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Interviewed: The mind behind luxury beauty brand, French Lemon!

Let’s face it, it’s been a crazy couple of months into 2020. We’d recap, but we all know you know just what the world is facing right now. In this unprecedented time, we’re still focused on bringing you news on South Africa’s most innovative. And that’s why we’re here today! The world of beauty and luxury can seem all too far away from us in this time, but, Kara from French Lemon has made waves with her range of vegan and eco-friendly beauty products. Keep reading to get the scoop on French Lemon!

GoTrend: Hi Kara! Thanks for joining us on GoTrendSA today! Can you tell us a little bit more about French Lemon SA?

French Lemon: The French Lemon is owned and run by a mother and daughter team that creates handmade luxury beauty products which are affordable, good quality, vegan and eco friendly. All our products are hand-crafted in controlled small batches using premium luxury soap, essential oils and butters. Our range includes craft soaps, liquid hand wash, hand lotion, body lotion, bath bombs, shower bombs, sugar scrubs, salt scrubs and more. Recently we added an antibacterial range which includes hand sanitiser, antibacterial soap Bars, Lotion and liquid castile soap.

GoTrend: How did the name French Lemon come about?

French Lemon: It all started with a retrenchment and a new challenge of what do I do next. I was getting married in a few months and had to start earning money quickly. While brainstorming and chatting to my mom, my mom mentioned that she wanted to make her Moroccan Chicken for dinner but didn’t have and couldn’t find any preserved lemons that is required to make the dish. Finding a gap in the market, my mom and I decided to start making preserved lemons to distribute to restaurants and shops. It soon became other products such as Creamy Lemony Fudge, Lemon Cordial, Lemon Salt. We associated lemon with clean, hygienic and fresh.

While researching products, I discovered homemade beauty products, the idea of going back to basics really appealed to me. In many products there was an ingredient, SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate), it creates lather but also can cause eczema and other skin abnormalities. All of a sudden, it hit me – we needed to make SLS-free products.

We made a decision not to use any ingredients that were made with palm oil or that were tested on animals. We are strongly against both. We also wanted to make products that are safe for sensitive skins and for babies to use.

During this time, we fostered a semi-paralysed French bulldog named Ian. Needless to say, he stole our hearts and we adopted him. Through therapy and lots of TLC, we got him walking again and today he is fine!

We were debating what to call our company and thought of calling it something with the words lemon in (as lemons are fresh), we looked at Ian (our beautiful boy) and the decision was made. We would call it the French Lemon. He would be the face of our company.

Our first market was at a French Bulldog Show Day. It was a huge success and we knew we were on the right track. Our products are made with love and laughter as we have so much fun creating and making them.

GoTrend: During this extremely unprecedented time, French Lemon has innovated some of their own sanitisation products, can you give us a little more info on the range?

French Lemon: Researching and studying the benefits and nature of essential oils for sometime, now was a better time than ever to launch our Anti-Bacterial Range. Our Range consists of lotions, soaps, gels and hand santizers. The following essential oils & their benefits used in our antibacterial Range: –Tea Tree Oil: Antibacterial, antiviral and anti fungal properties. –Lemon essential Oil: Disinfectant, Antiseptic properties. Uplifting & Refreshing properties. –Peppermint essential oil: contains Anti microbial properties. –Bergamot essential oil: Stress reliever, helps prevent infection with antibiotic properties. All these essential oils have strong Anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Our santising gel consists of alcohol, aloe vera and essential oils and our sanitising spray consists of sodium hydroxide which is an effective sanitiser. With soap being the most effective, we have our Shea-butter Based soap which is also moisturising on the hands and liquid castile which contains olive oil, great for sensitive skin. Lastly we have our anti-bacterial lotion which consists of hemp, shea butter, Wheat germ and coconut oil, restoring moisture back into dry hands after sanitising.

GoTrend: From creating gorgeous and fun products to focusing on the importance of sanitisation, Has it been a strange shift within your industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

French Lemon: Not really, I can say production hasn’t been as creative but being in the hygiene sector during this time, it is important that we provide an essential, cost effective, easy to use, fast product suitable for all skin types to use. Being considered an Essential Service during Lockdown means that we have a responsibility to ensure our consumer is using a product that is safe and does the job, especially those with hypoallergenic skin and need something a little bit more specialised.

