Alumni Update: Daria Kaboli (Legatum Fellow ‘11-‘12)

Legatum Fellow Daria Kaboli is stretching the expectations of responsibility and sustainability in the cosmetics industry. Her company, Jamela, sells a 3 in 1 facial moisturizer, made with Moroccan Argan oil, that softens and hydrates the skin, brightens complexions and reduces fine lines and wrinkles. Jamela prides itself on being more than just a fair trade luxury cosmetics company. Jamela not only ensures that Moroccan producers of Argan oil receive a fair return, but a very tangible sustainable one.

Argan is sometimes referred to as “liquid gold” for its seemingly miraculous properties, but it also carries some of the controversy of that sought after mineral. The Moroccan/Algerian border is the only region where the Argan tree grows, and while its scarcity means it can fetch a high price in the luxury cosmetics world, much of that money never reaches the source. Even competing Argan oil brands that are labeled fair trade leave less than 3% of total revenues in Morocco. Jamela returns 19% of their revenue to Morocco and profits are reinvested into production, creating a system which could leave a total of 75% of sales revenue in the country, over the next five years. 

Daria (r) with a Jamela display at the Corbu spa

Recently, Daria took 2nd place at the Harvard Social Enterprise Conference’s Pitch for Change for Jamela, which means ‘beautiful’ in Arabic. Currently, Jamela is being used at Cambridge’s own Charles Hotels Corbu spa and Daria is actively seeking out other spa and retail locations in the Boston and Washington, DC areas. 

We wish her all the best on this venture that balances a clear and robust business model with a responsibility to the community that makes it possible.