Wema Bodycare keeps beauty simple. Specialists in creating luxurious locally made cosmetics, company founders Patrick Bensamou and Leonete Galiano, originally from France and Angola respectively, make each product by hand, in small batches, with natural, active ingredients known to heal and pamper the skin. Derived from the Swahili word for goodness, Wema products are organic and made with a limited number of ingredients – less is more is the brand’s philosophy.
“Wema started off first as an idea to open a guest house in a remote site south of Angola, where I was born. The idea was that everything being offered to clients would be handmade by us on site, from the breakfast croissants to the soap and shampoo in the bathroom,” Galiano recalls. “Unfortunately the start-up costs were just too expensive and we had to rethink our idea. At the time we living in India and were visiting Cape Town for a holiday, staying on and starting our business here felt like the right choice.”
Using carefully selected, high quality vegetable oils and butters sourced from Africa, Wema products include indigenous ingredients, all known for their fantastic moisturising qualities. Wherever possible, the raw ingredients are procured from organic and/or responsibly grown crops, directly from producers who are actively involved in uplifting their communities.
“We’d studied a lot of the products that we were going to make for the guesthouse and we realised that we could use this knowledge in a new venture – actually making and selling the beauty products, as opposed to just making them for friends and family,” Galiano says.
“Launching a business as a foreigner has not been easy. We had no credit history, no chance of getting a loan, and a long wait ahead of us, before our work permits were granted. We took a huge risk and decided to invest all of our savings into Wema – we believed in the product took a calculated leap,” she says.
Established in 2013, Wema’s all natural range includes cold process soaps, salt body scrubs, lip balms, massage candles and oils, hair treatments, body butters and body care accessories. The products have been tested in a laboratory in Europe and meet international standards required by the beauty and cosmetics industry.
“We already export our products to Angola and our next step is to make Wema available in France and other parts of Europe. Ensuring that our products meet international standards, while at the same time remain natural, is very important to us.”
For a full list of Wema stockists or to purchase from the webshop, visit www.wemabodycare.com.
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On behalf of Wema Bodycare:
Founders: Leonete Galiano and Patrick Bensamou