In 2012 Negin Mirsalehi launched her Instagram account and now 4 million followers later the fashion blogger is steadily building her own empire. The first feather to her bow is the honey infused hair care brand: Gisou. A brand which harnesses a unique combination of family values (the honey used in the products is straight outta her own fathers’ bee garden) - alongside on trend/so instagrammable it hurts beauty products. We talk to Negin about how it all started, how she juggles her many projects and of course, bees. Interview by Jade Thompson.
Where does the name Gisou come from – what does it mean?
Gisou means golden hair lock in poetic Persian. This is where my Heritage lies.
For those who are unfamiliar with Gisou could you explain the origins of your beauty brand?
Gisou believes that honey is without a doubt a magical product due to its incredible moisturising and softening properties. Beekeeping has been in my family for six generations: my father learned to keep bees from his father, who was taught by my great-grandfather and so on. My mother is a hairdresser who, unimpressed with the hair products available, experimented by making her own haircare solutions. As a beekeeper’s wife, she had discovered the health benefits of honey and how its’ moisturising and softening properties work wonders on the hair. So she developed her own formula, using as many natural ingredients as possible – with the honey from the Mirsalehi bee garden as the key component.
The story continues with me bringing together my love for beauty, nature and family with the launch of Gisou Honey Infused Hair Oil - sharing my mother’s secret formula that she has been using on her own hair for years. We launched our first product in November 2015, the Gisou Honey Infused Hair Oil, followed-up by the Propolis Infused Heat Protecting Spray.
What makes Gisou stand out amongst the influx of new natural and independent beauty companies?
I knew that the story was of a special nature - however I never thought that people would be [so] interested in bees or the bee story behind the brand [but] I definitely believe that people can resonate with the story, as it is very authentic and real. I try to share my personal story via my Instagram account and YouTube channel, where my followers can see me work in my father’s bee garden or my moments with my mom when she is doing my hair.
I want to share an authentic and personal story, with the message: ‘Healthy hair is beautiful hair’. Taking good care of your hair is the initial step to healthier and shinier locks.
Has owning a beauty brand always been a long-term goal for you?
Gisou has been born naturally out of my passion for bees, the bee garden, and beauty. Four years ago, when I started on Instagram with inspirational fashion posts, I acknowledged that a lot of people were interested in my hair. After receiving so many questions about my hair, I had something to offer and I decided to share the healing powers of bee products.
Currently the extinction of bees is a topical subject, what are your thoughts on this and does Gisou have any sustainability tips for anyone who might also be concerned about this?
A lot of people underestimate the hard work of the bees on our planet. Bees are responsible for pollination. The food that we consume every day relies on pollination by bees. I would advise people to plant as many bee-friendly plants and flowers as they can. Many people think of bees as a hazard but I promise you, they are not just buzzing around, they actually have a very important purpose in our life. Without them we wouldn’t be able to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.
How easy is it to manage the demands on your time now you have to juggle both your blog and Gisou?
It is definitely not easy, I travel a lot so the contact between my team and I has to be very close and consistent in order for me to stay up-to-date about everything that is happening at the office. We try to schedule the most important meetings when I am in the country in order for everything to be handled smoothly.
Honey is a major ingredient in your products, are there any other ways that you include honey in your beauty regime?
I always use honey for different purposes, the rich taste of my father’s honey is incomparable to any other. I’d smear it on homemade bread, stir it in my lukewarm tea, or simply eat it as a treat. Honey is nature’s own sweetener and the first natural sugar to be recorded in history. My father strongly believes in the power of honey, which is why he always told me to have one teaspoon every morning - according to him, it really is the best medicine. Honey didn’t just satisfy our taste buds, my mother used it as a natural antiseptic too - it soothed our sore throats and treated our cuts and scratches. I try to use honey in my beauty regime by incorporating it in my face and hair masks for more moisture and hydration.
What advice would you give to anyone hoping to launch their own beauty brand?
I believe that success starts with passion; I was lucky enough to have found my passion during my study in Business Administration and Marketing. But without perseverance and dedication I would have never been where I am at the moment. Strive for your goals no matter what and surround yourself with people who support you in this. Planning and market research can be of essence before you start something.
What’s the next step for Gisou?
We’ve launched two products that are both based on bee products: honey and propolis. We will continue to add the benefits of bee products in more care and styling products. We’ll pursue offering more high quality bee based hair products this year, to create a globally renowned label.
This year is going to be a very exciting one for Gisou because we’ve got a lot of big plans - so keep an eye out on our social media and website!
To find out more about Gisou check out their website and follow on Instagram. Stay up-to-date with Negin via her website.