Meet The Founder

Behind the Brand: Sana Jardin

The beauty world’s first socially conscious luxury fragrance house (try saying that five times fast… phewf!), {Sana Jardin} is blazing a revolutionary trail – and leaving sublime scents in its wake. Created by philanthropist and entrepreneur Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed as a vehicle for social change, this brand advocates the economic empowerment of women through ‘The Beyond Sustainability Movement’, aiming to empower all the women it touches – from producer to consumer. Exuding nature’s most exotic aromas and harnessing the healing power of plants and essential oils, these fragrances transport, seduce and support positive change. We spoke to the creator about this game-changing range of far-from-common scents…

{Cult Beauty} What prompted you to change career path – from social worker to perfumery entrepreneur?

{Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed} I have been motivated to help low income people in need since I was a little girl, which is why I became a direct practice social worker. I worked on the west side of Chicago with struggling families and individuals, and soon realised I could have a greater impact if I focused on helping these groups on an institutional level, by enabling them to access jobs, education and financial opportunity.

I pivoted in my career and started working for non-profit foundations that were delivering these services to underserved populations. The common thread amongst some of the foundations I was involved with (The Robin Hood Foundation, The Cherie Blair Foundation and President Clinton’s Foundation) was that they were all considered innovative and cutting edge in their approach to social justice. I realised I wanted to take social impact a step further, and I believe the next interaction of social change is through commerce and entrepreneurship and not traditional charity.

I pivoted in my career again to empower low income communities through business and not philanthropy.

{CB} Can you tell us more about ‘The Beyond Sustainability Movement’ and how Sana Jardin has become the world’s first ‘socially conscious luxury fragrance house’?

{ACS-A} Sana Jardin’s ‘Beyond Sustainability Movement’ is the overarching ethos that houses our first social impact project in Morocco, and we hope to scale the model globally to create more social impact projects around the world with female flower harvesters. We are proud to contribute three of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: to empower women (goal 5), promote sustainable economic growth with full, productive employment (goal 8), and ensure sustainable production practices (goal 12).

Since 2015, we have worked hand in hand with the indigenous Amazigh women in the historic flower-growing region in Morocco to economically empower the female flower harvesters who hand-pick the flowers for {Sana Jardin} perfume.

We collaborated with ‘Nest’ to create three micro-enterprises with female farmers in rural Morocco that help the women to up-cycle the waste by-product from the floral harvest and create their own line of products, including orange blossom water and scented candles. Participating female farmers received training in key business skills and receive 100% of the proceeds from the sale of their products.

{CB} From ‘Savage Jasmine’ to ‘Tiger By Her Side’, we love the intriguing titles given to Sana Jardin scents. What’s the inspiration behind the names?

{ACS-A} The inspirations vary – from very innocent to very naughty! {Tiger By Her Side} is a reference to the myths of ancient high priestesses who used healing essential oils to elevate their ‘vibrations’. According to mythology, their goal was to create a space around them that felt so tranquil and powerful, wild animals would tamely walk beside them, fully aligned with their ‘frequency’. It’s an expression I imagine when I need to channel inner strength and calm – a divine feminine power that women can access.

{Revolution de la Fleur} was named in honour of the women’s marches in 2017 to illustrate that if women use their natural tendencies to connect, collaborate and nurture we can activate as a group and change the world. Revolution de la Fleur has ylang ylang in it – an essence that is known to strengthen the heart chakra.

{Sandalwood Temple} is a reference to the fact that sandalwood has been used for thousands of years to open the third eye to the spiritual realm; {Berber Blonde} was named after my two sons who are ¼ Berber (and very blonde), and there are other names whose inspiration is too naughty for print!

{CB} Is there a ‘nose’ behind the fragrances?

{ACS-A} Sana Jardin has been blessed to have legendary master perfumer for IFF, Carlos Benaim.

We are honoured to have partnered with an internationally acclaimed nose, the creative behind forty of the world’s leading scent successes for fragrance houses including Bulgari, Fredrick Malle, Yves Saint Laurent and Prada.

Working and communicating with him has been an effortless, pleasurable and intuitive dance as we have a shared language around scent.

{CB} Do you have any advice for finding a signature scent?

{ACS-A} For me, the best way of finding one’s signature scent is the ‘old fashioned’ way – to try every fragrance, in every shop and souk until you feel the essence of your soul is seen and felt by others when you wore the scent.

I would take all the samples, write them down in an organised fashion and see what I would gravitate towards for the rest of the day after spraying my arms up and down!

{CB} What’s your favourite Sana Jardin fragrance?

