‘Adaptability is one of our key survival mechanisms’: Shabnam Farook

February 7, 2023

“We try to introduce conscious consumerism, but in a very indirect way, to share the understanding that our choices can make a difference,” says Shabnam Farook, Founder of Nue Body Basics.

Nue Body Basics is a small business that focuses on small batches of handmade, affordable, and natural skincare products that are sustainable and also ethical. In an interview with the SLYCAN team, Shabnam highlighted the recyclability of her business, explaining how she uses glass containers to store her products. She also spoke about introducing conscious consumerism to her customers and how they reacted.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

Could you give us an introduction to what you do and why?

My name is Shabnam Farook, I am the Founder of Nue Body Basics. I was a freelance journalist for most of my life. I started by creating a deodorant because I had issues with sensitive skin and the personal skin care products I was using. It was a journey of experimenting and creating a product that turned into an actual business.

What makes your entrepreneurship ethical, sustainable, and/or climate friendly?

From the beginning, I wanted this business to be sustainable. When we sourced packaging, I was always looking for either paper or glass, so I always knew that there was an aspect of recyclability or reusability to it. We try to introduce this aspect of conscious consumerism, but in a very indirect way, so that people understand that their choices make a difference and so that we can ensure that resources are not wasted in every aspect.

You are saying there are certain aspects that are climate-friendly, such as the upcycling and recycling. Do you communicate this to your audience or your customer base?

Yes, definitely, because I feel like it connects to our whole ethos and philosophy.From the beginning, even with our deliveries, we were constantly thinking consciously about how to save resources and try to plan our routes if we’re delivering. With our labelling, we try to keep it minimal and we also ensure that we don’t use strong fragrance oils or any other ingredients that cause harm to our waterways and oceans, so every aspect is about this conscious product. The product is much more about quality than about how it looks.

What kind of help and support do you think programmes like EthicalX need to provide to entrepreneurs?

I think something that would help lots of other small natural businesses is a community support system. There are times that the quality of local products does not meet the sustainable and ethical practices we adhere to. EthicalX can help can  reach out within our Lankan communities and try to form stronger links. I believe that it enables connections and creating of strong communities, where we can source from them as well.

Any final words of advice to anyone who wants to embark on a journey of entrepreneurship like you did?

Don’t give up! One thing we’ve learned throughout the years since we started, having dealt with COVID lockdowns and so many other obstacles, is that adaptability is one of our key survival mechanisms. There are times when we haven’t found something we constantly use, even basic ingredients. Adaptability has helped us become robust as a small business. Also, I think having passion and being passionate is very important.

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About the Author

SLYCAN Trust is a non-profit think tank. It has been a registered legal entity in the form of a trust since 2016, and a guarantee limited company since 2019. The entities focus on the thematic areas of climate change, adaptation and resilience, sustainable development, environmental conservation and restoration, social justice, and animal welfare. SLYCAN Trust’s activities include legal and policy research, education and awareness creation, capacity building and training, and implementation of ground level action. SLYCAN Trust aims to facilitate and contribute to multi-stakeholder driven, inclusive and participatory actions for a sustainable and resilient future for all.