I don’t pamper myself often. Fact. The women out there who make the time to get manicured, pedicured and coiffed on a regular basis? Kudos to them. I prefer investing in my shoe collection, which in itself is a rare occurrence these days! However, it would be nice to have soft and supple feet at the very least, even if I’m not big on flashy decorative elements such as nail polish and toe rings etc.
Which is why I was willing to give the Immortelle Beauty Foot Rehab a try – primarily out of support for entrepreneur and brand owner Kathryn Nurse, but also because I loved the idea of a product developed and manufactured locally that targeted such an often-ignored body part. In short, Kathryn Nurse opened my mind to setting aside a little time for myself to be pampered, right in the comfort of my own home.
Although Immortelle Beauty officially launched its first product on June 9th 2011, the Foot Rehab formula has been in development for about two years now. After moving back to Trinidad from the States to officially start the business, Kathryn put significant thought into the product that she felt would launch the brand in the best light and garner the most attention, especially in a region of the world where sandals and slippers are a year-round footwear choice.
‘I felt like it was easier [for people] to place trust in a new brand with a foot care product… I mean, if we put this much time, energy and development into creating an elegant and luxurious product for feet, imagine what we could do for skincare?’
A very valid point, not to mention the endearing metaphor of building a business from the ground up, so why not start with the feet?
As I settle into Step 1 of 3 – the Detox Soothing Foot Soak – I can fully appreciate the efforts that the Immortelle team has taken to ensure that this product appeals to Caribbean women. The packaging is simple and elegant but eye-catching with bold panels of colour; the scents as I open first one, then the other two jars in the set, are heavenly without being overpowering – elements of Mango, Cocoa Butter, coconut oil and Jamaican Allspice all spell ‘Caribbean’. In her own words, the fragrance of the products is such that ‘you never get tired’ of it, and she’s right. It’s also refreshing to see a foot care product that doesn’t go for the usual peppermint.
So far, so good.
The first step requires that the feet be soaked in warm water containing the scented salt crystals ‘for at least ten minutes’. I soak mine for half an hour. It’s raining outside and I’m home alone, making this first experience of the Foot Rehab thoroughly relaxing. I’m somewhat disappointed when the water is no longer warm and my toes start to wrinkle, but that’s the price I pay for indulging.
Step 2 requires some manual labour on my part, but the Sugar Scrub feels so delicious as I rub it into the soles of my feet that I hardly mind. This step is all about exfoliation, good for wet or dry feet depending on the degree to which you wish to exfoliate. ‘Apply generously and massage into feet’ – my only problem with this is that I now wish that someone else were home, and I mentally kick myself for not taking advantage of the opportunity to have this done for me at the launch.
I take my time with Step 3 – the Foot Cream – mainly because after this, that’s it. I’m all pampered and ready to go! The cream has a wonderful velvety texture, and a gentle aroma that complements the steps before. It also has long term moisturizing benefits, which only makes it more delicious.
Kathryn has certainly made the most of her time abroad, where she gained experienced in a Cosmetic Chemistry lab that originally formulated well-known products like Proactiv. She learned how to develop creams, lotions, shampoos and sunscreens for four years, so those buying the Immortelle products can rest assured that she knows her stuff.
Like any business venture, finances have been a major factor in getting Immortelle Beauty up and running. Being a small business dealing with luxury products and raw materials, Kathryn admits it can be difficult to get good deals from ingredient and packaging suppliers. Hoping to maintain the quality of the product and still be able to produce locally as the brand grows is something that she is also thinking of.
‘I would love to manufacture exclusively in Trinidad or the greater Caribbean region forever, but it all depends on whether the producers can produce the desired product to the standard that I require.’
Expansion plans include a limited edition body care collection for Christmas 2011 – Holiday Decadence – followed by products for the face.
‘I feel like Caribbean people still don’t understand the importance of daily sun protection and I plan to make that the focus of my skincare line.’ As an advocate of protecting the skin from the sun’s harmful effects, I can fully appreciate this sentiment.
‘Everything is so busy it’s hard to stop and experience the little triumphs sometimes. But the highlight so far has been seeing Immortelle Beauty come into fruition from a little beaker in a laboratory to a 500lb batch. Seeing hundreds of little jars with our name on it was huge too… In 2011, I look forward to setting up my own little lab so that I can continue to experiment, as that’s one of my favourite parts of the process. For 2012, I’m excited about expansion and brand recognition within the industry.’
And finally, what speaks to Kathryn most about the Caribbean?
‘The people. Our personality and especially our sense of humour. We sell ourselves short a lot but we deserve to have the best… I would like to be one of the people who provide that.’
I can feel my feet soaking up the moisture as I work the cream into them, and suddenly, I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere today. My feet deserve a rest, so I think I’ll put them up and admire the hard work that Immortelle Beauty has done. Later on this evening, I’ll be calling the beautician who sees my feet perhaps twice a year to let her know that they won’t be needing her services anymore.
- Darcel de Vlugt, Editor-in-Chief -
Immortelle Beauty is available in Trinidad at The Gallery in Long Circular Mall and also online at the Immortelle Beauty website: