the world outside the direct benefit for the company? The philosophy behind Kahina Giving Beauty is to create a sustainable skincare line that respects the environment and provides real benefits to the women who do the hard work of extracting the Argan Oil which is at the heart of the line. To that end, we use organic ingredients whenever possible, recycled or recyclable packaging and, most importantly, work only with co-ops in Morocco who pay a fair wage to the women. In addition, we donate to programs that support the Berber women and their families. I’m always looking for ways to give back and provide the Berber women with opportunity. As a small company, sometimes we need to be creative! For the women who inhabit the Argan forest in the Southwest of Morocco, the hard work of extracting Argan Oil offers them their only means of financial and social independence. Here are a few ways we have helped them in – and outside of the workplace:
- Funding the organic certification of a women’s cooperative to allow them to more successfully participate in the international Argan trade. The previously unprofitable cooperative now provides steady wages for its 46 members.
- Donations to Education for All in Morocco (EFA), an organization that provides free boarding for girls so that they can continue their education beyond primary school. Currently, most girls end school after third grade because their parents are not comfortable sending them away to the cities where the centralized upper level schools are located. EFA provides room and board as well as extra-curricular educational programs for these girls.
- The purchase of sheep for the women of the Idzouane Mountains in southern Morocco. With the purchase of a sheep for each woman in a village there, these women now can provide milk for their children and have a supply of wool for weaving rugs, now sold on the Kahina website, to further their economic independence.
- Donations to the High Atlas Foundation to support their one billion tree campaign. To date, Kahina has raised money to plant, irrigate and transport 250 trees to support rural villages through community run nurseries in the Southwest of Morocco.
- Donations to the High Atlas Foundation to deliver clean drinking water to a girls’ school in the High Atlas Mountains.