I think that all things local should be promoted, so I hunt down credible sources for raw materials and finished products and bring them to you….don’t say I don’t do anything for you folks :). Disclaimer: I wasn’t paid in any way (cash or kind) to promote this.
Any Nigerian knows (yes, I am emphasizing) that Nigerian Northeners do NOT kid around with their skin care and fashion.
I recently met Maryam BT, a fulani lady, who just launched a line of skin care products called Nature Zone. Nature Zone is a fusion of different African skin care regimens with particular emphasis on the local traditions and practices of the northern region of Nigeria. Using local materials (potatoes, rice, coffee e.t.c), she has created scrubs and soaps that will stand up to any that you buy in the shops.
What I love about her line is the fact that she has kept it simple. No fancy fragrances or harmful chemicals- her body scrub smells authentic and as such can be used by even those with sensitive skin. Even her packaging is locally sourced, keeping the price of her products low.
Enough talking on my part, here’s a short interview with her.
P.S: She was a vendor at our November Meet-Up and will most likely be part of future ones. Please post any questions you have below so that she can answer them for our benefit.
Let’s begin with an introduction of what the business is called and how long you have been doing it commercially?
Nature Zone is a line organic skincare products. The ingredients of our products are 100% natural. Our motto is “…beautifully natural and naturally beautiful…” Although I have been making some of my own skin care products for years, I began producing them commercially in March. My friend, Hafsat Inuwa came on board a few months later.
How did you get started on this journey of making your own products?
Making my own skincare products started out of necessity, really. Skin allergy is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. Following my doctor’s advice, I began to keep journals-a food log and a skincare log-when I was nine years old. I became very conscious of what I ate and the ingredients of the products I used. As I got older, I realized how limited I was when it came to skin care products. I then began to experiment with organic skin care regimens till I found what worked for me. I decided to start packaging my products when I realized that there were so many people out there facing the same challenges I have faced in the past and still face today.
Are all your products handmade?
For now, all our products are handmade.
Your choice of ingredients are interesting. Let’s start with Potatoes. How does this benefit skin? And Goat Milk?
I became introduced to the healing properties of goat milk after a food allergy reaction that left my face burnt, discolored and full of rashes. I was amazed by how quickly I recovered. The molecular structure of goat milk enables it to be easily absorbed by the skin- more so than cow milk. Goat milk also contains proteins, minerals, vitamins and naturally occurring alpha hydroxy which plays an active role in skin exfoliation.
Because of its rich mineral content, Kanuri and Shuwa Arab women have been using potatoes to make their body scrubs for years. Potatoes contain vitamin C and B, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc which are good for the maintaining the smooth texture of the skin.
What sort of testimonials have you gotten from people that use your products?
The responses we’ve received have exceeded our expectations by far. Because people are becoming more aware of the adverse effects of harsh chemicals on the skin, they want to use products that are safe and natural and that is exactly what Nature Zone stands for.
What would you say the challenges are in manufacturing?
Manufacturing handmade organic products is no easy feat. Sourcing the raw materials is one of our major challenges. Another bottle-neck we face is keeping our prices affordable without compromising the integrity of the products.
Would you say that your products are affordable?
“Affordable” is a very relative term and it depends on one’s income. I would say Nature Zone products are reasonably priced in the sense that we are committed to“stretching”the naira and giving our costumers optimum value for their money. Our products retail between N1500 to N3500.
Any tips regarding how to use things we find in our kitchen to cure skin maladies?
There are so many skin care remedies one can whip up in the kitchen; my personal favorite- Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. Tomatoes are full of vitamin C and they protect the skin from the sun. They help soothe bumps and rashes and brighten the skin; try substituting tomatoes for your toners and you will be amazed at the results you will get.
Do you plan on expanding your product line in the near future?
Yes, we have so many plans for the future, but we are still relatively new and would like to take our time and do it right.
How may prospective buyers contact you?
I bought and used Naturezone scrubs and mentioned them in this post. I also now use NatureZone Goat Milk soap and I have to say that I love it too! Not drying in anyway which is always an issue with me – particularly with the harmattan season.