black love by Neimra Coulibaly October 21, 2021
Skincare is all the rave and black skincare brand sabi is here to change the game. Each and every day there seems to be a new brand in the market that is shaking the table and innovating the industry.
Sabi was founded by 34-year-old Maurice Diong, a South African engineer. He lived most of his living in Senegal and the ivory coast. Diong moved to NYC about a decade ago.
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After surviving a motorcycle accident, Diong rediscovered the benefits of raw shea butter and used it to heal his scars after the accident.
He tells us more about the black skincare brand, what it stands for, and its overall mission in our interview with him.
Maurice Diong: A human being striving to make a positive impact around me. Born in South Africa I grew up for the most part in Senegal and Ivory Coast before moving to New York over a decade ago. I’m an engineer by trade, an ice cream lover, and a devotee to fitness and wellness.
A few years back I got into a motorcycle accident that left me with quite impressive scars and a different perspective on life. While on my recovery journey I rediscovered the virtues of raw shea butter which, growing up, was an essential item in every household back in Senegal.
I also discovered kintsugi, the Japanese art in which broken pottery is joined back together using a gold mixture. The philosophy behind it, called wabi-sabi, sees beauty behind imperfections and values simplicity.
From that moment on, every time I was applying shea butter, I was not only healing my physical scars and nourishing my skin, but I was also putting myself back together mentally and emotionally.
“We are a premium black skincare brand embedded in acceptance and self-love.”– Maurice Diong, Founder of sabi Skincare
It had become a ritual. After working on the texture and specific scents of the body butter and inspired by Kintsugi, I felt the need to share this physical and emotional journey with others through the creation of sabi skincare.
Being a person that is centered on wellness and fitness, Maurice Diong goes into more detail about what the brand is. There is the essence of truly caring for oneself heavily influenced by the brand. Diong told us more…
“A wellness community, a movement focused on uplifting each other and rewriting a narrative in which people would embrace and love themselves.”– Maurice Diong, Founder of sabi Skincare
MD: It’s so crucial having a Black-owned skincare brand that champions self-love.
In a world that’s over-saturated in accomplishments and accolades, we’ve been indoctrinated to forget our own journey of accepting the beauty within and loving ourselves, even with our own imperfections.
“This ethos of self-love manifests itself in the sabi’s brand architecture; internal and external messaging; tone of voice, and visuals.”– Maurice Diong, Founder of sabi Skincare
But to be honest, it’s the sabi tribe that genuinely advocates and champions self-love across the market. Everyone and anyone who has or who will include sabi in their daily rituals and routines end up being more than just a brand evangelist; they become part of a tribe whose mission is to push the narrative of self-love.
This brand is centered around fully accepting, nurturing, and loving yourself, how do sabi team members and planners embrace acceptance, nurturing, and love of self?
As mentioned before, sabi’s brand ethos takes on a 360-approach when it comes to the brand’s three pillars of acceptance, nurturing, and self-love. From those who are just getting familiar with the brand to the team behind the brand, everyone has their own journey and philosophy when it comes to embracing those three pillars.
Internally, the team is big on the wellness of mind and body so we push ourselves as much as we can whether it’s through sport or mindfulness practices like sedentary reflection, yoga, meditation, and so on.
Maurice Diong sources their raw shea butter from a women’s cooperative located in Burkina Faso, he explains more about that collaboration and how it came to be.
MD: It’s important that we source our ingredients from their origins. Being from Senegal, it was also important to me that we reinvest in this way, and go to the source.
KH: What does it look like to fully accept, nurture, and self-love? What are the ways that you incorporate these values in your daily life?
MD: That’s a tough question in the sense that the response is quite subjective. And while we can’t speak for everyone’s own journey of acceptance, nurturing, and self-love, there are parallel themes in everyone’s life when it comes to fully embrace those three pillars.
For example, there are the Haenyeo, who are a group of female divers in the Korean province of Jeju, who dedicate their lives to harvesting a variety of mollusks, seaweed, and other sea life from the ocean; then there are the women in Burkina Faso, Senegal, and so many other regions of West Africa and the Sahel who meticulously source natural ingredients from the MotherLand.
While these two groups of women are seemingly disparate, they both share a vigor or passion (if you will) for life and their livelihood. Once a person or persons accept and embrace their respective passion(s) in life, everything else (self-love included) falls in place.
MD: I want sabi Skincare to be many things, but what’s most important to me is the community that surrounds it. It is through this community that we are encouraged to be our best selves, to share…
KH: Any special ideas or plans coming for the brand as we end the fall season?
MD: Sabi is undergoing a rebrand that we’re all excited for and hope you will join us in the excitement too! From visual content to messaging, to community outreach, a stronger presence across digital platforms, and so much more, we’re just buzzing with a renewed sense of self as not only a company but as a tribe.
KH: Any advice for youths looking to get into the skincare game?
“Discover yourself. Embrace the journey of imperfections, flaws, acceptance, nurturing, and self-love. Let your spirit be your own ship’s personal lighthouse. The rest will follow.”– Maurice Diong, Founder of sabi Skincare