You may have already guessed that I am the mum in this mother and daughter partnership but that certainly doesn't mean I am the boss, so far I have been sacked 3 times (SMH).
My daughter and I have never worked together before apart from maybe on her school projects but to be fair, I was doing most of the work! …lol … so I can say from a good place, that it can be challenging at times … she's actually really bossy!
To give some background on our journey to ANAYA, I am one of those mums who refused to relax my daughters hair (I have two daughters). I opted for showing them how versatile Afro hair can be and what amazing styles can be created. I also showed them images of Afros, plaits and wigs from ancient Egypt and other African countries and the people who wore them with pride. It followed through that I would opt for natural skin and haircare.
So basically, we both love hair and skin care with a natural ingredient base so it felt right to work together to create a brand that we could be proud of and that actually could make a real difference. So some time ago Leah said she was fed up and was going to make her own products that would work for her sometimes ‘problematic’ skin and often ‘temperamental’ hair! I was really excited and after finishing my last tub of store bought Cocoa Butter, I waited patiently (well not so patiently cause my skin was getting dry) for Leah to show me what she had made. Unfortunately, at that stage the Shea butter didn’t materialise forcing me to give it a go myself (raises eyes to ceiling). My first attempt at whipped Shea butter wasn't too bad if I say so myself and I started making it for the family who had various skin conditions, like my Aunt for example who (as dramatic as it sounds) is pretty much allergic to everything but air…just about lol. I started making larger and larger quantities as the months went on and shared with my wider circle of friends and family. Meanwhile, in the background Leah had been working on other products and … they were really good, I was so impressed *proud mum face*
For Mother's day this year, she made me a personalised gift box (tearing up now!) and amongst the gorgeous items in it, was a hydrating cream that she had made herself (very sneaky, I didn't notice a thing). I tried it, loved it and at the time of writing this blog, am still using it (we will be adding it to our collection so you'll get to try it too).
So anyway to cut a long story short, in about June 2020 after much talking about maybe starting our own business and an extraordinarily crap year on so many levels, not least of all because of the tragic events of that Summer and Covid 19 of course, we decided to go for it and by that stage we had changed the Shea butter formula which was now much improved. We thought about what kind of business we wanted to have and aside from making quality products which would be eco-friendly, vegan and free from carcinogens … I am just going to say this, I shouldn't have to mention 'free from carcinogens' that should be a given, but unbelievably some brands still put things into products for skin and hair that cause harm, it reminds me of the saturated fat debacle many years ago but I digress. We wanted our customers to trust us and to trust what it said on the label of our products and we wanted to be honest in our approach to everything. We decided that we were in it for the long haul, that inevitably we would make mistakes (but learn from them) and that we would have successes (and learn from them too!) We also decided that we should love what we do and do what we love and that part is still very true for us.
I have to give it to the female business owners out there some of whom are my dear friends and make it look easy but ….. especially the business owners who have children, maybe a partner, home to run and in some cases, work full time in another job. There is an incredible amount of hard work that goes on behind the scenes, late nights, long days, lost weekends, crazy deadlines and don't get me started on Instagram (I seriously couldn't get to grips with it, not even the basics….my daughter to this day, looks at me in sheer disbelief when I am trying to navigate my way around!) but I can honestly say, we really love it!
Leah and me on hols in 2002 and in 2021....
I actually enjoy working with my daughter, I love it when we agree on something or have the exact same idea or thought at the exact same time …. don't like when we disagree so much (vex face) but that said, I think we have a new found respect for each other and as soon as lockdown is over we are heading out for a 'mother daughter' spa day with afternoon tea.....and we might even throw in an overnight stay cause I don't know about y'all but the jacuzzi always makes me wanna sleep!