After an 8hr bus ride from Casablanca to Agadir and another 2hr car drive, I arrived at Arazane. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot of Latifa’s house, I could hear the women singing a welcoming song in their Berber language. It brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart.
Every year the coop makes some progress. Latifa, the coop Director, informed me the coop has joined a union of cooperatives in the Taroudant area (this will allow it to pool some resources, to share best practices, and to have a stronger market presence); has been certified NormaCert which guarantees the Argan oil origin and quality; successfully underwent an inspection by the Moroccan Department of Health; and it will be showcased in a fair in Germany representing Moroccan products. These are all great news but have expenses attached.
On the other hand, new challenges always arise. I also learned the women had not been working for some time because the coop had run out of Argan nuts and it could not afford to buy any more. Therefore, this year KENZA International Beauty donated the coop a lump sum to buy about 3,000 lb. of Argan nuts and to cover other expenses. This aid helps the coop provide jobs for the women so that they can be more productive and financially independent.
My assistant and I spent the day with the women to learn more about their work and responsibilities at the cooperative. Here are two videos that we hope you will enjoy and see how the Argan oil process is not as easy as it seems. We value the hard work of all the women working in cooperatives in Morocco producing many products that we all love.
We are grateful for your continuous support, for being loyal to our brand: KENZA“be generously beautiful”™ and for allowing us to spread more LOVE-BEAUTY-GENEROSITY
Share this post with your friends, family, and peers. Help us grow!
While for most people the beginning of a new year is the time for new self-improvement resolutions, I usually do not have much time to think about it. This time, instead, I started the year with a nasty case of the flu. I was very sick for ten days, physically exhausted, and unable to do any work. For once, I had time to reflect and I realized I need a better balance between managing my business, taking care of my family and myself, and volunteering. And delegate more : Whole Foods can be a great personal chef!
During the last six months of 2014, I over- worked and, essentially, tried to do more than I could handle. So, this year, I made a resolution to take more time off, to get back into martial arts training with a MMA fighter at InnerGfitness (for therapy and stress management), to not answer work emails or calls at night or Sundays, and to try to keep my personal and professional lives separate.
Since the inception of KENZA International Beauty almost two and half years ago, I have been constantly solving problems, coming up with creative ideas, and juggling the multiple hats that all small business owners wear to run a successful business. However, two events particularly energized me in 2014.
The first one was the article published in July by The Guardian Newspaper.
This put KENZA International Beauty on the map as a global provider of the best, socially responsible, pure, and organic Moroccan Oils. This helped us expand our market (retail & wholesale) to the UK, Kenya, the UAE, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, Sweden, Dominican Republic, and even in Morocco. I will always be grateful to Nina Roberts for finding me and sharing my story to the world.
We do not have a big marketing budget to promote our business. Instead, we rely on “organic” marketing: being featured on TV news programs, magazines, and celebrities’ beauty blogs, and by the word of mouth of our many beautiful friends (e.g. customers). We prefer to spend funds on developing new and superior products, and on improving women lives.
The second one was the Chase Mission Main Street Grant competition I entered in October. A $150,000 grant would have taken my social enterprise business to the next level right away. It would have helped us create more products, upgrade our brand and website, and provide more financial support to women in Morocco and the USA. Unfortunately, the national competition was fierce and we did not receive one of the twenty grants. I was sad for a couple of days, but then I thought about all the wonderful and beautiful friends who voted for us and cheered us all the way, and I felt so much better because I know with your support I am sure we will find another way to fulfill our social mission. Thank you again!
Looking ahead to 2015, I know it will be another successful year for KENZA International Beauty and a more balanced one for me!
Stay tuned as we will soon announce the introduction of a new beauty treasure from Morocco, a redesigned package, new giveaways, and other exciting projects. Sign up at http://kenza-international-beauty.com