The Africa Grace story
Founding director and the pioneer behind the Africa Grace range, Charlotte Jean, tells the story of the powerful gift of nature in her own life.
Charlotte was diagnosed with an untreatable illness in her mid 20’s – she was too young to face possible mortality. This became the greatest turning point in her life. Medicine seemed to have no answers for her. She turned desperately to herbal medicine and real foods and began a slow and painful journey to recovery that no one expected. “I ate things that many people would never consider. I found out that most of my favourite foods were actually destroying my body, rather than nourishing it.”
She had to face criticism, cynicism and all kinds of skeptics about her approach. She decided to do her own research and found out about how the body healed before modern medicine and the dangers of toxins in our food and environment.
“Developing organic skincare was a natural, gentle progression. I replaced all the manmade chemicals in my kitchen and my bathroom with pure, natural ingredients which had a huge impact on my health. Suddenly my friends and clients wanted to know my beauty secrets.”
“There were many obstacles. There always will be to your greatest passion and most significant calling. Some people said I could never make products without preservatives. Others said that the market was too cluttered. Somehow, I couldn’t accept this. I knew there was more hope, more faith for those who would just try.”
Charlotte had a daydream about a grandmother in her kitchen in a small village in South Africa, happily making creams in her ‘putu’ (maize meal) pot. “There was something too special in my dream to give up. I was sitting with friends one evening, filled with dreams and so many questions. I was floundering and looking for a way to capture my vision and turn it into an enterprise for good. A young girl walked past, and with childlike gravity, she said, “People need this. Just call it Grace.”
And so, GRACE was born. A year and a half later in December 2015, on World AIDS Day, AFRICA GRACE was registered as a Pty (Ltd). Grace means undeserved favour. To receive what we do not deserve and cannot earn. Nothing can make can surpass what we already have growing in our gardens, our grasslands, our forests or our oceans.
Slowly, over time Charlotte recovered. She wouldn’t give up! She spent a fortune on exotic berries, herbs and powders from all over the continent and tried every conceivable treatment within her reach. She began making her own organic soap – there were all sorts of wild experiments in her kitchen until she found the perfect recipes.
“After a year of intensive medical treatment, three years of nutritional therapy and significant lifestyle changes, I had become a new person, inside and out. One day, standing in my kitchen, which had now become my preferred office, there was a moment of truth. No doctor needed to tell me, I knew: I am well.
This is my second chance. The gift to begin again, whole and well.”
Charlotte left the stressful corporate race and studied clinical nutrition, exercise science, herbal skincare and practical herb making, with a passion to share what she learn’t with others. Her Africa Grace organic skincare range grew to include moisturisers, hand butters, body spritzers, natural deodorants, massage oils and more.
Today she stands as an inspiration in her belief that everything we need to be well can be found right there in nature, if we will but look.
We love Africa, we love our people and we believe natural skincare can change lives.