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Meet The Maker: Daughter of The Soil

  • 6 min read
Daughter of the Soil is a pioneering British, African-heritage beauty brand driven by the benefits of nature. Founded by Maria Kiire-Magembe and Hellen Lawuo-Meena, who have based their company on the principles of lavishing the body with natural goodness. They incorporate time-tested African botanical oils within each of their products to deeply nourish, moisturise and protect the skin. Daughter of the Soil are motivated by the simple yet powerful goals of celebration, women backing women and showcasing natural treasures from across Africa. The premium products ensure an uncompromising commitment to the goodness, quality and luxurious experience. We meet the ladies behind the brand to talk inspiration, the power of African botanicals, natural beauty and lots more! What inspired you to start Daughter of the Soil skincare? MARIA: The inspiration for creating Daughter of the Soil came from my great-grandmother Onyang, who believed in the benefits of nature. She believed that natural was best, a philosophy that we continue to incorporate within Daughter of the Soil. Despite being widowed at a very young age, Onyang was a focused, enterprising woman who created and sold shea-based products within her community for the treatment of dry skin conditions and beauty care. I love the fact that she used ingredients from her back garden and worked with the environment that she was in to make amazing skincare products. My dream is to continue her legacy of nurturing natural beauty and use our brand to showcase African botanical oils to the world so that they too can benefit from Africa’s treasures. This underpins what our formulations are all about: ‘hero-ing’ African botanical oils obtained from sustainable sources and chosen for their nutrient-rich properties. Onyang has inspired our unique ingredient blends. It was her gift of working with and nurturing nature that made her a daughter of the soil. banner_01Mar17_1 HELLEN: I've been involved with business from a young age in some shape, way or form. My family have always been entrepreneurial, and as a small child, I was encouraged to think about different solutions. I’ve known Maria for many years, and it was exciting to be part of a project where we could have complimentary skill-sets that would help us to bring the product to market. We’ve worked well together on many different things, including brand awareness, building our social strategy as well as more commercial aspects of the journey. I studied Economics, and that is my first love. I’ve always wanted to work within a development framework and so our brand purpose, ‘Connect the DOTS’ is something that I feel extremely excited and passionate about delivering. We are on a mission to make a real difference to the lives and future of marginalised women farmers across Africa, providing them with the knowledge, skills and tools as well as creating markets to sell their produce so that they can achieve a sustainable income. Agriculture is at the core of economic transformation in Africa, and as a key driver of growth, it offers the greatest potential for poverty and inequality reduction. What does the phrase ‘Daughter of the Soil’ mean to you? MARIA: The term “Son of the Soil” is more commonly used and is associated with one’s native soil or belonging to the soil of your forefathers. “Daughter of the Soil” is a phrase that my father often used to describe each of his four daughters when we were growing up, and it’s a phrase I am still fond of. Having lived in the Western world for the majority of my life, it reminds me of my Ugandan roots, a place where the landscape is green, and the soil is immensely fertile. My father explained that “the soil” is of significance to African people, because of the belief that land is a gift from God. The sacredness of the soil in Africa is further linked to the fact that our ancestors are buried in it. HELLEN: Daughter of the Soil recognises the goodness that originates from the soil. Our name is fitting for a brand that wholeheartedly embraces this principle. When one connects the dots, Daughter of the Soil completes a circle. It showcases some of Africa’s unique and treasured ingredients so that women can look supremely beautiful on the outside. It helps us to support the communities who give those treasures to us so that we can harness their power and beauty from the inside too, and give something back. Why is ‘natural beauty’ worth pursuing? MARIA: There are many benefits associated with using all natural skin care products, from improving the health of your skin to contributing to a safer environment. With high quality, effective natural or naturally-derived skin care alternatives available today, going fully natural was an easy decision for us to make when we were creating our products. All of our products are free from harsh and synthetic chemicals that typically cause skin irritation or have toxic effects when absorbed via the skin. Our commitment to using 100% natural and naturally-derived ingredients means we stay true to our natural beauty principles of delivering healthy, uncomplicated skincare. We avoid unnecessary filler ingredients that nullify or counteract the benefits that these miracle oils bring. banner_01Mar17_2 What makes Daughter of the Soil different from other natural skin care brands? HELLEN: In the UK premium space, very few skincare products distinctly showcase African heritage, and from that perspective alone, our range is unique. With changing demographics, social trends and receptiveness to exotic ingredients, there is a gap in the premium market that needs to be filled. We express our African-heritage in our choice of ingredients and celebration of African culture. MARIA: Although we blend our products in the UK, we source different botanical oils from across Africa and use them as the ‘hero’ ingredient in all of our products. Each oil contains a unique profile of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. This drives the functional benefits of our products, relieving dry skin conditions, supporting skin regeneration and naturally targeting loss of elasticity and signs of ageing. Our products are suitable for all skin types. Beauty oils have become popular over the last few decades in the West, but botanical oils have been used in Africa for centuries to nourish, moisturise and protect the skin. Deep affections and respect are felt for these treasured ingredients in the native communities where they originate from: from the tree to the fruit to the oils. The uses are virtually endless, and there are beautiful stories of culture and rituals which we want to celebrate. Which products are your favourites and why? HELLEN: The ONYANG Collection Shea Body Butter in White Mulberry is my all-time favourite. It is incredibly rich and has a gorgeous silky texture that instantly melts into the skin. Powered by the rarer East African Nilotica Shea Butter variety, a miracle oil known for centuries for its unique moisturising properties. Nilotica Shea is even more luxurious in its texture and boasts a more impressive composition than regular shea butter. I also love our Marula oil products. Our Marula Face Oil in particular works as an excellent 100% natural makeup primer thanks to its quick absorption, smoothing effect, and matte finish! MARIA: It would have to be the Baobab & Rooibos Body Wash because it is so refreshing and uplifting! It cleanses and conditions my body at the same time. I love to follow with a light textured, silky smooth Baobab & Rooibos Body Lotion. Baobab oil has a proven ability to improve skin elasticity and encourage regeneration. Rooibos tea is a potent antioxidant, acting against free radicals as well as being rich in zinc which is essential for healthy skin metabolism. banner_01Mar17_3 Where do you source your botanical oils from? HELLEN: We source our botanicals oils from the following countries:
  • Shea Nilotica Butter: Uganda
  • Marula Seed Oil: South Africa
  • Moringa Seed Oil: Kenya
  • Baobab Seed Oil: Ghana
  • Frankincense and Myrrh: Somalia
Where would you like to see Daughter of the Soil in the next five years? HELLEN: A very successful global skincare business. Daughter of the Soil aims to nurture more than just skin and plans to support millions of marginalised women farmers in Africa through the ‘Connect the DOTS’ certified functional training programme. We hope to create a movement of ‘DOTS certified’ farmers across Africa, empowered through vocational training and access to tools. Daughter of the Soil is a luxurious and truly natural skincare range, delivering nutrient-rich botanicals of African heritage valued for their superior skin-nourishing properties, moisturising and protecting the skin.

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