‘I’ve learnt to be in the now’ Kala­hari founder Ca­rina Franck

Kala­hari skin­care founder Ca­rina Franck talks to Stephanie van der Plank about stay­ing true to her­self, re­spect­ing her­itage, and nd­ing her pas­sion

Woman & Home (South Africa) - - In this issue... - For more in­for­ma­tion on Kala­hari, visit kala­har­il­ifestyle.com w&h

Ca­rina Franck, 49, has been in the beauty in­dus­try for over 17 years. She bought Nimue Skin Technology in 2001 and, as CEO, helped es­tab­lish the brand in­ter­na­tion­ally. She then sold the busi­ness to a cor­po­rate com­pany in 2007. Three years later, she founded the nat­u­ral beauty range Kala­hari, of which she is CEO. The col­lec­tion en­com­passes an ex­clu­sive se­lec­tion of skin, body and life­style prod­ucts, made us­ing nat­u­rally har­vested botan­i­cal in­gre­di­ents. She lives in Wood­mead with her hus­band and their young daugh­ter, Donna.

When I was a young girl, grow­ing up on a farm in the Kala­hari, my feet in the red sand, I’d spend hours just drink­ing in the beauty of the vast land­scape and blue skies sur­round­ing me. I never once dreamt that one day I’d take a piece of th­ese nat­u­ral won­ders with me to far­away lands like Nor­way.

My par­ents farmed live­stock, and my mom was the best cook for miles – com­ing home to the smell of fresh bread was so com­fort­ing. Our farm had vine­yards at the front of it and rolling desert dunes at the back. I of­ten ex­plored those dunes, learn­ing plant and an­i­mal names from the Khoisan peo­ple. I still love noth­ing more than sit­ting around a glo­ri­ous camp­fire with a glass of red wine in hand, look­ing up at hun­dreds of thou­sands of stars. It’s my happy place.

I went from be­ing a farm girl to work­ing in the world of skin­care, study­ing beauty and well­ness, and grow­ing Nimue Skin Technology. I learnt so much about the in­dus­try and women’s beauty needs, and also helped ce­ment the Nimue brand in­ter­na­tion­ally, which was an in­valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence. When the com­pany was sold to a cor­po­rate or­gan­i­sa­tion, I felt like it was time for me to strike out on my own. Af­ter Nimue, go­ing back to my roots felt like the most nat­u­ral thing for me to do. I’d grown up hav­ing the se­crets of the Kala­hari un­locked for me, from watch­ing my gran use devil’s claw – a pow­er­ful anti-in­flam­ma­tory – to heal my brother’s scrapes, to hav­ing Patat, my friend from a lo­cal Khoisan fam­ily, show me the heal­ing pow­ers of the tsamma melon, a kind of wild wa­ter­melon.

I knew so much about the re­ju­ve­nat­ing, restor­ing and heal­ing prop­er­ties of Kala­hari plants, and I wanted to share that with the world. Some­times, it’s like all the pieces of a puz­zle come to­gether. Ev­ery­thing I knew about the Kala­hari’s magic, cou­pled with my ex­pe­ri­ence in skin­care, forged my new path for­ward.

I re­turned to my fam­ily’s farm near Uping­ton and, once again, spent time im­mers­ing my­self in all the Kala­hari had to oŒer. Soon I was burst­ing with ideas for a nat­u­ral skin­care range con­tain­ing whole­some yet pow­er­ful in­gre­di­ents. My first two o…er­ings were the Buchu Kisses lip treat­ment – one of our top sell­ers – and the Fa­cial Cleanser made with rooi­bos tea and kigelia Africana ex­tracts. I felt like I’d come full cir­cle, re­turn­ing to the desert to tap into my true pas­sion – har­ness­ing na­ture’s power to nour­ish our bod­ies.

Launch­ing Kala­hari on my own in 2010, with­out the back­ing of a big cor­po­rate, was tough but re­ward­ing. For­tu­nately, I had built strong friend­ships with peo­ple in the in­dus­try, who re­ally helped me get the Kala­hari name out there. We grew quickly in the lo­cal mar­ket, with South African women lov­ing our at-home prod­ucts and in-sa­lon treat­ments. And, be­cause the range is lo­cally pro­duced, it doesn’t have hefty im­port du­ties slapped on it. It’s a world-class, award-win­ning, price-per­fect skin­care col­lec­tion.

I still feel thrilled when I hear how a client’s skin has been trans­formed af­ter a se­ries of our treat­ments.

