25 years of commitment, an opportunity for us to retrace the beginnings of the brand and the development of its cosmetics and skincare rituals, pioneering in its field on the Swiss market since 1995.
From the creation of the Institute to the creation of natural and ecological products thanks to values that have remained unchanged over the years, while keeping its human scale approach, we reveal the journey of the three women who, through passion and strength of character, have led Yemanja to blossom and flourish.
It all started with Teresa’s arrival in Switzerland. A one-way ticket from Brazil at the age of 28 with no diploma to land in the watchmaking city of La Chaux-de-Fonds with her two children. When she was offered a training, course, it was first of all to accompany an acquaintance that she turned to the profession of beautician and then to discover her true ambition. Without perfect mastery of the French language at the time, Teresa learns her theoretical courses at her fingertips, practising with models who will later become her first clients.
Teresa – founder of the Institute
It is in an antiquated apartment, refurbished with the help of a friend, that Teresa founds her first beauty care Institute. It will be named Yemanja in reference to her Brazilian roots, reflecting the strength of water, abundance and generosity. It will be named Yemanja in reference to her Brazilian roots, reflecting the strength of water, abundance and generosity. Opposed to the use of all sorts of trendy machines, the founder of the Institute intends to keep a natural approach from the beginning. The Touch, dialogue, human contact – in effect, well-being and authentic exchanges regulate the growth of the Institute. The same applies to the advent of cosmetics. First of all for her personal use, then for the care given to her clients, Teresa fills small home-made bottles with personalized formulas, which her clients bring back when they are finished. At a time when the cosmetics market is dominated by major brands with overloaded compositions and a lack of transparency, Teresa conscientiously shares what the bottles contain and their active ingredients. Through the development of her skin care rituals, also with the aim of soothing and clarifying ideas, Teresa explains that “the skin is the mirror of the soul, which reflects itself to the world”. It is the envelope that we keep for a lifetime.
Through her profession, Teresa has emancipated herself and is proud of her career and her choices. The familiarity, exchanges and harmony established with her clientele. Witness of her transformation, her daughter Kamila was instantly fascinated by the profession and saw Yemanja as an adventure to be lived and developed between mother and daughter. The next generation was already in place.
Long before the succession, Kamila’s memories go back a long way. From her bedroom, which served as a treatment space where her mother unfolded her first massage table, to the setting up of the Institute, the choice of its name, Kamila is present at every step. “Mother of all, protective, benevolent, who takes the torments of others to solve them, but also, holder of the generational secret”, Brazilian divinity with multiple facets, Yemanja is also an evidence for Kamila. The care and well-being given to others is a heritage that goes back to her great-grandmother, an Amazonian Indian with knowledge of a wide range of herbs and plants. This knowledge is then passed on to her grandmother and then to her mother before her. When the time came to choose a career path, there was no hesitation. Kamila has the knowledge and techniques of advanced care rituals and already applies them, before the confirmation with a first training and then her association with Teresa in 2009.
” The essence of Yemanja is also the biochemical skills of a beautician on the epidermis with health knowledge “
As for the development of cosmetic formulas, it is quickly being discussed for professional needs, to strive for even more quality. Source of a logical and complementary continuity, Teresa is in the intuitive while Kamila is adressing fine details with the necessary structure to meet Swiss requirements. Since 2010, she starts researches on materials, the choice of ingredients, the composition and then the stabilization of the products, in relation to what she witnesses with her clients and by putting herself in the place of the consumer. While creating, Kamila wishes to free herself from all codes and focuses on properties, balancing virtues and holds on inspirations that emanate from various horizons and roots. The charter is always in the background, tuning it with intuition and expertise, in order to elaborate a product range that is not only coherent and realistic, but also by keeping the original and ecological critieria. While it was not initially intended for sale, it is in an organic way and at the request of the Institute’s clientele that the range of products is made exclusively available to them, becoming a care ritual with the aim of extending it from the Institute to home, for even more benefits. One year later, Yemanja cosmetics opened to the Swiss market.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have a grimoire. Some elements have been lost through the generations. I explore them in a different, modern way and restructure them. I don’t forget the strength of plants, origins, the earth – the strength of Yemanja”
With the growth of the cosmetics brand, Kamila feels that additional strength becomes essential to fan the flame. It is through an unexpected and magical encounter, the meeting of a precious ally, that Yemanja continues its expansion, by thinking out of the box.
Cléo & Kamila – Co-director
Freshly adept of Yemanja’s skincare rituals and cosmetics, Cléo is conquered by the quality and the requirement on the nature of the products. Inspired, the dream and the will to nourish and develop the range is growing. Visionary, she is absorbed by the visual aspect of the brand. She knows about packaging, thanks to her experience in graphic design and product launches. One day, on her way out, it is on the doorstep that she offers her help to Kamila if, someday, she would like to redesign the visuals of the products. Then destined to grow in a very masculine and industrial field, Cléo’s professional journey is clearly traced, with no way out. It seemed utopian to reorient herself on a more inspiring path in line with her values. En parallèle, Kamila réfléchit à la proposition, piquée par la curiosité. By a combination of circumstances, it is during the same week that Cléo positions herself on her professional future to explore her skills differently, in coherence with her deep convictions.. On her part, Kamila looks forward to Cléo’s next appointment at the Institute to make her a proposal. 48 hours separate the final crossroads of destinies.
Like a liberating evidence, they lay all cards on the table, set out visions and desires, what interests them and what should be left behind. They ask themselves: what drives the range of cosmetics? They redesign the whole thing to move forward together. Naturally and step by step, the evolution of the brand becomes clearer. Stimulated, the choices of the two accomplices intensify. The distances for transporting materials must be reduced, waste must be minimized with reusable containers and without essential oils to suit everyone. Thanks to a reduced and coherent cosmetic range, each design will have to emanate a meaning to meet basic needs and respond to all skin types. After another month of reflection, the fusion is completed and in full swing with Cléo, which enriches Yemanja’s palette. With her background and knowledge of the market and industrial production, opposite to her values, Cléo takes up the challenge of applying them, transposing them from the world of mass distribution to a human scale. She also shapes the art of making visible what seemed intrinsic to ostensibly display the brand’s philosophy and charter. The number of customers and followers is multiplying and commercial relations are accelerating. At the end of 2018, their mutual commitment is confirmed and, upstream, a closer bond of trust is created with the existing clientele as well as the creation of a new one, the result of the company’s excellent prospects for sustainable development.
“Our association with Kamila is unique ; “Yemanja’s essence has remained the same. We didn’t distort it, but together we made it clearer “
In a matter of two years, Yemanja cosmetics have blossomed. From an exclusive public witin the Institute, to the brand’s opening beyond Neuchâtel’s borders and even internationally more recently, the number of insiders is in deployment. Surely with a professional and humanist approach, with its perpetual inspiration and continuous project development, the Yemanja brand and its commitments are constantly being enriched.
“Everything that has been created by Teresa and then developed by Kamila has meaning and richness. The products have just been adapted, not reinvented”