In 2011, I visited Namibia, fulfilling a lifelong dream of traveling to southern Africa. On my last day in the country, I noticed our guide applying something to his face from a small bottle. He told me it was extract from the “sausage” tree and that he had been putting it on spots on his face that were significant signs of sun damage. Since he started using it, he said, they had all significantly shrunk or disappeared entirely. My mother had just had several concerning spots removed from her face, so I was very intrigued by this new-to-me botanical.
Once I returned home, I began researching Kigelia Africana (as I found it was officially called), and I was stunned by what I read. Recent studies supported many traditional uses of a plant that is largely unknown in America and the American cosmetic market. I immediately saw its phenomenal potential as the star ingredient in an all-natural cosmetic skincare line. Once I learned of the social impact that increasing trade of Kigelia Africana could have in developing areas, and found that it could be sustainably farmed and sourced, I was determined to make my idea a reality. Excited by the possibility of creating a very special product that could also give back, I soon began creating KELIA.
-- Emily Joyce Bolf, KELIA founder