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Arganat™ Harvest’s Nature brings you Authentic Traditional Beauty Secrets from Africa and Europe. Star ingredient ARGAN oil, the only vegetal oil to offer the dual action of slowing physiological aging of cells while promoting their restructuring regeneration, is the best anti-aging oil on the planet. High end clays are the other core ingredient of the brand combined with organic or wild essential oils and meticulously chosen medicinal plants and extra virgin oils.100% chemical free, not tested on animals, these products are manufactured in Canada since 2002 with respect for the planet and are all registered with Health Canada. For both women and men, great toothpastes, refreshing facial cleanser, amazing anti-wrinkles, delightful anti eye bag treatments, voluptuous bath lotions, sumptuous masks, a real power cream, all designed to nourish, tone, rejuvenate and sooth your skin for rapid and long lasting well-being. Arganat™’products have the power to shift cell energy. Arganat™ was created by Soad Benkirane, Ph.D.in plant physiology, biochemist and naturopath.
What inspired you to start your business?
When my relatives or me were facing some health issues, I would always try to find a solution, a natural one. As biochemist, naturopath and my life mission being to share my knowledge and help people feel better, I used to make traditional mixtures for their relief, learnt from my mother and my academic journey. All the products I created were to answer a real need. When I arrived in Montreal, it was so cold that my teeth became unbearably sensitive. So, I made the first version of the tooth paste. A friend of mine was really suffering from uncomfortable under eye bags and eye tension. That was the opportunity to create the Under-eye bag treatment. Dry and bleeding hands of my son: the Power cream. Fine neck wrinkles erased in 3 days: Fountain of youth serum. Rosacea and nervous redness on the face: Facial tonifying cleanser … While doing so, I had never actually thought about creating a skin care line. After one year helping people around, during the same week, 3 of my friends asked me why I would not create a safe and effective skin care line. I was not convinced. They insisted: ‘You can formulate products, you can write about them and educate people, and you have a passionate connection to nature!’ That is how I started in 2000 this huge adventure where I had so much to offer and even more to learn.
What were some roadblocks/issues that you have faced? How have you prevailed?
I had taught at the university for more than 20 years and run a scientific research lab and led few thesis. It was easy for me to write and educate people, to formulate products. I had a very precise idea of what I wanted as a design and I met talented and devoted people to manifest it. I was organized, inspired and we worked tirelessly for 18 months. I even could go through the records at Health Canada and the entire administration work. Then came the fateful moment of entering the market. 1st difficulty: the sensitivity of these ‘living’ products since without the chemical panoply of preservatives, emulsifiers, etc. they could not be stored directly on shelves but had to be stored in refrigerated displays. In 2002 it did not exist for cosmetics! However, one store has concluded with us – in large part because of a naturopath working there who immediately understood the potential of these products and knew how to present and sell them. That is the point 2 : education about the products. It lasted the 2 years that she worked there. Then we had to follow up with owners who were not very motivated and it was rather heavy. Some stores were interested in other provinces but the concept was still too new (5% of people were looking for this kind of product at this time) and therefore little sale if we were not able to be in the store to explain their benefits. Fortunately new educational and protection consumer organizations were born around 2005 : Skindeep, Safe Cosmetics, Healthy Tomorrow, Living Toxin Free … We contacted them and they understood that our vision was exactly what they wanted to spread. So they started talking about the Arganat brand and since then we limited our sales through internet, directly appealing to the niche that our products were intended for. Then in 2019 Purpicks started to give us a greater visibility. We are grateful to be appreciated for our hard work and we want my family and the whole team to keep a human dimension to the company – albeit fruitful – that allows us to maintain the quality of our products and our close relationship to our customers.
What is one of your favourite products? Can you tell us more about this product?
What are your favourite ingredients and why?
Argan oil is the queen, the rarest and most precious tree of youth on the planet that does miracles – in the kitchen, as a remedy and as a cosmetic. And I love it and I choose it carefully. But essential oils enchant my soul and delight my senses. Of course, I first seek according to their traditionally recognized virtues. Then I choose artisans who make organic or wild essential oils, even those who cannot afford to get certifications. Just by ‘smelling’ an essential oil, I am able to guess its impact on the skin, its impact on the mood, and even sometimes how it has been extracted. Then I ‘touch’ the oil, and I learn a little more about it. These tests usually confirm the beauty secrets my mother shared with me. My favorites essential oils come from rose petal, bud and flower bitter orange, true lavender flower, pink geranium flower, jasmine flower, immortal flower, and sandalwood, to name only those. All these essential oils have the power to lift up the mood and most of them are aphrodisiacs. And not to forget their extraordinary cosmetic properties! (as described in our website). Unfortunately some of these precious and expensive essential oils are poorly rated by EWG even when used in acceptable concentrations. We understand that there are more and more people who suffer from increased sensitivity due to our daily pollution exposition, who suffer from odors good or bad and are allergic to some natural components. We do take this into account since we are working on unscented versions of some of our products to meet their needs. But for those who love the arousing scents that nature provides us, they will be spoiled with our products!
Share your brand ethos and how you demonstrate credibility as it relates to your formulation and ingredients.
As a biochemist and naturopath I believe in my skills to formulate correctly our products. And yes, I formulate over 20 times to perfect the formulation and I personally test each of them. Most of our ingredients are organic or wild. But it is not affordable for most artisans to get certifications. Our products are natural, clean, edible, nontoxic, cruelty free-no animal testing (I am the first to test all the products, then my consenting relatives). From customer’s feedback, it seems that some products work well for dogs and cats (Toothpaste and Power cream). We use glass and BPA free plastic jars. Our new product Preciosa day cream have been tested for 2 years now and really appreciated – it will be launched on falls 2020. We have always refused to add sugar and foam to our toothpaste. We usually ask sugar addicts to give it a try for 2-3 days – it often works.
What are some myths in the clean/green beauty sector that should be debunked?
It doesn’t have to smell like a veterinary product to be green! Some clean beauty products may cost a lot. But if they are made of precious ingredients, if they are concentrated and versatile like ours, it is cost effective in short-middle term. Some products are called ‘green’ but are not. Some corporations have jumped into this very lucrative market offering sometimes ‘false green’…
If you had to do it again, would you do it again?
It was pretty see saw 20 years… started in enthusiasm and creativity, counting neither my time nor my money. Then we had to face the constraints of the market first very small and then a real wild jungle. Few times I almost gave up … and each time an event prevented me to: either a large order or an unexpected help. I always stood for my principles. I refused partnerships with people who wanted to change ingredients for lower quality ones or use less concentrated active ingredients to decrease the product cost. I refused to be complacent to make more benefits at the expense of our customers and our quality products. People are getting more and more able to better distinguish what is good for them and are more conscious consumers. I love creating products, I love explaining their impact and I am so happy when my customers tell me that our products are making a difference in their lives! I am amazed when they tell me about positive effects that we had not expected. And they are a lot – that is why most of our products are versatile! All my life I allowed myself to do what I love the best: sharing my knowledge and being of service to others, helping them to be who they really are and feel better. Bartering my university role of researcher and teacher to become an entrepreneur (educator and researcher one) and naturopath with the freedom and the uncertainties that that implies – was a way to transcend my limits, discover new possibilities and new skills! So yes, if it were to be done again, I would do it again – just taking more care of myself and my family.
Thank you Soad Benkirane for sharing your powerful story behind Arganat Canada.Your dedication for creating top quality products that are kind to the earth and kind to people is absolutely inspiring!