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Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed of Sana Jardin

The fragrance entrepreneur on leading the charge on socially conscious scents, her tips to buying perfume and empowering consumers to drive systemic change in the industry.

Founded in 2015, Sana Jardin is a socially conscious luxury fragrance house. If that doesn’t sound like a familiar concept, that’s because it isn’t. The world’s first company of its kind, founder Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed created her brand on the belief that social and environmental change can be made using just a bottle of perfume. Advocating for sustainable practices in the ingredients and materials used in the manufacturing process, and economical empowerment for women through the company’s groundbreaking Beyond Sustainability™ movement, Sana Jardin is paving the way to inspire others who are not showing up and doing their part, to do the same.

When most fragrance labels use cheap, synthetic ingredients paired with dispensable packaging and flashy marketing tools to earn consumers’ dollars, Sana Jardin is a spritz of fresh air. With seven seductive eau de parfums bearing names like Tiger By Her Side and Revolution De La Fleur, the bouquets are blended from jasmine, Rose or orange blossom flowers and paired with exotically intoxicating essential oils. The scents are also free of artificial colourants, parabens and formaldehydes; and packaged in recyclable materials. In other words, Sana Jardin is nothing like its competitors. And rightly so.

At a time when female empowerment is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, a brand like Sana Jardin — with its overarching philosophy to make a true social impact with women on the frontlines — is quite simply, revolutionary. Starting with female flower harvesters in Morocco.

To-date, Sana Jardin has provided the infrastructure and capabilities to teach them the skills to produce products and sell them for income, as well as the literacy to own and manage their own businesses. According to the company, by the end of 2017, the founding members of the cooperative saw an increase in their income by 250 per cent after just six months.

There’s more to be done, including taking the Beyond Sustainability™ movement global and educating consumers. But armed with 20 years of experience working in the field of social impact, including being an advisor to President Bill Clinton’s Health Access Initiative and a governing trustee of Cherie Blair’s Foundation for Women, we can’t picture a better woman than Amy to be in the vanguard of this flower movement.


Sana Jardin Morocco Après Avant

Morocco

As the world’s first socially conscious luxury fragrance house, what are three things other perfume companies are currently doing which are not socially conscious?

Very few fragrance houses help the communities in need who are involved in the harvesting of their raw materials in a meaningful way. Sana Jardin is the force behind the Beyond Sustainability™ movement, which powers tangible and measurable impact for low-income women through commerce rather than charity; by giving them tools to upcycle floral waste into their own line of products where they keep 100 per cent of the proceeds.

The second thing is waste! Many brands are over-packaging without a closed loop supply chain and not using recyclable or recycled packaging. Sana Jardin is ethical in as many touchpoints as possible, including the use of a recycled bottle and cap.

Lastly, all the Sana Jardin fragrances are free of artificial colourants, parabens and formaldehydes; with no animal-derived ingredients or animal testing.

Tell us about the next three goals you’ve set yourself and Sana Jardin to make the fragrance supply chain more ethical, and why.

We would like to take the Beyond Sustainability™ movement to other parts of the world, for example to Indonesia, India and beyond. We want to expand on the movement by sharing the value of the supply chain with the people at the base of the industry. Our goal is to enable the women to flourish by helping them to create their own micro-businesses and be their own entrepreneurs using ingredients which had previously gone into landfills. We are now working with these women to grow the distribution of their brand, Annammaa (which means growth in Arabic — a name picked by them) to a national level.

This is a time where consumers are increasingly aware of the significance and importance of social and ethical issues that can be affected by their own consumption. At Sana Jardin, we would like to continue to educate consumers in the importance of environmental and social sensitivity when purchasing.

The House of Sana Jardin sits at the intersection where quality of product meets unique brand identity meets social responsibility. There is integrity behind every aspect of its business.

Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed Moroccan Harvesters Sana Jardin Après Avant

Amy (in green) with female flower harvesters in Morocco, who handpick floral ingredients for Sana Jardin’s perfumes

What do you want people to know about the women who harvest the Moroccan flowers, and what have you personally learnt from them?

Each eau de parfum features jasmine, Rose or orange blossom handpicked by the female flower harvesters in Morocco. These women chant whilst picking the blossoms in the Moroccan sun, so in every bottle of Sana Jardin, the flower’s karma adds a special magic. They are keeping up a centuries-old tradition to honour the soul of the flowers.

Another favourite story is how the female flower harvesters traditionally wore white when they harvested the orange blossom to keep the soul of the flower pure and calm.

A key part of the Sana Jardin story is our Beyond Sustainability™ movement that economically empowers these women through commerce, not charity. A zero-waste, upcycling model enables the women to turn perfumery by-products into their own micro-enterprises. I am most proud of this innovative social impact business model that promotes wage increases and transparent, sustainable practices.

These women are affected by seasonal employment, directly linked to the flower harvests, and so can only work at certain times of the year. With Annammaa, they now have an income throughout the whole year (in 2017, their income went up by 250 per cent).

Your grandmother worked to support economic and social development. What is the most important lesson you’ve learnt from her, and how has it influenced your life?

My grandmother, Mary Pomeroy, was a pioneering visionary in the 1960s who co-founded The United States Delegation for Friendship Among Women. Her work took her to emerging economies across the globe with the aim to increase communication between women from the US and developing countries; and provide long-term, economic solutions for their families and communities.

She gifted me with the desire to work towards social justice and empowering women economically. Sana Jardin was created with the belief that this bottle of perfume can transform lives and change the way business is done.


“Avoid toxic ingredients. Buy brands that are sustainable and using recycled packaging with zero waste. Invest in beauty brands which have ethical backgrounds and help drive systemic change.”

Complete this sentence: As consumers become more conscious of what’s in the beauty products they are buying and how it affects their health and wellness, they will

Make different choices about the products they buy. Ultimately, they will help drive systemic change in the beauty industry by making it more sustainable and transparent.

Can you share with us three tips to buying consciously made perfumes?

Avoid toxic ingredients. Buy brands that are sustainable and using recycled packaging with zero waste. Invest in beauty brands which have ethical backgrounds and help drive systemic change.

What are the key differences between these types of perfumes and commercial ones?

The quality of ingredients, the high percentage of natural essential oils, and the sustainability and ethos of the brand.

Apart from your flawless taste in fragrances, what are your favourite conscious beauty brands?

Tata Harper, LXMI and Aveda for using plant-derived plastic in their packaging. I am also obsessed with Olivela, a new fashion and beauty website that donates a percentage of all goods sold to charity. A former Barney’s buyer heads it up, and the edit and impact is pure genius. I think it will revolutionise the digital shopping world.

Sana Jardin Revolution De La Fleur Après Avant

The Revolution De La Fleur scent is described as “a sultry, sun-filled melody of Madagascan ylang ylang, Moroccan jasmine, frangipani, Rose, vanilla and sandalwood floating on the humid, tropical air”

Finally, what does conscious living mean to you?

I believe in being as ethical and sustainable as much as possible. I think fragrance offers a unique opportunity to do this, as perfume production employs low-income people from developing countries, so there is a built-in community to provide social impact services which will enhance the quality of their lives.

I think many companies are working to make positive strides in this space. For all of us, it is a work in progress and we all have our own corporate goals we are aiming to achieve. I think any product that is as organic and sustainably sourced as much as possible, and comes from recycled materials, is a step in the right direction!

Sana Jardin recognises the importance of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, and is proud to support three of these goals: empowering women (5), promoting sustainable economic growth (8), and ensuring sustainable production practices (12).

Images courtesy of Sana Jardin