Nadia Trabelsi is the 28 year old creator of Koko & Clay Cosmetics. Born and raised in Hanover, Germany the business owner has German and Tunisian origins. After studying Biology she received her master’s in Science and Technology Studies. During her studies she spent some time abroad in France and the Netherlands. After settling in a few other Germany cities she has lived in Berlin for two years.
What drew you to Berlin?
I came to Berlin by pure chance. After finishing my master’s, I applied for various jobs in several major German cities. I found an interesting job offer as a Sustainability Analyst for a financial services provider in Berlin and when I got the job, I moved here two years ago. I fell in love with the city immediately.
What current project are you working on?
I am currently working on the further development of my brand called KoKo & Clay Cosmetics. I have an Etsy shop with a variety of natural clay face masks, peelings and face oils. I work with natural and vegan ingredients that are truly effective and formulated for different skin types. At the moment, I am developing new formulas and I work on sustainable packaging improvements.
What inspired you to create KoKo & Clay Cosmetics?
In 2012, during my biology studies, I had the chance to spend a semester abroad on the island of La Réunion. La Réunion is a small volcanic island in the Indian Ocean, between Madagascar and Mauritius. The island belongs to France – and thus to Europe. La Réunion is known for sugarcane, rum and vanilla. But above all, for a fabulous variety of orchids. One day, I got to know a nice elderly lady in a local market who sold natural handmade cosmetics. She used indigenous plants from the island in her formulas. This lady recommended to me volcanic ash and specific essential oils for my skin. With these ingredients, I then mixed my first natural clay face mask. I developed my own formulas and started to experiment with different natural ingredients. In 2017, I decided to set up an Etsy shop and sell my products online.
What do you do when you need some inspiration?
Traveling is my major source of inspiration. I enjoy visiting different countries and exploring other cultures. What I enjoy the most about my trips is to learn how women all over the world have used indigenous plants and natural oils for their beauty rituals since ancient times. I enjoy collecting beauty secrets from different corners of the world and I use this knowledge as inspiration for my own formulas. Ghassoul for example, a natural mineral clay mined in the Atlas mountains in Morroco, has been used by North African women for hair and skincare for centuries. You can find Ghassoul in my natural body scrubs.
What’s at the top of your Berlin bucket list?
The Botanical Garden offers different tours and workshops through the green houses with their staff. I’d love to participate in such a workshop and learn more about tropical plants.
What do you have in the works for the upcoming year?
In February, I will be traveling to China for a couple of months to study Mandarin in Beijing. I will use this opportunity to learn more about the Chinese culture and their ancient beauty rituals. I also plan to set up my own website and a blog to document my travels. Meanwhile, my Etsy shop will still be open!