Back to Baobabs

Nature can make you feel a bit insignificant at times!
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Its amazing how fear can set in after a few negative press reports. Having begun the journey slightly apprehensive I am glad to report that getting off the plane in Mombasa felt fine despite the recent news of several murders of local police by an extreme separatist group . The traffic as usual felt fairly chaotic but I did not feel unsafe. Kenyans are by nature friendly and peaceful and the violence of previous elections had shocked the local population as much as anyone. The British press seemed unwilling to acknowledge that these elections across Kenya were actually incredibly peaceful despite long frustrating waits for voters at the polling stations.

So K and I were, as it turned out, happy to be back in the heat heading up the coast to Kilifi to reconnect with http://www.wildliving.com/page/ and the mighty Baobab. Business was on our minds but it has to be admitted there were a few plans for walking on the beach, sleeping by the pool and visiting the Turtle Rescue Centre in Watamu (thanks Gladys for letting us help out on a turtle release!)

Anthony, Moses and Sammy at Wild Living were fantastic in helping us to meet up with their top Baobab harvester Changawa. Once we’d worked out how to transport his Baobab catching pole in the car we were away. A lesson in how the oil from the Baobab finds its way into Wild Sensual Body Butter was to follow.

We just had to carry it outside the car in the end!

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Changawa catches hold of the Baobabs and they come crashing down to the ground.

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Then they are chopped and pulled apart and the seeds are embedded in the dry powdery ‘flesh’ of the fruit.

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And here are the seeds all collected ready to be sent to the processor
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A final photo of Changawa – a natural showman!

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Is Frankincense Doomed?

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Fairly recently there was a somewhat alarming news story about how the world was running out of Frankincense and I worried I was adding to the problem by using it in my products. Frankincense, as well as smelling wonderful, has amazing cell regenerating qualities which make it the perfect for skin rejuvenation. Thankfully, further investigation put my mind at rest!

Frankincense is of course obtained by cutting the bark of the Boswellia tree and collecting the wonderfully aromatic ‘tears’ of resin that this process creates. As we all know, it has been prized for thousands of years and so, when reports started coming in that there were no new trees growing to replace the older, dying ones, the world started to sit up and take note.

An extensive study began and it soon became clear that actually it was more likely to be burning, grazing or attack by the nasty sounding long-horn beetle that was responsible for the declining number of Boswellia trees.

So even though it is, I guess, ultimately Man’s responsibility as demand for land increases, at least it is not the cosmetics industry that is particularly to blame!

In fact it is more likely that the continuing demand for Frankincense for its smell and therapeutic value might just save it. The high prices that Frankincense can command means there have been calls for land to be set aside just to give the trees a chance to regenerate.

So phew! let us rejoice! All those incense burners and Wild Baobab cream with Frankincense can continue do to do their important work.

High church/rejuvenated skin

Baobab butter single2

Trade show virgin no longer.

Well we did it, 2  days at Olympia, which took me 3 days to recover from!

It was sort of fun I think.

When K and I drove into the unloading car park hanger type thing on the  day before the show we had a similar feeling to when we picked up the oils from Heathrow Goods terminal. Sort of …. oooh look at us, playing with the grown ups with their big white vans with logos and everything.

Then, when we carried in our stuff to get the stand ready, K was momentarily distracted by the large numbers of lovely ladies wandering around setting up things. I managed, you’ll be pleased to know, to get him back on task by shoving some sticky velcro in his hand and after arranging our lovely fabrics, hanging and sticking our photo boards and stacking our products we headed home for an early night.

The next 2 days with the help of Rachel and Sarah we talked to a lot of people and introduced ourselves to the world of natural products. I have to say that everyone was super friendly. Natural products seem to attract nice people, which is nice!

Because our stand was so tiny we all took breaks to wander round the show to see what sort of other goodies were on offer. K struck up various friendships with some food companies on his wanders and managed to get himself fed by Aimee’s Kitchens and the Sicilian Meat Company throughout the 2 days. This was a big help to the budget, as you can imagine.

The reaction to WILD Body Butters, Soaps and our new range of Facial Oils that we were launching was fantastic. It’s nice to know that your instincts are correct. So many people loved the packaging, the colour,the concept and of course the products.

Interestingly Baobab was a feature of two other exhibitors who were extolling the virtues of the fruit as a “superfood”. This can only help in my campaign to get Baobab up there competing with Argan Oil as it should be.

We will win on this and with all the other unique African oils we are using, I am sure!

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