‘What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul’ – so the proverb goes, and it sums up what the French Lemon team have created … gorgeous soaps (and more) to delight your body and soul!
What happens when you cross a French bulldog with a mother-daughter duo with a passion for natural bath and beauty products? French Lemon! Vanessa Ralston and Kara-Leigh Baker founded French Lemon in March 2017. A combination of retrenchment and an impending wedding led to a lucky break for us Joburgers – without it, we wouldn’t have the all-natural, scrumptious bath, body and beauty brand that is loved both in households and businesses countrywide!
‘After our decision to produce natural, chemical-free products that are kind to the environment, we wanted a name that was fresh and clean,’ Vanessa says. After founding the brand, they wanted to find a way to incorporate their beloved pooch into their name and logo – so when you purchase a French Lemon product, take a moment to admire Ian, their beloved French bulldog.
Love – and family – rests at the heart of this small business. ‘Being a mom-and-daughter duo is an amazing experience that we are fortunate enough to experience. We are incredibly close. Care and respect for each other go both ways. We trust each other implicitly. When one of us is down, we remind the other person of all the wonderful qualities we see that can be difficult to recognise when you’re not feeling it. We balance each other and challenge each other. A healthy mother-daughter relationship is one that demonstrates love, even in the face of conflict. It is one that establishes healthy boundaries and one in which neither party is self-seeking.’
Vanessa and Kara are each other’s biggest fans. ‘I am in total awe of Kara’s ability at work and in her personal life,’ Vanessa says.
‘She is a dynamic, confident and strong businesswoman with the ability to overcome any challenges she faces in a positive way. She is a supermom who is patient, kind, caring and loving to her baby girl of six months. She is the most incredible daughter who will stop at nothing to be there for her family. She has a great sense of humour and makes me laugh so often.’
Kara says, ‘I have the privilege of working with my mom. As a mom myself, you want nothing more than a great relationship with your children. My mom has taught me what it means to be a good mom and I hope I’m half the mother she is. My mom is the hardest worker. She is extremely dedicated and makes sure things are done 120 per cent. She comes up with the most incredible recipes (sometimes she won’t share them, for example, our body scrub is her secret recipe) which landed up being one of our top-sellers. She is the heart of this company.’
All that love surely seeps into the products themselves. ‘We have been very fortunate that people loved our products from the start,’ Vanessa says. ‘We supply soap, lotion, room spray and diffusers to top restaurants, event venues and hotels. We often have their customers/clients phoning us to order products for themselves as they loved the products they used. We have also expanded our “crew” and have representatives in Hoedspruit, Zambia, Zimbabwe and soon in Namibia too!’
So what sets French Lemon apart from any other soap store? ‘Our handmade natural soaps are made in small batches with love and care. We use high-quality, natural ingredients such as coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter and pure essential oils to create unique formulas. Each handmade soap bar is not only natural but functional, safe, luxurious and gentle on the skin. Especially for those with skin sensitivities, handmade bars are nurturing and beneficial. There is a changing demand to get away from mass-market soaps and products which contain harmful ingredients which are bad for the environment. We abstain from using palm oil, we are vegan-friendly and we do not test on animals or harm the environment. We do not use harmful surfactants that many other companies use. It’s actually quite scary once you start reading the ingredients in certain products and realise what you are putting into your body!’
How can you get your hands on some French Lemon goodness? ‘In these Covid times, we are strictly online, with an option to “click-and-collect”, so you don’t have to use a courier and can thus minimise the number of times your parcel is handled. We are extremely strict with sanitising, masks and practising social distancing in our workplace. Being a soap business you can also rest assured that we wash our hands many, many times a day!’
Details: Head to frenchlemon.co.za to browse the full range.
French Lemon’s choice for Winter:
Use a combination of our sugar body scrubs and Liquid Castile soap. This combo is extra moisturising especially for Winter. Wash your skin with a moisturising body wash and then use the scrub to get rid of any dead, dry skin. The scrub also promotes blood circulation which makes the skin more radiant.
To win a really (really!) fabulous French Lemon hamper packed with pampering treats, simply find our French Lemon post on the Get It Joburg North Magazine Facebook page and @get_it_joburg_north Instagram grid (double points for both) and tell us why you’d love the spoil. Entries close August 20. Hurry!