‘I’ve al­ways known the se­crets of the Kala­hari Desert’

Just like the French, I’m all about nat­u­rally healthy, ra­di­ant skin. In­stead of bury­ing prob­lems like pig­men­ta­tion and adult acne un­der lay­ers of makeup, try beauty ther­a­pies that leave your skin feel­ing sup­ple and fresh. You’ll find your­self us­ing less and less makeup if you do. Most days, I just wear mas­cara and a bit of tinted mois­turiser.

The best item in our range is what I call fab­u­lous fer­ulic. Fer­ulic acid is found in many plants as well as in the seeds of ap­ples and or­anges. It’s used as an an­tiox­i­dant. We re­cently launched a prod­uct called Fer­ulic CEB+ Serum, and it’s my go-to for a flaw­less com­plex­ion.

Kala­hari has done in­cred­i­bly well abroad – es­pe­cially in coun­tries like Fin­land, Den­mark and Swe­den. They adore the true brand story of a girl grow­ing up in a mag­i­cal desert. We’ve re­cently started exporting to Amer­ica and New Zealand, too.

I spend 40% of my time in SA – the rest, I’m abroad. Grow­ing your own brand in other coun­tries can be gru­elling work; at times, I’ll do nine pre­sen­ta­tions in 10 days across three coun­tries. Be­fore such a long trip, I try to sneak o‘ to the bush to gather my strength. I’ve been known to ar­rive for a skin­care work­shop in Paris with soot un­der my nails from last night’s camp­fire! Mine is a life of ex­tremes, but I ap­pre­ci­ate each ex­pe­ri­ence more be­cause of the con­trast.

My travel hacks? I use my sticky lug­gage tag as a lint-re­mover so my black pants look neat and tidy. And I never travel with­out a small steamer.

I learnt early on that I couldn’t man­age ev­ery­thing on my own.

I started a new brand >>

and had a child at about the same time – in my for­ties! I’ve em­braced the art of del­e­ga­tion and I make sac­ri­fices – I’m not al­ways there to bath Donna – but I’ve also learnt how to live in the now. Hav­ing fan­tas­tic sta at work, and my hus­band and sis­ter help­ing at home, means I can fo­cus en­tirely on the task at hand, whether it’s per­fect­ing a prod­uct recipe or build­ing a puz­zle with Donna.

The se­cret to a happy re­la­tion­ship is be­ing able to give – your time, your sup­port, your un­der­stand­ing – and know­ing you’ll get the same from your part­ner. Af­ter a long day of meet­ings, when all I want to do is flop down on the couch and watch Net­flix, I’ll pour two glasses of wine and catch up with my hus­band in­stead. We also do co ee at 7am be­fore Donna wakes up. You learn to speed date with the per­son you’re mar­ried to.

Whether you’re at the top of your game or just start­ing out, you need to stay true to your­self. For me, that means fo­cus­ing on hon­esty, in­tegrity and giv­ing back. It’s my foun­da­tion in busi­ness and in life. A per­cent­age of the prof­its from each item sold goes to com­mu­nity projects like build­ing a school or aid­ing a food pro­gramme. It’s es­sen­tial to feel you’re part of some­thing good.

My mom taught me to think pos­i­tively. As a farmer, she saw ev­ery­thing from drought to the loss of live­stock, but her en­thu­si­asm rarely waned. She chose to fo­cus on the won­der­ful things around her, such as new life and ca­ma­raderie. She passed away when I was 18, but she shaped who I am to­day.

I’m plan­ning a proper 50th birth­day blowout with my friend from Fin­land, who also turns 50 next year. We want to take a lux­ury train from St Peters­burg to Beijing and cel­e­brate in old-school glam­our. We’ll get dressed up in our best evening wear for nights of card-play­ing and vodka-drink­ing as we pass through the snow-cov­ered Siberian land­scape. Very Mur­der on the Ori­ent Ex­press!

Donna loves to mimic me when she comes to the o ce. She’ll ar­rive and im­me­di­ately call a ‘board meet­ing’ with whomever she can find, then she col­lects some pa­pers and stands on a chair so that ev­ery­one can see her. She’s in charge! It’s equally cheeky and adorable.

She and I do a lot of ex­plor­ing to­gether. Whether it’s go­ing on o -road trips through Namibia or sim­ply walk­ing with her through our gar­den in the morn­ing. I try to teach Donna as much as pos­si­ble, so she’s helped har­vest the tsam­mas and she points out new bul­binella plants in the yard. She’s even bathed in a metal tub with me in the mid­dle of the Kala­hari desert. I truly trea­sure those mo­ments.

‘I feel like I’m part of some­thing re­ally good’

Kala­hari brand am­bas­sador Patat helps Ca­rina dis­cover desert se­crets

Ca­rina of­ten es­capes to the bush with fouryear-old Donna

The arid land­scape has a lot to o er

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