From our President: joining EMK was a call of destiny
Many EMK enthusiasts have asked me how I ended up with EMK Beverly Hills. As the incumbent president, I wanted to take a moment to share my own love for skincare, and give you some insights on what brought me to EMK and what we are working on right now.
It has been over 40 years since our founder Professor Emilia Karsh started researching botanical placenta. I am proud and honored to be able to continue her initial mission to this very day, which was to bring to every man and women in the world the great benefits of superior natural skincare.
I met Emilia 9 years ago in Beverly Hills. This is when she introduced me to EMK, and I immediately fell in love with the formulas, the research methodologies on plant ingredients, and the core company philosophy. I was in total awe with everything EMK stood for. Emilia naturally became my mentor. What you would call fate…
In 2013, Emilia shared with me her intention to retire. To my ecstatic surprise, she offered for me to take over as the president at EMK. As she was grooming me for the role, Emilia told me: “Fabian, EMK is my baby, I have given it all my love, I am passing it on to you and I count on you to take care of it like your own.” It was a deeply emotional moment as one might tell. I thought to myself “What a responsibility! I hope I will live up to that challenge!”. After a few years of helping the baby grow, I now feel that this responsibility has been a blessing all along. The baby has left its Beverly Hills cradle, and is now rambling on all 5 continents. EMK is now a healthy and strong teenager poised to become a well-rounded adult. I feel more than ever that this was a call of destiny.
Being born in Belgium, I come from an environment where art and craftsmanship was ever present. As a child, I developed a taste for the finer things. My parents relocated to Provence in the South of France and I grew up surrounded by flowers and beautiful scents. I quickly developed a passion for nature and the environment.
"one can do something good for the world while making a business out of it."
Around our family home you could see hundreds of square miles covered in purple lavender fields. It was beautiful. What a feast for the senses during the harvest season in July! The whole Provence lavender industry intrigued me, and over time, I developed relationships with the professionals involved in this business. I used to work after school on every aspect of the industry. From selecting shoots, cloning them in nurseries, planting them in fields, nurturing their growth, harvesting the flowers and finally distilling the essential oil.
I started one of my first businesses at the age of 16 during the summer holidays. I decided to start it in...you guessed it, the lavender trade. However, being a lover of fine and natural things, I was bothered by the way lavender was being cultivated in Provence. It was just the usual industrial scale farming with little concern over environmental impact nor much concern about the quality of products produced. Most of the lavender by-products found in retail came from a hybrid bearing the Latin name of Lavendula Intermedia. This hybrid lavender grows fast and is very resistant to vermin. It produces a lot of oil, but its quality is poor. Its scent, although powerful is rough and aggressive. In those days, I had noticed that the real ‘stuff’, was growing high up in the mountains. There, could be found the wild ‘true’ lavender or known by the Latin name of Lavendula Vera. Wild lavender is a small plant with few flowers but it boasts a divine smell. It is a fine essential oil that can be applied directly onto the skin or even ingested to help with all kinds of ailments.
Here was my business plan: produce the highest grade of lavender in the world and sell it to French perfume houses. I immediately got busy and found plenty of support in my local community. No one was harvesting lavender on mountains so the land owners granted me free concessions. They even liked the idea of their lavender getting harvested as they knew it would grow healthier the following year.
Soon after, I obtained an organic certification agency to certify the land organic. This was not too difficult as the land was remote in the wilderness and the tests returned no signs of pollution. Then, I partnered with my brother and some friends from our local community and we spent the best part of the summer cutting lavender flowers by hand. It was tedious labor, but our outdoor parties at night made us forget all about blisters and sunburns! At the end of the summer, we went through the stressful experience of waiting for our essential oil to drip out of the distillery, hoping for an abundant production. Fortunately, it was a success, and I sold the essential oil to the finest perfume houses in France. My buyers were thrilled to have the rare opportunity to buy such high-grade lavender oil. They happily paid a high price premium too! Considering our time and efforts, we ended up earning relatively more than many industrial producers.
This experience taught me that one can do something good for the world while making a business out of it. I went on to build a career that gravitates around quality production and sustainable development. To this day, I still apply these valuable experiences on an everyday basis at EMK.
At EMK Beverly Hills, our approach to source plant extracts and essential oils is similar to what I did in my young years in Provence. We develop a relationship with the producers. Organic is better for us, but we don’t always rely on organic certification. Organic standards have some shortcomings and limitations, this is why we look for producers who use ‘real’ natural and sustainable production methods. Back in the lab we also make sure our standards go beyond regular requirements.
True natural product connoisseurs will notice that our skin care is like a fine wine. The ingredients it contains are alive and create a feast for the senses. Like a fine wine, our skincare’s texture and smell vary slightly year by year. This is because it is loaded with natural extracts; plants and fruits are indeed different each year depending on the weather conditions.
My daily challenge is to keep improving our formulas while always sourcing higher grade and more sustainable raw materials. It is an effort that Professor Emilia Karsh started over 40 years ago and I am proud to be able to contribute to her initial endeavor. We have a simple line of products and we want to keep it that way. Our goal is to keep the routine simple, but with excellent quality ingredients that can help keep the skin young-looking and healthy. We also make sure that our formulas work for any skin type and on any skin condition. So even if the line is simple, we keep upgrading the formulas year after year. It’s an endless quest for the perfect ingredient balance.
I hope our products live up to your own high standards. I want you to know we are doing our very best! It’s a work in progress. I would love to hear your own story about your interest in skincare in general, and I would also love to hear your opinion on what we are doing right and what we need to improve, so don't hesitate to leave us a comment below.
Wishing you a beauty-full day!