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Swazi-born South African actress, model and TV personality Amanda du-Pont has ventured into the beauty business, launching a skincare brand that's community-driven, made in South Africa and harnesses clean ingredients sourced from the African continent.
Dubbed Lelive (pronounced leh-lee-veh), the name was inspired by du-Pont's unofficial Swazi name, and means 'of the nation or world'. This is fitting as the brand's social media community played a important role in product development, helping to decide everything from the ingredients to use, product packaging and the values to uphold.
The Lelive range has been formulated with natural ingredients, and is designed to be kinder to one's skin and the environment. It's reef safe, vegan, cruelty-free and dermatologist-tested, and packaged in predominantly aluminium due to its recyclability.
Currently, there are seven unisex products in the Lelive range - two cleansers, a serum, an exfoliator and three moisturisers. Hero African ingredients like Rooibos, and Kalahari melon, marula and mongongo oils feature in the range, and despite Lelive's luxe minimalistic look, Du-Pont has kept the products relatively affordable, with price points ranging between R259 and R329.
In light of the recent launch of Lelive, and its first brand campaign 'Made by Africa', we caught up with Du-Pont to find out more about her move into skincare.
Congrats on the launch of Lelive. Is this your first foray into skincare? What inspired the move?
Thank you! It's my first time creating a skincare range, but my journey into natural products started with my hair and slowly infiltrated re-looking everything I put into my body, including what I eat.
Skincare was therefore a natural progression and is something I'm really passionate about because when we started there wasn't a brand out there that was giving me and what the community that we built on social media were wanting, so the only option was to do it ourselves.
How would you describe the typical Lelive customer?
While the entire range has been created with the help of an African community on social media, we worked hard to make it work for everyone. We also worked hard to make sure that we gave people the quality they deserve at prices they can afford, because great skincare shouldn't only be for people who have lots of money.
Tell us about the ingredients that have gone into Lelive products and where/how they’re sourced?
Our entire range is 95% natural and up to 5% plant-identical. We work with amazing local formulators who specialise in producing clean skincare that only uses the best suppliers that provide the highest quality ingredients.
We also wanted there to be a common thread of African ingredients like ahea, aloe, Rooibos and marula (to name a few), that's blended with really amazing active ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C and Niacinamide so that it was uniquely African while also being able to stand up to what the big brands internationally were offering.
You tapped into your social media community quite a lot to help develop this product. Why this approach, and what was some of the key feedback you incorporated into the range?
From the start, it was incredibly important to us to create a product that wasn't dictating to the customer what they should buy, but instead reflected exactly what they wanted and what their concerns actually were. Gone are the days of brands forcing people to buy stuff that they don't need, so our development process needed to address this change.
Some of the key feedback included the ingredients they wanted, the skin concerns they had (a lot of which was experienced by an African market), as well as more fundamental things like the fact that we needed to be clean, vegan and cruelty-free and be packaged in aluminium which is a lot kinder to the environment.
Can you share a bit about the inspiration behind the first Lelive campaign, 'Made in Africa', that just launched?
Lelive is, and will always be about being community-first. Our first campaign is a thank you letter to everyone that gave their feedback to us and helped us develop our range, and a thank you to Africa itself for giving us such amazing ingredients to work with.
How do you think more consumers can be encouraged to support more local beauty brands?
It's about access. Consumers need to be given access to local brands, from a brand recognition point of view but also in terms of price and what people locally can afford.
A lot of the time these two things don't align, you have an affordable brand, but local retailers aren't supporting them and helping them grow and get in front of more customers, or you have a local brand that everyone knows about but can't afford.
What is your ultimate vision for the Lelive brand?
With the grace of God, we hope to become the number one African skincare brand, not just in Africa, but worldwide. This might sound like a big thing to achieve, but God has already been abundant in His blessings towards us, so the time for it is now, and in my opinion, it's long overdue.
Where can we shop the range?
Pre-orders opened on 25 March on leliveafrica.com. And we'll also be coming to a few major retailers very soon (but to find out where you'll have to stay tuned).
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