Naturally Tribal Skincare Brings Its African Heritage Products To Harrods
When consumers think of Harrods, they think “quintessentially British,” says Shalom Lloyd. “You think high-end, you think luxury, you think quality, you think magic, and all those things tick the boxes for us. We believe we bring magic to the natural skincare industry.”
Lloyd’s brand Naturally Tribal Skincare is a part of Harrods’ beauty retail offshoot H Beauty’s new Born & Bred collection supporting local emerging brands. Its full product lineup consisting of Yara, Iya, and Agu body foods; Oroma body wash; Oji body scrub; Oka body polish; Iya intimate shave oil; and Agu beard and shave oil is available at the Milton Keynes location about 50 miles northwest of London, where Naturally Tribal Skincare is also based, as well as on Harrods’ website.
Lloyd is a pharmacist and worked on clinical trials for 25 years prior to starting Naturally Tribal Skincare. She created the brand after undergoing multiple rounds of IVF, giving birth to twins, and struggling to find a natural remedy for her newborn son’s eczema. Lloyd says, “Being a pharmacist, I totally appreciate, respect, and understand the value of medicines in our lives, but, after going through cycles of IVF and being pumped with chemicals, the last thing I wanted to do to these babies was put more [synthetic] chemicals on them.”
She turned to shea butter, a staple in British Nigerian Lloyd’s house growing up. “We were slathered with the stuff, and I’m obsessed with it because it’s one of the few ingredients out there to be a humectant occlusive and an emollient all in one,” she says. The ingredient served as a base for Naturally Tribal Skincare’s experimental, kitchen-made products. “I looked at other ingredients that had anti-inflammatory properties and were high in antioxidants to help reduce redness and ease itching,” she says. Lloyd’s final concoction led to son’s eczema being cleared in three days. “We’ve found a niche in terms of focusing on people with skin conditions who want to manage them naturally,” she says. “It’s not a treatment, it’s just a natural alternative. Our policy is really to keep it very simple, take it back to basics.”
Naturally Tribal Skincare was founded on three pillars: efficacy, sustainability and ethical sourcing. On the latter pillar, Lloyd sources shea butter from the Kingdom of Essan in Nigeria, where the company has built a shea processing facility, helped to provide health and safety training to 350 women, and created up to 70 jobs. “I only went there to find shea butter to come back to the U.K. and make this product, but I fell in love with the place and promised these women that, somehow, I’d put them on the map,” says Lloyd. During the pandemic, Naturally Tribal Skincare supported the women shea nut collectors by supplying masks and tools to facilitate safe harvesting. “It’s not perfection, it’s progress and, for us, it’s about conscious consumerism,” she says. “It’s about not taking without giving.”
Naturally Tribal Skincare’s product names pays homage to Africa. The brand’s bestselling body foods come in three versions: Yara, which is Hausa for children, Iya, which is mother or queen in Yoruba, and the men’s version Agu, which means lion in Igbo. The products are formulated, tested, manufactured and packaged in the United Kingdom. “We’re a proudly British company, but with a strong African heritage to us,” says Lloyd.
“It’s not perfection, it’s progress and, for us, it’s about conscious consumerism. It’s about not taking without giving.”
Lloyd describes the early phase of Naturally Tribal Skincare’s products as “ugly.” “We were in plastic jars, the formulations still sort of weren’t right,” she says. She went back to the drawing board and, in March 2018, released products she called “serious.” The pandemic allowed Lloyd to connect with her brand’s customers more and spurred another makeover moment for the company.
“After months of evaluation, we realized that our look and feel needed to be refreshed. It needed to match the luxurious experience Tribers [Lloyd’s nickname for her brand’s customers] get from using our products daily,” she says. Frosted jars were swapped out for ultraviolet glass ones to preserve product formulas and increase shelf life. The jars include screen prints rather than labels to reduce waste, and the outer packaging is fully recyclable. The website was upgraded and is aimed at “informing and educating our customers about our ethical sourcing and build a place where Tribers can learn more about our incredible natural ingredients and the best products for their skin,” says Lloyd.
After Naturally Tribal Skincare underwent its rebrand, Lloyd felt it was ready for a partnership with Harrods. “It was something fresh, something new, something innovative,” she says. Since the partnership, she’s received an increased number of inquiries from potential stockists. “We are certainly always on the lookout for retailers who have aligned values and want to support our cause,” she says, noting her focus is less an retailer quantity and more an retailer quality.
For now, Lloyd is concentrating on launching a facial cleanser, serum, shampoo and conditioner, all with a Naturally Tribal Skincare twist. “We do quirky really well, so we don’t want to be like everybody else,” she says. “It’s back to that innovation.” Naturally Tribal Skincare has registered 33% year-over-year sales growth, and Lloyd is looking forward to accelerating sales increases while sticking to the brand’s foundational pillars. She says, “For me, it’s really about staying true to yourself, and living in and showing those values that are just the right thing to do.”