With CÎME, we create organic and fair-trade skincare products based on superfoods from the Himalayas. This November, we travelled to Nepal with our friend and photographer Nena from Studio Nunu to visit our projects. In 4 blog posts, we tell you all about our trip.
Part 1: From laywers to the Himalayas | About our carreer move and the role of Nepal in this story
After 8 years we are back in Nepal. During our previous trip we were still working as lawyers.
We are two friends with a passion for beauty. On a sunny afternoon at the beach, after completing an exam on tax law in our final year at university, we were philosophizing over our biggest dream of starting our own business someday. At that moment we didn’t have a concrete plan and neither the budget, so together we made a pact: if one of us were to start a business, we would do it together. The bikini pact was born!
After our studies, both of us started a career as lawyers. However, the bikini pact kept playing in the back of our minds. Mid 2012, shortly before becoming 30, we decided to take the plunge and start our biggest dream: the launch of our skincare line.
Anke: “The inspiration of our skincare line was the Himalaya, which came from a trekking I had done with my father. The gorgeous region and the unique mountain plants with their unparalleled extracts and oils inspired us to develop a skincare line wherein local traditional knowledge from the Himalaya mountains and modern science, are brought together to strengthen one another.”
Isabel: “With my sensitive skin, I was convinced without a doubt to join this adventure. We asked Walter- who has been active for more than 30 years in de sector of biological plant extract - to assist us in the development of our products. However, I had never been to Nepal, Anke did. She used to live as a little baby with her parents in Nepal, back then when Walter was working there for the United Nations.
Thus 8 years ago we had decided to make a trip to Nepal, we were still working as lawyers when we started developing our first products. The purpose was to meet the teams who we were going to collaborate with in search of interesting plants for our products. The teams in Nepal gather, harvest and process the plants which we use in our formula’s, our Himalayan superfoods.
Looking back, the trip was ideal to test our relationship as business partners!
And now we are back in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. A lot of things have changed in the meantime. We are no longer working as lawyers but for the past 7 years we have been the founders of CÎME. Most of the time Walter goes to Nepal to check up on our projects. After all he is the one specialized in plants extracts, he knows the country very well and speaks the language. But this time we came here, together with our photographer and friend Nena from Studio Nunu to see what has changed since our last trip to Nepal.
Nepal is officially an undeveloped country. For many years the country has been politically unstable and has unwanted interferences from neighbouring countries India and China because of its natural resources, a lot of unemployed young forces are bound to leave to the Gulf states and Malaysia, accessibility of medicines and health care are often problematic, the electricity supply is unreliable, the roads are often extremely dangerous and recently Nepal has been affected by heavy earthquakes.
However, Nepal also has a beautifully amazing nature with tigers in the hills around Nepalgunj and the snow-capped mountaintops of the Mount-Everest-, a multi-ethnic population that lives peacefully together enriched with culture and tradition.
Even if the situation in Nepal is not easy and we are aware that our projects can only make the slightest difference, both of us have fallen in love with this country and its citizens. It warms our heart to meet the people for whom we have had the chance to make a positive difference throughout the years.