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How we pioneered organic and sustainable fair trade skincare

by Isabel Coppens |

We are Anke and Isabel, BFFs and the proud founders of CÎME. Already during our law studies, we fantasized about starting our own business. We made a pact that if one of us would take the step, we would do it together anyway. Even after a few years of our careers as lawyers, the 'bikini pact' remained.  Fast forward to 2022: our organic, sustainable and fair trade skincare label CÎME celebrates its 10th anniversary. Our dream? As a small brand, we hope that organic skincare becomes mainstream. We want to be the driving force behind change in the beauty sector and continue to pioneer in order to make the world a bit more honestly beautiful. And the more we grow, the more impact we have in Nepal. Discover here the story and the philosophy behind CÎME. 

The journey that changed our lives 

When we had been working as lawyers for a couple of years, Anke came back from a trip to the Himalayas that would change the lives of both of us. This magnificent region and its myriad of high altitude plants delivering powerful and highly efficient plant extracts and oils, inspired us to create a range of skincare products, marrying the local traditional knowledge with modern science. Anke: "I went trekking through the Himalayas with my dad, where I told him that my big dream was to start my own business. For Walter, my dad, it was not the first time he had been to Nepal. He set up a project in the Himalayas together with the United Nations around medicinal plants growing in Nepal. During this trekking he also started to itch again and so the first seeds were planted around CÎME."

Back in Belgium, we analyzed these Himalayan plants in a lab. It turned out that those mountain plants contain very interesting superfoods for the skin, because they can survive at high altitudes, withstand bright sunlight, temperature fluctuations and little oxygen. So the idea was born to create a skin care line on the basis of superfoods from the Himalayas. 

Isabel: "I was also immediately enthusiastic and together we developed the idea further. It had to be more than just a cream, it had to be a product with a story. Two years later, when our first range of products was ready, we quit our jobs as lawyers and embarked on this adventure."

Our philosophy 

As from the creation of our brand, our philosophy and values were the cornerstone of CÎME. We wanted our products to be "honestly beautiful". We translate this into 5 main values.  

First of all, we want our products to be healthy, so they do not contain any hormone-disrupting substances or sulfates. Furthermore, with CÎME we promise a healthy, radiant skin, we do not promise perfect skin.

The second pillar is organic, all our products are certified organic. This makes us very transparent and guarantees you as a CÎME customer that what we say about our ingredients is actually true. Even 10 years ago, when "organic" was not yet trendy, we were the first Belgian brand with an organic label. Because we are convinced that organic is better for your skin. We want to make organic products attractive and accessible to a wide audience.

Our third value is sustainability. One of the ways we do this is by using Ocean Waste Plastic packaging. For each Ocean Waste Plastic packaging, the equivalent of 4 plastic bags is removed from our oceans and rivers. We also have a refill system where you can refill our shampoo and shower gel in your favorite store. Furthermore, every year we calculate our CO2 emissions and compensate them amply by helping plant trees in the foothills of the Himalayas, together with WeForest. Recently, we have also started planting a soapnut forest in Nepal which we hope to harvest within 10 years and use for our Nuts About You line.

Fair trade and women empowerment are the fourth and fifth pillars. We cooperate as much as possible with local entrepreneurs in the Himalayas. For example, our local Nepalese partners collect the soap nuts for our Nuts About You line and process them there. We could also process the shells of the soap nuts here in Belgium, but in this way we preserve the quality, reduce transportation and stimulate local Nepalese economies.



We also donate part of our proceeds to the 'Little Doctors' school project in Nepal. Furthermore, many of our local partners are women. This is a very conscious choice because it enables women to earn an independent income and thus we contribute to women emancipation in that region. 



We also want to make an impact closer to home by spreading our message of "honestly beautiful". 

You are honestly beautiful 

We believe it is important to empower women as a beauty brand. Our baseline 'honestly beautiful' refers to an honest way of working, but also to our mission to empower women in their beauty instead of imposing unrealistic ideals. Everyone gets wrinkles, you don't have to look like a 20-year-old at 40. With our products, we want to strengthen women in the fact that they do not have to change at all - for example, we are not anti-ageing at all. That's why we work with real people in our campaigns: in all shapes, sizes and colours. People you too can identify with.

Anniversary year

Now, in 2022, CÎME celebrates its 10th anniversary! At the start of our anniversary year, we asked 2 female artists from Brussels to illustrate what 'honestly beautiful' means to them. Their beautiful illustrations can now be found on our limited edition version of our bestseller l'Huile by CÎME.
Want to know more about the story behind the limited editions? Check out our blog post here.


Our dreams for the coming 10 years 

We also have big ambitions for the next 10 years! We hope that organic skincare becomes mainstream and that CÎME becomes the go-to organic brand of the future. We want to be the driving force behind change in the beauty sector and continue to pioneer in order to make the world a bit more beautiful. And of course, the more we grow, the more impact we have in Nepal.

Let's be honestly beautiful!

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