As I worked outside year-round, the weather and London pollution dried out my sensitive skin.
This was way before the green beauty revolution when very few natural skincare products were around. In those days many mainstream products were chemically laden, and sustainability, as well as the environmental impact of the beauty industry, were often overlooked...
So I put my extensive plant knowledge and experience to use, rolled up my sleeves and set about creating my own body care range. I trawled the internet for information, and after a lot of experimentation and months of research, I began making handmade soap, body butters balms and moisturisers infused with pure essential oils for friends and family who thankfully loved them.
Caribbean inspiration - Dominica
Kalabash pays homage to my Caribbean heritage. In the late 1950s, my Windrush parents left Dominica, the aptly named “Nature Island of the Caribbean” and settled in the UK, met, married and started a family.
I still have vivid memories of my only family holiday - my first trip to the “Nature Island” aged 9. This evocative and lush tropical island was where I first discovered a passion for tropical plants and gardening. I'd never been outside London before this and was instantly transfixed by the sight, colours, smell and taste of fresh mangoes, bananas, cocoa, coconuts, oranges, limes and much more which hung ready to pick and eat from trees all over the island. The memories of my parents’ Garden of Eden homeland, with its dense rainforests, looming mountains and tropical gardens, watered by 365 rivers and streams which crisscross the island made a lasting impression.
According to Dominican folk law, the island soil is so fertile that a walking stick would sprout leaves if you left it too long in the ground.
Dominica captivated my imagination so much that I kept a daily journal complete with illustrations of this wonderful 6-week adventure. Back at school during “Show and Tell” I was awarded my first and only gold star from a teacher who didn’t give them out lightly. The 9-year-old me was delighted with my achievement!
SHARRON & HER MUM
Dominica's lasting impression sparked the creation of Kalabash from its UK Headquarters, (my kitchen in Finchley, north London). After taking a soapmaking business course in 2006 I combined the warm tropical scents, exotic ingredient and fragrances I remembered from Dominica into natural handmade soap and body care treats. Kalabash or Calabash Handmade as it was known then, was an instant hit with a growing international following. An extract from the original website's testimonial page reads:
"Your soap is so rich and gentle - it's like washing with a high-quality moisturiser!"
Sadly a divorce forced me, like many other women, to press the pause button, pack my dream safely away for another time and return to office life for a more stable income as a single mum.
The Kalabash re-launch
Fast forward to 2018 I've had a successful career in project management and business development, the children have grown up and guess what? I still garden and still love creating delicious natural body care products (especially cold process soap). With my new -found independence, I re-entered the entrepreneurial game and enjoy every moment.
I and my headquarters have relocated to a quaint thatched cottage in a rural village in Bedfordshire. The entire range has been resurrected, revamped and refined just for you. It took a year of testing, re-formulating, painstakingly researching and ethically sourcing high-quality Caribbean inspired ingredients, including skin nourishing mango seed butter, coconut oil and organic cocoa and aloe vera butters as well as pure aromatherapy grade essential oils for their fragrance and natural therapeutic and healing powers.
The result of all that R&D and in line with UK legislation, every Kalabash formula has been assessed for safety by a qualified Cosmetic Scientist who passed by them as being compliant with the European Cosmetic Regulations prior to the launch in December 2018.
My mission is to create natural vegan-friendly and organic tropical treats in small batches to ensure freshness and quality for you to enjoy during your indulgent self-care rituals.
Kalabash aspires not only to help you get great healthy skin but also to evoke momentary soothing Caribbean escapism from the stresses of work and daily life, so you feel energised, empowered and ready for whatever life throws at you.
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Founder - Kalabash
I created Kalabash after years of office life and re-discovering my childhood passion for plants, gardening and creativity.
During a career break and enrolled in a Royal Horticultural Society course in horticulture and Garden Design and studied for 2 years whilst getting my hands dirty in several North London gardens as a jobbing gardener.
I later went on to set up a gardening business in London.
AS I WORKED OUTSIDE YEAR ROUND, THE WEATHER AND CITY POLLUTION STARTED TO MAKE MY SENSITIVE SKIN EXTREMELY DRY.
This was way before the green beauty revolution when very few natural skin care products were around. In those days many mainstream products were chemically laden, and sustainability and the environmental impact of the plastic packaging were often overlooked...
So I put my plant knowledge and experience to use, rolled up my sleeves and started work on my own body care range. I trawled the internet for information, and after a lot of experimentation and months of research, I began making handmade soap, body butters balms and moisturisers infused with pure essential oils for friends and family who thankfully loved them.