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Reinventing Jeddah’s beauty industry

Sarah Al-Wassia set out to create a brand that focuses on creating natural, handmade products.
Nanu Body products are luxurious and environmentally-friendly.
The brand offers its own range of natural deodorant.
The body butter is luxurious and moisturizing.
The shea butter soap is frothy and aromatic.
Pretty packaging makes this brand a must-have.
Nanu Body is known for its natural products.
Nanu Body's products are as pretty as they are effective.
From cream to face wash, the brand offers a variety of products.
By running her own brand and selling her own specially-formulated creations using high-quality natural ingredients, Sarah Al-Wassia, founder and owner of Nanu Body products, shows that a little innovation can go a long way.
The beauty entrepreneur set out to create a brand that focuses on creating natural, handmade products in Saudi Arabia in 2014, but launched it to the public in 2015 and has not looked back since.
“Skincare is my passion! I always had an interest in creating something related to it and the transition from being a graphic designer to creating natural body products was a big decision,” she told Arab News, explaining that as well as being a wife, mother and entrepreneur, she is also currently studying for a master’s degree in nutrition and herbal medicine.
The road to success was not easy, however.
“It had some level of turbulence, but as the saying goes ‘rough seas make better sailors.’ I worked hard and learned to appreciate my unique journey in the skincare industry,” she said.
“Besides being interested in nature and natural products, health and nutrition have always been a major part of my life… I wanted to take it further by focusing on what I apply on my skin. Hence, the idea of creating my very own natural handmade body products came and Nanu Body was launched.”
When asked about her inspiration, Al-Wassia said that her family and her love for nature inspired her the most. In addition to this, certain essential oils motivated her to develop products for the benefit of people’s skin.
“Every recipe starts as a vague idea, which is transformed into a prototype that undergoes several testing stages. Also, most of the time, I use them on myself for a while before it gets commercialized, in order to ensure a high quality natural products,” she said.
The first product line that Nanu Body released was the body scrub collection, which was a great success. By then, other products, including body butter, deodorant, soap, fragrance and lip balm, had completed the testing phase and were released.
“Though the formulation development process is extensive, I make sure to take notes as to what I feel is missing and then slowly add more components to the products,” Al-Wassia explained.
She advised customers wanting to transition from conventional cosmetics to natural products to be aware and attentive of natural products and keep a track of what they hear and read about natural beauty products as well as do their own research. It is important to have an understanding of particular ingredients or to have knowledge about what to avoid in order having a true conviction that natural beauty care products are right for anyone.
The beauty businesswoman is involved in every step of the process, from product concepts to sales plans. She even played a major role in sourcing raw materials from the US to ensure all her products are natural.
“I have no other go-to beauty products. I am 100% natural and this motivates me more to create natural products that are chemical free. Besides, I am obsessed with quality so I can make the best, most effective skincare. If there is something in my life that I would like to replace with a handmade alternative, it would be make-up. (I would like to introduce) natural cosmetics at Nanu Body. Thus, we are looking at possibly launching that in near future,” she revealed.
Sharing her opinion on being compared to high-end makeup brands, she said that Nanu Body is a natural, handmade body product and cannot be likened to any make-up brands on the market.
When asked what her favorite product is, she chose Nanu Body Butter due to its rich texture and the natural ingredients that moisturize the skin. She also shared news of the recent launch of Nanu Body’s latest product, a body salve that also acts as a natural mosquito repellent — perfect for the winter months when many across the region spend more and more time outdoors.
“This year, it’s been tough, we have gone through many ups and downs like any other business,” she revealed. “But the key is to accept that life will not always be perfectly balanced. The most important thing in life is to focus and not sweat the small stuff. We managed to launch our products in two shops in Jeddah and that was a goal we achieved against all odds.
“I was up for the challenges and could surpass them with hard work and effort,” she added.
Al-Wassia says she has been surprised by the number of people in the country who have shown an interest in handmade natural body products and the level of brand loyalty that has been shown to Nanu Body.
“At Nanu Body, the customer is always right and we love to hear feedback from our customers, whether it is good or bad. We take our costumers comments into consideration and use the feedback in our product development,” she said.