Zeze Oriaikhi-Sao pours her soul into her ‘natural science’ based fragrance and body care range, after all, the brand is named in honour of her great-grandmother, the name Malée denoting a ‘strong, learned woman’ in Bini, her native language. Zeze herself could be described as such, given her dedication to sourcing naturally active, protective African ingredients and fusing the latest skincare research with ancient rituals from her home continent. Working closely with local suppliers and tapping into her heritage, Zeze launched Malée on moving back to South Africa in 2009, frustrated at her own skin issues and out of a passion for African traditions, as well as a deeply rooted interest in beauty and fragrance.
The brand has since excelled in creating holistic, luxurious bath, body and fragrance lines, yet Zeze is still as hands-on as ever in terms of dreaming up formulas and bringing them to her loyal league of customers. Here’s some insight into how she makes it work...
Get The Gloss: Hit the snooze button or up-and-at-em?
Zeze: Snooze button. I am up late most nights catching up on all that I have missed in the day, while prepping for the next day.
GTG: What does your company do in under 10 words?
Z: We create indulgent and sensory fragrance and body care products
GTG: Best piece of work advice you ever had?
Z: Focus on strengths and find solutions to the weaknesses in your team.
GTG: Name three things you love doing in the working week.
Z: Concept and product creation, brainstorm sessions with the team and finding ways to work around niggling business issues.