Forbes Africa

Forbes Africa

Source: Forbes Africa

Brand Voice by French Lemon

An involuntary retrenchment and impending nuptials in 2017 for Kara-Leigh Baker, were the catalysts that propelled dynamic mother and daughter duo, Vanessa Ralston and Kara-Leigh to pursue their passion for natural and organic products. It was fuelled by the adoption of their beloved Russian-born bulldog Ian, who has not only become the inspiration behind the brand, but is also the face on their packaging.

Coming from the corporate world of construction, what started out as a pursuit to become purveyors of preserved lemons, soon evolved into the passionate production of 100% natural, vegan and animal-friendly bath and body products. Three years later, Vanessa and Kara-Leigh have built their fledgling business into a profitable venture that has created employment and skills development for their team of ten, as well as established a respected and reputable, proudly South African cruelty-free brand, named French Lemon.

With an indomitable spirit and entrepreneurial outlook, this mother and daughter team is a powerful force to be reckoned with. Combining their skill sets, Vanessa and Kara-Leigh, together with their team, continually propel their business forward, developing, trying and testing the products that cleanse, nourish, moisturise and soothe skin from head to toe; and that they know their clientele would love to see and buy.

Handmade with love, their scrubs, steamers, lotions, bath bombs and signature scents are made to order, and their bestseller for men and women is their pumice bar. With a children’s range in the pipeline, parents can anticipate olive oil based liquid castile lotion, as well as magnesium flakes to help their little ones sleep. Their inspiration is drawn from vigorous research, and exploring essential oils and the various responses that they trigger. Vanessa has developed a series of secret recipes, and having already created a snout cream for Ian and his furry friends, there are plans to introduce an animal range in the near future.

Going back to basics, and birthed out of personal skin sensitivity, French Lemon embodies an ethos of kindness and compassion. Fanatical about what is found inside their products, their entire collection is SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate) free. a surfactant found in bath and body products; and not only bad for your body, but for the environment and animals too. French Lemon uses coconut as a natural alternative foaming agent; and their products contain kaolin clay, coconut oil and shea butter. Their collection is also palm oil free, and they do not support deforestation and the animals that are affected. Committed to the cause, their packaging is also bio-degradable, and they are always on the lookout for sustainable environmentally-friendly options that support local suppliers.

From their very first market at a French Bulldog Show Day in March 2017, French Lemon has spread their wings into Mauritius, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and while still operating a boutique production line from home, the 2020 plans include growing into a bigger space to accommodate their vision.

Organic and pure, French Lemon has found its creative calling, and the Collections, which are reimagined and reinvented every year, are suitable for women, men and children who are conscious about cruelty-free products and who also want to prevent absorbing toxins through their skin, bath and body routines. The edible range of products look good enough to eat, and the Valentine’s Day 2020 collection comprises of strawberry soap jam, complete with a spoon, as well as a selection of chocolate-dipped strawberries, which come with a “do not eat” disclaimer.

The secret of success in business is creativity, and Vanessa and Kara-Leigh’s creativity is contagious.

French Lemon has branched out into DIY scrub and lotion stations for events and parties; where the handmade process is shared with guests, who can build their own bath bombs and create signature soaps and scrubs.

The ultimate gifting solution, and a decidedly different take on soaps, scrubs, salts and scents, there is something for everyone at French Lemon.

The Collection is available exclusively online at