María Jimena de Cuadro is a young entrepreneur from Buenos Aires and one of the founders of Gen (Gene), a brand of natural cosmetics. Creams, serums, toners, lip balms and other articles are traditionally made at her home, just as many of our grandmothers used to do it. Organic and natural ingredients are used in the process, so the products are extremely nutritive for the skin.
“We propose to continue with the traditions that our mothers and grandmothers have taught us. To connect again with our roots and with the surrounding nature, taking the best from it,” is stated at their website. This is actually the basis of their brand philosophy, as María Jimena has explained in an interesting conversation she had with Welum.
What is Gen’s origin?
Gen emerged from a personal search through which I understood that there was another path, another way to relate beauty and body care. We consider September of 2015 as the moment it all started, as when this conscious path began.
On the other hand, I believe that to know something and not share it with others seems like a selfish act, especially when this knowledge can change your life and have impact on your health and well-being. Moreover, I was astonished by the fact that there wasn’t an organic and natural offer in our country at that moment.
Why choose the name “Gen” for your undertaking?
It came out of a search for terms that could encompass all the brand’s values. It derives from Genome, as something unique but that, at the same time, can be passed down from generation to generation. I feel that most of my knowledge comes from my ancestors, my mother and my grandmother; and it is something I want Gen to transmit: that ability of having knowledge and passing it on a product that gathers all these values I acquired.
What’s the philosophy behind your label?
At Gen we don’t think only in terms of the body’s health, but we’re convinced in using products that were created with materials of natural and organic origins. Besides, our articles have the added love and affection with which we produce them. So, we feel strongly that a product with all these features is fair to everybody. Furthermore, we don’t test our goods on animals because we love them so much.
How do you elaborate your articles?
Each of our products is home-made with my own hands. Since I don’t use any industrial ingredients, the production process is really similar to cooking and following recipes, respecting the way previous generations have made their preparations for personal consumption.
How do you come up with ideas to mix certain ingredients in one product?
I have taken several courses on natural cosmetics which gave me a knowledge basis to carry out each preparation. In addition to this, when it comes to combining ingredients, I complete an exhaustive study of each one, researching its properties and the benefits it can offer as raw material.
How do you develop your product lines, adding new items to them?
Gen has lines for several types of skin, which are made up of basic products for its care. All of them have been thought and formulated after months of work and investigation. When the time comes to choose new articles to be included, I rely on the needs and take the suggestions from our regular clients into account; and also, I pay attention to global cosmetics trends.
Which are the benefits of using natural and organic ingredients?
Skin is the largest organ of our body, and in our view, we must feed it and take care of it the same way we do with other body parts. Using natural and organic materials allows our products to display the benefits of each ingredient at its maximum capacity, without the need of having them being diluted, exposed to high temperatures or chemical processes to modify their properties. As a result, each Gen article contains the best nature can offer, simply by understanding the ingredients and respecting the environment.
There aren’t many natural cosmetics brands locally… do you believe that Argentine women are open-minded to test these type of products?
Generally, I notice that there is a great level of lack of awareness when it comes to the components of body-care products. Apart from that, most of our clients are twenty or thirty years old, so I think there is a generational issue related to the understanding and involvement in our philosophy. Anyway, many people show interest in what Gen has to offer, getting involved and learning about the why and how of what we do, through communication and direct contact.
What would you say to someone reluctant to disregard industrialised products and adopt Gen?
It is not our intention to generate indoctrination nor a debate around the dichotomy “organic and natural vs. industrialised products”, but we seek to offer an alternative formulated from a sociocultural and ecological background. I’m always open to talking about Gen’s philosophy with more reluctant people, just with the aim of getting them to know more and broaden their persperctive on this segment.
What difficulties do you find on your way?
The main difficulty that I find at this moment is the lack of regulations applied to organic products that aren’t for alimentary consumption. I haven’t found any support directed to small entrepreneurs of this industry in Argentina.
What does 2017 have in store for Gen?
Following what gave birth to Gen, one of our next goals is to offer natural cosmetics workshops in order to keep sharing what nourishes and inspires me day to day. Furthermore, another objective is to prepare our showroom, as a place where we will be able to give advice and offer a more personalised attention to our clients.