New York City
Member Since 2010
Name: Katharine Phillips L’Heureux
Location: New York City
Product: Kahina Giving Beauty Gift Bag
Some relationships are just meant to be. Like that of Kahina Giving Beauty, a skincare line that works with Berber women in Morocco, and Nest, a company that provides micro-loans to women in developing economies. They’ve come together to create this special gift set, which consists of a handmade cosmetics bag (courtesy of Nest) and argan oil and soap (courtesy of Kahina Giving Beauty). Here, Kahina founder Katharine Phillips-L’Heureux explains how it all came together—and why argan oil is the product your skin has been waiting for.
What inspired you to create the Kahina Giving Beauty Gift Bag?
The Kahina Giving Beauty Gift Bag is a perfect alignment of two companies dedicated to helping women around the world, Kahina Giving Beauty and Nest. Nest, which gives micro-loans to women in need to enable them to become self-sufficient, provides the bags. Inside the bags are 100 percent organic Kahina Giving Beauty argan oil, sourced from women’s cooperatives in Morocco, and all-natural artisanal argan soap. Twenty-five percent of profits from all Kahina Giving Beauty products are donated to the Berber women who extract the oil.
How was this product made?
Nest enlisted the women of Destiny project, a group of formerly trafficked women in India, to hand-block and sew the bags. Kahina Giving Beauty argan oil is extracted by hand by the Berber women of Morocco using centuries-old techniques. This work is their only means of economic and social freedom. The argan oil soap is made by artisanal soap makers in Morocco.
Where is this product manufactured?
The bags are hand-printed and sewn in India. Kahina Giving Beauty argan oil and argan soap are made in Morocco and packaged in the U.S.
What was the big aha! you had while creating this product?
The founder of Nest, Rebecca Kousky, and I originally met at a Fair Trade discussion where Rebecca was a panelist. This collaboration was an obvious step for both of us as a way for us to expand our mission of helping women.
Can you describe your creative process?
My creativity is born of passion. I love Morocco, the Berber women, skin care and natural and organic ingredients. Kahina Giving Beauty originated from my enthusiasm for these various elements and a desire to help women in need.
What do you love about what you do?
I love that I have the opportunity to pursue my personal passion while helping others. Kahina Giving Beauty has afforded me the opportunity to meet the most amazing people, from the Berber women of Morocco to people here in New York who also care deeply about sustainability and helping others. Running my own business, while challenging, also gives me the flexibility to be present for my three kids.
How would you sum up your aesthetic/design philosophy?
I would describe my aesthetic philosophy as ordered eclecticism. I like things to be visually clean and uncluttered, with strong structural composition. But I’m a hippie at heart and can’t resist bringing in ethnic touches and natural, tactile elements.
What are you working on next?
I am starting to think about a body care line based on an organic ingredient sourced from women’s cooperatives in another country where the women badly need help. Like Kahina, which gives 25 percent of profits to the Berber women of Morocco, the new line would give 25 percent of profits to the women of that country. Of course, the body line would incorporate argan oil as well because it’s such an amazing ingredient.
What would you like to do other than your current occupation?
I’d like to be a landscape architect, a creative pursuit that would combine my love of nature and embody my strong desire to create order out of chaos.