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An Email Exchange with Zeze Oriaikhi-Sao, founder of conscious beauty brand Malée

January 6th 2016 / Anna Hunter / 0 comment


What does the working week have in store for the creator of an organic, sustainable, South African beauty brand? We shot some questions over to one such beauty boss to find out

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.


GTG: What are the 3 things you do every day before breakfast?

Z: Check my emails, check my diary and to do's for the day and have a catch up with my husband on what we both did the day before, plus run through our day ahead.

GTG: What do you love about your job?

Z: Everything! I am really lucky to be in a position where my job is executing my vision.

GTG: What’s cooking for work lunch?

Z: If I don't have a lunch meeting then it’s something quick that can be eaten at my desk while I review business activities.

GTG: How do you stay organised?

Z: I'm obsessed with productivity tools and to do lists. I have a terrible short term memory so if I have a thought or an idea, it needs to written down immediately, preferably somewhere I can find it easily or else it's a few days before it comes back to me.

GTG: Describe your working style in 3 words?

Z: Quick, efficient and collaborative

GTG: Typical work attire?

Z: Something comfortable’ it's always a long day. Brogues, boyfriend trousers, a cosy jumper or a shirt with a blazer are go-to’s. If I have meetings then I am usually in a dress.

GTG: Heels or flats, and why?

Z: Flats, I enjoy walking. It helps me think and recalibrate before I get to my destination.

GTG: Worst job you ever had?

Z: A summer job cold calling and selling office supplies to businesses. It lasted half a day.

GTG: Notepad or iNotes?

Z: Both, I need all the help I can get.

GTG: Yoga, Pilates or HIIT and why?

Z: HIIT. There is no time for my mind to wander off when my body is screaming for help.


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