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How Yasmin Madmoune is celebrating & sharing ancestral beauty

Yasmin Madmoune is the 22-year-old of Yas Apothecary, a Moroccan Hammam Inspired Body Care line that offers a variety of natural soaps, hair oils and Arabian Oud perfumes.

Yasmin was born in America to a Moroccan father and Jamaican mother, created Yas Apothecary to help reintroduce traditional healing methods and ingredients to indigenous people in the Western World. 

“I hope to inspire young Black women specifically to take a little extra time to care for themselves and their well being through my products,” she told us. 

In this interview Yasmin shares more about her amazing, multicultural heritage and how that has propelled her work. As well as advice for other young entrepreneurs, and much more!


How is your Moroccan and Jamaican heritage woven into your offerings?

Yasmin: My heritage is intertwined into everything I do. Both of my parents are immigrants. My mother came to the US from Jamaica when she was 14 and my dad from Morocco when he was 24. Whether it was perms, hair dye or Brazilian Keratin Treatments, my parents were adamant about me staying away from chemical treatments that were popular in the US. This only fueled my desire to keep up with beauty trends. I would use household ingredients to create different concoctions that I thought might make me more beautiful. One day I’d be in the bathroom mixing Hydrogen Peroxide and honey to lighten my hair with the help of the sun. Another day I’d be in the kitchen making an avocado and mayonnaise mask to hydrate and revitalize my curls.

Summers were spent in Morocco alongside my brother and cousins, where we frequented hammams or traditional bathhouses. These sanctuaries offered a weekly ritual of deep cleansing, stripping away layers of grime unlike everyday showers. Segregated by gender, the hammam typically consisted of three steam rooms, each progressively hotter. In the third room, a woman would coat my body with a thin layer of savon beldi or Moroccan Black Soap, before vigorously exfoliating with a kessa, or exfoliating glove in a rhythmic motion; shedding dead skin and impurities that would roll off the body like strands of spaghetti. Many of the products I used in the hammam as a child are the same ones I now offer, from Moroccan black soap to the kessa glove and luxurious argan oil.

What is your best selling product, and why do you think it resonates with your customers? 

Yasmin: Without a doubt, my Turmeric and Seamoss Soap is a top seller. Customers rave about its numerous benefits. Firstly, it’s been a game-changer for tackling inflamed acne and hyperpigmentation scars. Many say the scent brings back memories of their youth, with its warm and comforting aroma that transports you to grandma or auntie’s house. Alot of my customers will order 4-6 of these bars at a time to replenish their stash, especially because family members will often steal their soap once they discover how good it smells.

What is it you’d like women to know about the magic of traditional indigenous healing methods?

Yasmin: Good things come with time and genuine intent. I don’t offer quick fixes; I provide a pathway to reconnect with your roots. My products are crafted from recipes passed down through generations. Nowadays, a mere squirt of synthetic body wash on a plastic washcloth might give a false sense of cleanliness. Many aren’t aware that layers of dirt still sit atop their skin, requiring a deeper cleanse through steam and exfoliation.

Moroccan black soap, applied by hand, coats the skin before using an exfoliating glove to scrub away impurities. This process, of thoroughly covering your body with soap by hand, fosters a deeper familiarity with oneself. Using my products is an intimate journey because you deserve the chance to reconnect with your body. It’s a healing process in itself.

Tell us the mechanics of how your work positively impacts culture and community? 

Yasmin: Through fair trade, internship opportunities and informational wellness programming, Yas Apothecary has made a commitment to reinvesting into women led cooperatives, artisanal workers and the communities we serve.

One of my passions is event curation and execution. I appreciate how transformational events can be when it comes to receiving information and inspiration as well as connecting with like minded individuals. One of my proudest moments as a business owner was an event I put on in conjunction with my Alma Mater, Morgan State Universities Entrepreneurship Development and Assistance Center called the Bad Gyal Business Blackout. This event was a Conference centered around building your own business venture, making key connections and securing funding. I led a workshop on avoiding burnout while running a business and got to judge a pitch competition where we gave away $20,000 in seed money to entrepreneurs on campus. I started my business with a $40 investment from my dad and no longer term business plan or goals. To be given the opportunity to award entrepreneurs on campus with the tools and seed money to fulfill their dreams was nothing short of a full circle blessing. 

What has been one major highlight and one major challenge you’ve faced on your entrepreneurial journey so far, and how have you found balance along the way? 

Yasmin: Marketing has posed a big challenge for my business. I hit a roadblock when trying to set up a Facebook Shop because Meta flagged me for lacking FDA approval to back up my product claims, despite having verified customer testimonials. This restriction made it impossible for me to run ads or set up an Instagram shop, severely limiting my reach. So, I’ve turned to grassroots marketing tactics like printing and handing out flyers across the city and my college campus. It showed me the importance and value of building an email and SMS list to reach customers directly. I also reach out directly to potential customers through DMs with sales, offers, or new product announcements.

On the flip side, it’s been amazing to see the organic growth and reach I’ve achieved with these strategies. During college, I printed thousands of postcards detailing my offerings and distributed them around campus. I even made it a routine to leave postcards on every table in the library, cafe and academic buildings daily. It took about a year and a half of consistent effort, but eventually, students started recognizing my brand at pop-up shops on campus. They’d approach me, saying, “You’re Yas Apothecary? I see your posters everywhere!” Many of these students ended up buying from me because they respected the hustle and trusted the brand. I’m glad I didn’t let my limited reach on social media discourage me from promoting myself in real life. It’s empowering to look at what I’ve built and know that I created this brand and community organically.

Tell us about your own beauty and self care routine. What practices are integral for you and why?

Yasmin: Less is more! This is a common theme across my products and my skincare routine. I specialize in products composed of minimal ingredients that work effectively together. My skincare routine revolves around three essentials: cleansing, moisturizing, and protection.

For cleansing, my go-to is the Turmeric and Seamoss Soap. It effectively removes dirt and product buildup while promoting even skin texture, which is crucial especially during my cycle.

After cleansing, I lock in moisture with a few spritzes of Orange Blossom toner and a couple of drops of Argan or Black Seed oil mixed into my favorite moisturizer (which I switch up based on the season).

Lastly, SPF is non-negotiable. It’s essential for everyone, (yes, including Black people) especially if dealing with hyperpigmentation. Melanated skin is particularly susceptible to UV damage and hyperpigmentation, so I always emphasize the importance of sunscreen. My favorite brands for SPF are DR. Dennis Gross, Black Girl Sunscreen and Supergoop.

If I am beginning to break out, that is when I’ll use my Moroccan Ghassoul Clay to draw out any dirt or buildup. 

What is a crucial piece of wisdom you’ve learned as a young woman entrepreneur that you can pass on to others who are either dreaming of starting their own businesses or have started but are struggling?

Yasmin: As a young female entrepreneur, I’ve learned that success is a journey of patience and consistent effort toward a specific goal. I’ve made it a point to let go of unrealistic expectations and harsh self-judgment. I remind myself that building a successful company takes time; many enduring businesses take a decade or more to establish, and I’m only in year three.

What keeps me going is knowing that my returning customer rate exceeds 50%, indicating the consistent quality of products I offer. I focus on my vision of creating something that uplifts and educates my community, letting go of comparisons to my peers in the industry.

For anyone dreaming of starting a business, I suggest honing in on your vision: Who are you doing it for, and why? How do you want them to feel? What impact do you want your creation to have on the world? Never lose sight of the answers to these questions.

Visit Yas Apothecary at yasapothecary.com and follow them on IG @yasapothecary

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