GoTrend: We’re OBSESSED with your Instagram Lives where you teach followers how to make products at home, when do you usually do them and can we get a scoop on what you’ll make next?

French Lemon: Thank you, We aim for once a week, and do it before the end of the week (Wednesday/Thursday) so people have enough time to plan and go to the shops when getting their essentials. We also want to highlight how important it is to try these at your own risk, we do not claim to cure any diseases or viruses. We are simply creating a positive, basic and easy space to keep busy during lockdown, These are DIY’s we enjoy using responsibly on our skin.  Our next DIY consists of putting moisture back into your hands-especially after all the sanitising- drying out your hands. This is important as dry hand expose you more to bacteria. So See you on Thursday at 12!

GoTrend: You have a wide range of fantastic products on your site available for purchase, and all of them are vegan and cruelty free, what is the importance of ensuring all your products are created with this in mind?

French Lemon: As Ian (our rescued frenchie) is the face of our brand, it is extremely imPawtant That he leaves his legacy behind for all his fellow animals and ensuring they not being harmed due to humans therefore It was important for us to Create a Vegan Friendly & Cruelty Free brand as there aren’t many out there. Prior to our business starting we have only ever used cruelty free brands and shudder to think of using anything else. From a creative point of view, even though these products did the job, it was always the same old brown square or rectangle soap. Once we started researching how to make these products we became more aware on the animal cruelty out there, another ingredient we don’t use is SLS & Palm oil, SLS is Sodium Lauryl Sulphate which is an unnatural foaming agent found in shampoo’s, soap and pretty much anything that foams. SLS is harmful to the skin and can cause many skin problems. We use a natural foaming agent made from coconuts, providing moisturisation and foamyness. The other ingredient we refuse to use is unsustainable Palm oil. We do not support the deforestation as well as the inhumane way of evicting living organisms such as Orangutan’s from their homes. Palm Oil is a cheap ingredient added to many Beauty and food products, its even found in SLS. We much prefer to be sustainable and use other moisturising ingredients such as shea-butter & Cocoa butter.

GoTrend: With such a wide range of products like candles to the deviously delicious “Do not eat” range, what are your favourite products to create and where do you draw your inspiration from when creating these?

French Lemon: Which is my favourite to make-and then to use? Haha we always think to ourselves- Wouldn’t it be awesome to wash with a donut or a waffle etc… Why does soap have to come in a rectangle, like who made up that rule? Being an important habit of everyday life, no one really stops to think what they are using and why, so we thought Washing should be a trusted, relaxing and enjoyable experience, you shouldn’t be putting harmful chemicals into your body nor should you ignore the importance of hygiene, especially in this pandemic we are living in. My favourite product to make Well I have to say making waffle and donut soaps have to be the most fun, wether its sprinkling hundreds and thousands over the donuts or the soap syrup over the waffles, it feel like I have created the only ‘good for you’ donuts and waffles in the world. When it comes to using a product, it will have to be my moms ‘Secret Recipe’ Body Scrubs, OMG it is the best, she wont even share her Secret recipe with me! Maybe it’s because I buy in bulk hahaha, she has definitely perfect it.

GoTrend: What types of products would like to experiment with next and why?

French Lemon: Definitely SLS Free Bubble Bath- meaning people like me with super sensitive skin can enjoy a relaxing bubble bath without a reaction. We have been playing around for years to try and perfect bubble bath in different shapes and forms (yes shapes & Forms) – here’s a little secret we will share with you – “Aloe Vera Bubble Bath”.

GoTrend: What are the next steps for French Lemon, will we be seeing more coming from the brand soon?

French Lemon: You’ll definitely be seeing more of us and from us J We in the process of a children’s range – We recently adopted a new frenchie puppy called Madison who, (keeping to the French Bulldog Logo) will be the face of our children’s range. Parents can expect soothing Magnesium flake baths, Teddy Bear shaped unfragranced, palm oil free, natural, SLS free, hypoallergenic soaps, bath Bombs, liquid castile soap and much more. We want to make bath time fun whilst providing beneficial properties.

GoTrend: Where can we keep up with you and French Lemon SA on Socials?

French Lemon: You can follow us on Instagram; @thefenchlemonsa and Like our Facebook Page; The French Lemon.