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From Syrian Heritage to Global Skincare Sensation: A Conversation with Reem, Founder of Nomad Skin

Discover the inspiring journey of Reem, founder of Nomad Skin, as she combines her Syrian-Australian heritage with a passion for natural ingredients to create a revolutionary skincare brand

Welcome to an exclusive interview with Reem, the brilliant founder behind the revolutionary skincare brand, Nomad Skin. With a captivating blend of Syrian and Australian influences, Reem has crafted a brand that seamlessly merges the power of natural ingredients with a deep understanding of skincare.

Join us as we dive into the world of Nomad Skin and learn about Reem’s vision for the brand’s future, her personal style, and the valuable advice she offers to aspiring beauty brand owners.

This is an interview you won’t want to miss, as Reem shares her passion, wisdom, and the driving force behind the extraordinary success of Nomad Skin.

Tell us about the journey that led you to launch your brand, Nomad Skin.

I grew up in a Syrian-Australian household, and Syrians have a strong affinity for natural and alternative remedies. This upbringing instilled in me a deep interest in natural ingredients and their potential to improve our health. From a young age, I observed the women around me applying rose water to their faces while discussing skincare routines. Even then, I recognised the importance of taking care of one’s skin. Inspired by this, I often experimented with different ingredients, using my mother’s pantry as a source of inspiration to create my own face masks.

Driven by my passion, I pursued the study of formulation science, and my first job was as a sales assistant at a high-end skincare retailer. There, I delved into the ingredient lists of the products we sold and found a scarcity of natural products that met my high expectations. Many products focused on a single hero ingredient, which might be beneficial for moisturising but proved ineffective when washed off in a cleanser. They were often heavily scented and overhyped. In my daydreams, I envisioned creating my own line of natural skincare products that would pass my rigorous “ingredient test” and deliver real results.

Of course, being an Aussie, my adventurous spirit led me to travel. During a transformative trip to the Middle East, I discovered the wealth of knowledge that other cultures held, particularly regarding the use of natural ingredients. This experience sparked the idea for Nomad.

How do you want people to feel when they use your skincare?

In a word… free. Achieving healthy skin brings a sense of liberation. It’s about trusting that when you wake up and look in the mirror, you’ll be pleased with your reflection. This confidence is what I aim to inspire. At Nomad, we believe in providing “skin you can take anywhere.”

Your Syrian roots have greatly influenced your brand. Can you elaborate on this?

Certainly. It’s challenging to capture in words, but I’ll do my best to convey it…

Syrians, including my parents and their friends, possess a beautifully balanced approach to life and wellness. Their philosophy revolves around sharing, whether it’s food, drinks, stories, or remedies. They relish gatherings, singing, dancing, and fully embracing each moment. They firmly believe that you are what you eat, so they always strive to eat well. They also prioritise enjoying life and want everyone to eat well and have a good time.

Rather than saying “cheers,” they say “Saha,” which literally translates to “health.” Their spirit of generosity knows no bounds or prerequisites. Anyone can join in.

When it comes to remedies, they prioritise natural solutions. My father, for instance, famously used honey to cure his tinea. He would apply honey to his feet, wear cotton socks, and go to sleep. After repeating this process for a week, the tinea would disappear. Garlic found its way into every meal and was applied topically for stings or styes. Yerba Mate, a highly antioxidant green tea adopted from Argentinian traditions, is consumed throughout the day to promote and maintain health. Occasionally, other herbs like chamomile or mint are added to address specific ailments such as sleeplessness or indigestion.

It is this belief in the power of nature and their open-hearted spirit that both inspired Nomad and that I strive for Nomad to embody.

How would you describe your personal style?

I’m a minimalist at heart, valuing quality over quantity. My style is eclectic because quality comes in various shapes, forms, and colours. Feeling comfortable is crucial, as nothing looks good on you if you don’t feel good in your own skin. Skincare plays a significant role in fostering this comfort. Confidence is another important aspect of personal style. Having the confidence to try new things is easier when you’re comfortable in your own skin. I enjoy adding a touch of edge and spice to my style, so perhaps we can coin a term like “Spicy Australian” to capture it all. Haha!

What advice do you have for beauty brand owners struggling to get started?

I have three pieces of advice:

  1. Let passion drive you: If you don’t genuinely believe in your products, it’s difficult to expect others to.
  2. Persistence is key: The beauty market is highly competitive and dynamic. It takes time to gain awareness, consideration, and sales. Remember that customers typically replenish their skincare every three months, so persistence is crucial.
  3. Action over perfection: As a self-professed perfectionist, I admit that I struggle with this myself. You are often your harshest critic, which can hold you back more than getting every detail right propels you forward.

Looking back since launching the company, is there anything you would do differently?

Honestly, there are so many things I would do differently. I’ve learned countless lessons along the way. As I’m currently self-funded, my most significant lesson is that an amazing product and brand can only take you halfway. It’s essential to save enough for marketing.

Our readers love to travel. What destination is at the top of your bucket list?

My bucket list is extensive, and there’s no particular hierarchy (after all, we’re called Nomad for a reason). However, if I had to choose one destination that is currently resonating with me, it would be the Dominican Republic. I’m drawn to cultures that have experienced multiple historical influences, and that region is rich in that sense. Plus, I’m currently in chilly Melbourne, so I’m yearning for that Caribbean sunshine and the irresistible waters.

What does self-care mean to you?

Self-care, to me, is about listening to your body and respecting its needs, both physically and mentally. Sometimes it involves enjoying a well-crafted Negroni with friends, while other times it’s about sipping ginger tea and applying a face mask. It can mean allowing yourself to sleep in or embarking on an early morning run. Ultimately, self-care is about finding balance and meeting your body’s unique requirements.

Where do you see the brand in 5 years from now?

In five years, I envision Nomad having a more extensive range of products. I’m particularly excited about our everyday essentials and the new products we’re preparing to launch. We are actively working on expanding our global availability, and I hope to see our brand on the shelves of my favourite retailers and in the bathrooms and travel bags of more Nomads worldwide.

Where can people find out more about your brand?

To learn more about Nomad Skin, I recommend visiting our website at www.nomadskin.com.au. You can also find us on Instagram (@nomadskin_) for regular updates. We love answering customer questions, so feel free to reach out to us through the ‘contact us’ page on our website (https://www.nomadskin.com.au/contact-us).