Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 21st 2014 Contents December 21, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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I want people to appreciate
By Roslyn Carrington
Photos by Elise Romany Photography
Makeup by Tracey Lennard
"THE IMMORTELLE TREE was planted on cocoa planta-
tions to shade cocoa from the sun," says Kathryn Nurse,
founder and CEO of Immortelle Beauty Limited. "I think
that's an interesting metaphor for Caribbean women.
We're such nurturers and caretakers, sometimes at our
own sacrifice. It's almost like I'm giving back to Caribbean
women, to pamper them and make them feel beautiful,
because of all the work we do for other people."
Nurse has a background in cosmetics development, but
didn't feel she was reaching her full potential working for
others, or receiving her just recompense. "I was working in
a lab in the US, which made beauty products for other in-
ternational companies. We did all the hard work, and the
companies we developed products for went on to make a
billion dollars. I didn't like that business model; it didn't
make sense to me." So she returned to Trinidad, and, de-
spite the fact that established local luxury brands are rare
in T&T, she decided to create her own brand.
Nurse has a degree in biology from George Washington
University in Washington, D.C., with extensive lab experi-
ence. She also obtained a Master's degree in Luxury Brand
Management from IFA in Paris, the fashion School for De-
sign and Business.
The experience was life-defining, with stints in Shanghai,
China, and Florence, Italy. Although she never had the
chance to learn any of those native languages, as her les-
sons were taught in English, there was nonetheless a
great deal of cultural exchange. "I was the only person
from Trinidad there, so there was a lot of explaining and
looking at maps." With her classmates being mostly from
China and Europe, and many of them younger than her,
she certainly stood out, but she didn't mind. "I don't mind
being different; I don't want to be like everybody else."
She also had experiences there that most women can only
dream of. "I got to visit Louis Vuitton's headquarters. I went
to the opening of fashion photographer, Mario Testino's
show in China. Just having all those experiences was an
Her father, whose background is in Finance and Banking,
is her business partner, and apart from his own invest-
ment, she also obtained funding from a bank.
"I tried to formulate Immortelle products for Caribbean
women, our culture and lifestyle. It's very sheer, very light,
because in this heat you don't want anything too cloying
or too heavy. I wanted scents that would be familiar to
Caribbean women. I use a lot of mango butter and avocado
oils; things people can easily relate to."
She aims to make her brand truly Caribbean. "I want peo-
ple to appreciate what we have here. I'm very involved in
local fashion, and I have a blog. All these things are created
to push local beauty, not just in the sense of cosmetics,
but in the sense that Trinidad is a beautiful place, and we
forget it very easily."
The Immortelle line includes a range of pedicure products,
which were her first offerings, and a skin care line called
Esscentials, which features shower gel, lotion and mois-
turising spray oil. Her scents, too, are familiar to us as West
Indians, without being too clichéd. They include citron +
granadilla (passion fruit); jasmine + evergreen; tea + thyme;
and agave + hibiscus. "They remind you of home," she says.
Her ultimate goal is to start a line of spas in which her
products are used exclusively. While her products are man-
ufactured locally, she still looks elsewhere for packaging,
but she is working to have more done regionally. She does-
n't see herself staying in Trinidad forever, though, as she
loves to travel, but plans to manage her brand from wher-
ever she happens to be. She'd also like to see her items
placed in Caribbean hotel bathrooms as courtesy toiletries.
Her products are available locally in The Gallery in Long Cir-
cular Mall, in Blue Basin at the Cruise Ship Complex, and
The Shop in the Normandie Hotel. She's also a regular fea-
ture at local markets such as UpMarket.
Nurse's products are beautifully packaged, smell wonder-
ful, and are like silk to the skin, and yet her pricing is acces-
sible. She acknowledges that establishing an affordable
luxury brand in T&T has its challenges, but nonetheless in-
tends to be successful in that niche because of her quality
and her look. "If you could provide something that feels like
it is more expensive than it is, you win!"
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