Hi Eriona, can you please tell us a bit about you and your background?
I am Eriona Xhaferaj from Albania. I am born in a coastal city, in Vlora, a wonderful place with stunning natural sights which made me fall in love with Nature since childhood. It is very interesting that even when I was a child, all the time, I wanted to invent new things and when I was 6 years old I tried very hard to formulate a Nail Polish by using homemade products.
Graduating in Pharmacy made me keen on “the Remedy World”. Science strongly convinced me that nature hides many secrets on our wellness. I used to meditate a lot and I was totally convinced that some illnesses have their cure in some specific nature components. Yet, I didn’t have a laboratory to test them.
My second scientific Italian Master Thesis on the “Side effects of Xenoestrogens in Hair Cosmetic Products” determinately guided me towards Natural Solutions. I decided to prepare 100% natural cosmetic products, which in turn led me to an unexpected amazing future.
Where are you based and what do you?
“Secrets of Nature” is a registered trademark. Our business offers different natural products for our clients. The most important products are “0% synthetic chemicals” handmade cosmetics and seed oils. Moreover, the portfolio comprises other products such as hydrosols, essential oils, hennas for hairs, teas, handmade raw apple vinegar etc.
The decision to use the “0 chemicals” slogan in my formulation came because the term “Natural” unfortunately is highly abused from different brands in our country. At ‘The Secrets of Nature’ the seed oils are produced by the highest standard: ISO 22000, they are cold pressed and 100% pure, and lastly certified by GMP. Their exclusivity for our country makes me really proud of the quality we managed to deliver for the Albanian market.
Where did you get the inspiration for your brand?
On one hand the master thesis made me understand the high importance of getting rid of synthetic chemicals. On the other hand, since I am an idealist, it was difficult for me to recognize the finish line of a giant initiative. It was one of my cousins who helped me overcome the fear and made me believe in myself. She told me that she knew my character and education and that she was pretty sure I could formulate wonderful natural products.
Her words made me revise everything I had studied during the university, in order to understand why synthetic cosmetics challenged the natural ones. I started to learn and research how to surpass this exact problem. After different experiments I managed to succeed and I felt like flying in the 7th sky from happiness. The first thought that came to my mind was: Wow, nature is full of secrets. We have to unearth them. So I decided to name my brand Sekretet e Natyres: “Secrets of Nature”.
What type of skin care products do you sell at Sekretet e Natyres and which one is your favourite?
Up to now I have formulated different creams for the face, under eye area, hair and breads, hands; different masks for hair and face, scrubs, lip balms, healing creams for wounds, soaps, anti-fungi elixir, nipple cream, deodorant etc.. It is difficult for me to define a favorite.
When I decide to formulate a new products I pay attention to every detail, from the quality of the ingredients, their combination till the packaging and its design. I prepare products with great love and attention as if they were “new born babies”. Despite of this I may mention some which relate to special moments.
1. Nipple cream: I used to suffer a lot during breastfeeding with my first and second daughter. So, when the third miracle came to life I had already formulated and used nipple cream and I forget about the terrible nipple aches.
2. Miracle Hair Mask prepared with spinal cow marrow. It is a wonderful old recipe from an alternative doctor. I worked a lot for this formula because its shelf life was only a couple of days. It works in the scalp for bringing new hair and its mechanism of action is similar to then land feeding the seedlings.
3. Snail Cream: Extracting Snail slime was a special feeling I hadn’t had any experience with the plant world. I feed them, took care of and held them in my hands. They are so nice and in my eyes, they are a crucial part of my working staff. They are so cute and I really feel so satisfied to extract their slime by myself because in the market the snail slime is as liquid as water, but in fact their slime is completely different and of course the effect of the cream is fantastic.
4. Deodorant: this is one of formulas that has challenged me a lot to conclude. The most important achievement was the avoidance of some natural ingredients that are widely discussed about. That tiredness in fact made me fall in love with this product which is totally effective and far away from any synthetic compound.
Which courses did you take with Formula Botanica and how do you use this information in your business?
Getting in contact with Formula Botanica was one of the most important events in my “Natural Journey”. Firstly I didn’t feel alone anymore and it was fantastic to be part of a group of thousand students from all around the world sharing the same goals.
Secondly, I learned a lot of things. Furthermore I have the option of consulting a professional team about different issues related to my my formulations. I completed an Advanced Diploma in Organic Cosmetic Science and now I am enrolling into Certificate in Organic Anti-Ageing Skincare and of course I do not plan for these to be my last.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
Our business motto is: “Secrets of Nature, your health caressed by nature’’ Our team is specialised in offering different advises for a natural well-being and we really enjoy this since it offers a healthier life for everyone. Our commitment is to have quality and not quantity products and to sell them when they are needed. We call this “fair play” and we believe this is essential in our job.
It is my firm relief that it is better to have 1000 regular clients, rather than 1 million buyers that never turn back to our products. Thus, I try to do my best from the formulation of a new product until it reaches the client’s hand.
What was the hardest thing about launching your own skincare range?
In our country, there are a huge number of cosmetic brands and many of them are lobbying for natural cosmetics, but natural ingredients are only a small part of ingredient labelling. Initially, it was difficult to be perceived as a company that operates ONLY with natural ingredients. However, our hard work and positive reviews made customers understand that we are totally different from the others.
Now, we are very glad to hear from our clients that they come to our shop because they strongly believe that here everything is natural and finest quality.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to aspiring skincare entrepreneurs who want to follow in your footsteps?
Being a natural skincare entrepreneurs is not easy if you are not strongly convinced that nature is the most important thing in our mind, soul and health. This key belief is important to resist every challenge in the journey. If aspiring individuals have this and are capable of playing by the rules, then they can go ahead and learn the treasures of nature.