I’m Taryn, a beauty therapist by trade, I’ve recently taken the plunge and moved into a different area within my industry.
My company is called Umundu Ltd. ‘Umundu’ in the Luhya language, spoken in parts of Kenya, stands for “humanness, or the act of being humane to other human beings and to nature in general”. It’s the same concept of ‘Ubuntu’ in the Xhosa culture, which means “I am because we are”.
We are the UK distributor of Africology skincare, body and lifestyle products. Africology offers luxury, natural and eco-friendly skincare, body and lifestyle products, fragranced only with pure essential oils. Africology are an ethical company committed to fair trade while respecting the earth and supporting local communities.
For a skincare brand, Africology has unusual roots. From its humble beginnings 17 years ago, at the kitchen table of founder Renchia Droganis, Africology has grown into South Africa’s leading natural and ethical skincare brand. But it’s not its kitchen table origins that sets Africology apart — it’s the fact that the company was born out of a desire to help heal the wounds inflicted on Africa by apartheid.
Renchia’s background as a counsellor and therapist involved working with victims of apartheid to support them in finding the strength to testify in court. She worked for an organisation that not only helped people who had grown up without an education learn to read and write, but gave them a chance to heal past pain and nurture a healthy self-esteem and this is what Renchia focussed on during her counselling sessions.
She began to research plant extracts, aromatherapy and formulations so that she could create bespoke skincare products for her clients — mixing essential oils to help them according to their physical and emotional needs.
What started as a desire to help people affected by the cruelties of apartheid has grown into a successful, ethical and cruelty-free brand that supports fair trade and local communities in Africa while giving the world the benefits of its healing skincare.
I was born and grew up in Johannesburg. My partner and I moved to the UK in 2001. In 2007 we embarked on an overland adventure through Africa. We took a year out and drove from London to Cape Town and were continually captivated by the cultural diversity.
I’m humbled by the generosity of the African people and their willingness to share what little they have, never expecting anything in return. My heart belongs to Africa.
It was then that I started dreaming of establishing an African Day Spa in the UK. Once I have established the Africology brand in the UK, I plan on fulfilling my dream of creating a spa where clients can experience the warmth and hospitality of African people through our signature Africology treatments, thus creating a unique therapeutic service. It will have sustainable development, social responsibility and empowerment of disadvantaged African communities as its core vision.
Ethical business practices, environmentally responsible policies and fair-trade will underpin this vision. We will add another R to reduce, reuse and recycle by reinvesting in the income potential of less fortunate communities in Africa by supporting their projects. This will be achieved by purchasing African products at a fair price thereby generating adequate income to improve living standards.
I believe that a little goes a long way, and if I can enrich a few lives and empower a handful of people through my vision, I have done what I set out to do, and that is giving back to the place and people to whom my heart belongs.