Landing a £40k a year job with a renowned investment bank immediately after leaving university would be enough for most graduates.
With the added bonus of training held in The Big Apple, many would consider any decision not to get one’s feet beneath that particular table swiftly somewhat rash.
However, for Dana Elmera, despite securing such a role, working long hours under constant pressure, irrespective of the fact that she was more than capable of coping, wasn’t her idea of time well spent furnishing a career that would, more than likely, become her working life.
In an interview this week in The Telegraph, Dana explains exactly how her passion for argan oil persuaded her to drop the security offered at the investment bank in favour of risking it all to bring in the ‘Miracle Oil’ from Morocco.
The versatility of argan oil – from culinary to cosmetic
Argan oil is a multi-purpose product. Whilst it’s gained popularity through beauty and cosmetics in more recent times, the Berber Women of Morocco are just as likely to be seen lining their tagines with it ready to cook their infamous dish of the same name, as to be coating their hair and applying it facially as an anti-aging moisturizer.
The nutritional benefits of argan oil is certainly the avenue Dana is focusing on with her Arganic start-up company, securing orders to supply the product as an ingredient to some of the most well-known culinary houses in the UK, with options opening up before her to ship to Dubai and Asia in the near future, too.
As one might expect, The Telegraph covered the Arganic story from the entrepreneurial aspect.
And no wonder; Dana’s is a genuine accomplishment of a young professional possessing foresight and drive, combining those inherent talents with tips and tricks picked up during her time in The City, and then making the most of what’s still a fledgling product in The British Isles.
The article did indirectly hint at why argan oil, in both its cosmetic and culinary forms, may be slow to filter into the UK.
It’s raved about in the States and, in North Africa, it’s been used for centuries by the Berber peoples to rejuvenate and replenish their skin and hair after enduring the ferocity of near-tropical temperatures as they do all year round.
Women have a distinct advantage engaging at argan production level
Many of Dana’s peers globally, or indeed competition, are ‘middle-aged men’. To her advantage, she realized it’s difficult for males other than relatives to actually engage with the women; that simply is the tradition amongst the Berbers.
The distribution network from Morocco, regulated to provide EcoCerts for the 100% genuine Moroccan argan oil product, is often as close as the male-dominated importers get to the production line. Similarly, the co-operatives created to ensure that the Berber women earn a fair wage is as close as many men will ever get to the Moroccan workforce.
This has certainly given Dana the edge when it comes to breaking down barriers and she looks odds on to corner the market for culinary argan oil. Certainly, gaining exclusivity was one of her top priorities.
Here at Poppy Austin, we know exactly what an advantage the feminine touch is, even though our focus is primarily focused on bringing the purest argan oil to cosmetics rather than cookery, as our name suggests.
We also know that genuine argan oil carries a weighty price tag in its own right. With the additional tag of ‘exclusive’, perceived or genuine, there’s only one way the cost of product is going to go without an increase in competition from other suppliers of similar grade product.
What we hope to do and we’re sure Dana is too, is to generate enough business to a) give back to the Berber women so that they can flourish in their native Morocco and b) grow our customer base to ensure that we can keep reinvesting in stocks to help cap the price for the long term.
There’s a big future for argan and we’re only at the very beginning. Even now, one thing’s for certain: now that argan oil’s finally arrived, it’s here to stay.
We hope that you get as excited and rewarded by it as Dana and that it transforms your life, whether you feed your body from the inside or rejuvenate it on the outside, in a similar fashion.
The Editorial Team
Photo Credits - (Header) CC: 'canary wharf' by Petras Gagilas - (Sidebar) CC: 'Cody' by Gareth Davis
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