{ACS-A} {Berber Blonde} is the fragrance I created because I could never find a natural, transporting and glittering orange blossom fragrance on the market. I wear it every day and it makes me feel like I am encased in a halo of healing sunshine that leaves a trail of magic.

In the evening I pair it with {Tiger By Her Side} as I love exotic, sexy ambers that are inviting with an air of globetrotting mystery. It makes me feel powerful and womanly, like I have just put on the sexiest red lipstick.

{CB} Would you recommend layering the scents together?

{ACS-A} Absolutely! They were designed to be layered. {Savage Jasmine} in the hair is arresting and warm with {Sandalwood Temple} on the body, while {Revolution de la Fleur} in the hair is feminine and strong with {Nubian Musk} on the skin.

{CB} How and where would you recommend applying perfume?

{ACS-A} Perfume should be applied anytime a person needs to feel centered with our high concentration of essential oils and aromatherapeutic benefits. I recommend all the traditional places – the base of the neck (especially if you expect to be kissed or a double kiss hello) the hair so it can swish around like a halo and the wrists so that when a woman moves, the scent trail follows her.

{CB} Sana Jardin fragrances promise to ‘transport and seduce’, what exotic scenes have they been inspired by?

{ACS-A} The scenes have been inspired by flash through my eyes like a movie from my life. Humid nights at private Moroccan parties filled with dancing with strangers who became familiar, the indigenous women chanting sacred and traditional songs as they harvest the jasmine and orange blossom, palaces and temples filled with sultry and spiritual incense drifting up towards the cosmos.

{CB} Can you tell us more about the healing properties associated with different fragrance notes?

{ACS-A} {Berber Blonde} has notes of Moroccan orange blossom, north African neroli oil, and musk. Its healing properties allow you to center the mind and helps promote mindfulness and a conscious presence, which raises your vibrational aura, whilst {Tiger By Her Side} has warm notes of amber married with velvety Moroccan rose, mystical Indonesian patchouli and moodily intense Somalian incense. The healing properties of amber lifts your mood and sensuality, clears and empowers the mind and cleanses your spirit.

The {Savage Jasmine} scent is captured as petals unfurl and unleash their exotic, heady scent, whilst Moroccan jasmine intertwines with intoxicating musk. The healing properties of jasmine uplifts the psyche and emotions, induces feelings of wellbeing, optimism and sensual desire.

{Sandalwood Temple} has notes of east Indian sandalwood, creamy Madagascan vanilla, Haitian vetiver, Moroccan neroli and cedarwood. The healing properties of sandalwood enable you to transcend to a higher spiritual realm; align the chakras and deepen connection with your divine spirit.

{Celestial Patchouli} has earthy exotic aromas of patchouli, leather, cinnamon bark and Australian sandalwood give way to the warmth of rose, jasmine, Osmanthus and Moroccan orris. The healing properties of patchouli harmonises the body’s main energy forces at the navel, heart and crown. A great balancer, relaxant and aphrodisiac.

And finally, {Revolution de la Fleur} has a sultry melody of ylang ylang, Moroccan jasmine, frangipani, rose vanilla and sandalwood. With healing properties of ylang ylang linked to the heart of the chakra, providing physical and emotional support. Calms, induces euphoria, relieves tension, stimulates feminine yin energy.

{CB} Are the fragrances natural?

{ACS-A} We call the fragrances naturally leaning. We have purposefully crafted them to be free of phthalates, artificial colourants and parabens and formaldehydes, with no animal testing used. Each fragrance harnesses the healing life force of plants, with a high concentration of naturally perfumed essential oils.

{CB} What does the future hold for Sana Jardin?

{ACS-A} Sana Jardin’s mission is twofold: to replicate and scale our social impact and ‘Beyond Sustainability Model’ around the world in countries such as India, Columbia and Indonesia.

We are launching a Tuberose in 2019 and will work with India’s Tuberose harvesters to economically empower them. We also plan on growing our product line – small travel sizes and rollerballs, candles, room sprays and of course, more fragrances!


Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Verity is our Content Editor and a Cult Beauty veteran. Currently on maternity leave, raising Cult Beauty’s honorary ‘word nerd’, Tabitha, she speaks fluent ‘beauty’ and loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm (and cleanser and candles… ad infinitum). Nothing can stop her from quoting Nancy Mitford, treating herself to yet another Bella Freud candle for her desk or buying that pilgrim-esque collared or heavily fringed outfit she’s been eyeing. You can trust her to debunk widespread beauty myths and dispense invaluable advice with ease…