I am not a cynic but it’s not every day that I meet someone who floors me with their story. Grace Culhaci is a British born entrepreneur who lives in Australia & who I met her during Organic Beauty Week in September, as she came to London to introduce her natural skincare brand to the British public, press and retailers.
But I am running ahead of myself, let’s start from the beginning. Grace was actually born in London’s Chelsea and her family moved to Canada when she was five. Now Grace calls Australia home, as that’s where she started her own family and where her business was founded.
Grace’s career path started like it does for many people – she left school, went to college, worked as secretary, as well as a missionary, as she very much enjoyed the opportunity to help people. Grace also went to night-school, as she loved the process of learning, followed by University to study law. Along the way a special man came along and Grace started a family, happily looking into the future.
Women who go through pregnancy know that while this state of being is magical, with it come worries, aches and pains and no two pregnancies are alike. In Grace’s case things far from straightforward but they tested her health and her determination ( during the first one she developed a rare skin condition, that led to a rash that covered her body and was almost unbearable. During the second one Grace was diagnosed with an inoperable tumour that was pressing on her optic nerve ).
As life would have it, Grace and her husband have two wonderful girls, who mean the world to Grace. So much so that she actually looked and found a family home that was also close to the industrial estate, from which her business is run. It allows her to combine her love and joy for raising her family and being a hands on mum with the excitement and drive with which she runs her skincare brand Zk’in.
Zk’in is a range of 12 self-select products that will address your skin concerns at every stage of your life, allowing you to follow a path of ageless beauty. As you can imagine, Grace chooses certified organic ingredients with potency and purity and her formulas have a natural preservative system ( a synergistic blend of bitter orange, radish root, vitamin E, essential oil isolates and basil extract), which in actual fact earned Grace and her company a research and development grant from the Australian government for contributing new knowledge to Australian Science.
What drives Grace is her desire ‘to develop a range that negated the need for needles, toxins and synthetics but was also result based’. Consumers have become disillusioned with over-exaggerated claims and imagery, whilst also becoming more ingredient savvy. Central to the ethos of Zk’in, Grace told me, is ‘honest beauty. For us it means a zero tolerance policy to unnatural ingredients, unsustainable business practises, animal cruelty and unrealistic photoshopping’, so simply said ‘Z’ in ‘Zk’in’ is connected to the brand’s ‘zero’ tolerance policy to anything less than the best.
It was also one of the reasons why Grace chose Tanya Linney to be the face of Zk’in- a mother, a model and a professional artist who is not a teen or in her early 20s but an actual woman in her late 30s, to whom other women would be able to relate more realistically.
Following her health goes, Grace went through an emotional stage, looking for answers and feeling anger & rage. She was losing faith in doctors who couldn’t find solutions, so she went to the beginning, to the drawing board. Grace re-evaluated her diet, decided that she needed a holistic approach and started mixing ingredients. Formulating took about nine months and alongside it Grace formulated her philosophy, creating an organic skincare with a clinical feel.
Another ‘calling card of Zk’in is its unique packaging. Australia is a very multicultural society and alongside the beauty and variety of nature creativity flows with ease. Grace managed to create the packaging that is not only very pleasing on the eye but is environmentally friendly and recyclable as well.
Zk’in in not gimmicky and is affordably priced and alongside it runs the positive legacy of the people, like suppliers who work with the brand. Good health is a gift and Grace is adamant that people who smoke and then run to buy a supplement to counter-act the effect of smoking are definitely not Zk’in potential customers.
The range is divided into products for:
–Normal to Dry skin ( Softening Cream Cleanser; Hydrating Mist; Rejuvenating Moisturiser);
– Oily or Combination skin ( Purifying Cleansing Gel, Clear Skin Toner, Rebalancing Lotion );
– Sensitive Skin ( Calming Cream Cleanser, Hydrating Mist, Relief Moisturiser )
– Treatments Range ( Clarifying Exfoliator, Line Smoothing Serum, Soothing Hand Cream, Brightening & Hydrating Mask ).
When looking at the product ingredient list you will come across some that are familiar to you already, like Colloidal Oatmeal or Cotton Thistle Extract, while others, like EPS Seamant ( derived from plant-based marine bio-technology that helps to create a matt effect ), Quillaja Bark ( helps to reduce skin shine and acne lesions ), Paracress Extract (temporarily blocks muscular contractions that make expressions lines more prominent ) might be new to you.
What strikes me about Grace is that instead of complaining or feeling bitter when she was unwell, she chose to find the energy, courage and kindness to create something that can benefit others while encouraging her own inner creative streak and balancing it with hand-on motherhood, which is the best but equally the most challenging job in the world. She is thoughtful & reflective, as well as creative, inventive and is a wonderful role model for modern women, as well as younger generation of women entrepreneurs.
I plan to review some of Zk’in products soon but in the meantime I hope that Grace’s past health misfortunes and her inspiring story behind Zk’in will make you think about your own health. There is a Russian proverb the jest of which is something along the lines of ‘What we have we don’t value, but we cry when we lose it’. I hope we all reflect and make some subtle changes to our lifestyle choices, no matter how small to start with, rather than end up crying. Namaste!
Zk’in is available to purchase in the UK from LoveLula.com or Xynergy.co.uk