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Meet Carine Fabius of Earth Henna in Hollywood

(Carine is in the back right)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carine Fabius.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My business partner and husband Pascal Giacomini and I have owned a Haitian and contemporary ethnic art gallery for the last 25 years.

Back in 1997, a New York artist, Loretta Roome, proposed a photographic exhibition on henna body painting. She had curated the exhibit in an East Village gallery in New York, and wanted to recreate its success in Los Angeles. We got the sense that this art form needed its own space and we opened what turned out to be the first henna studio in the United States! Lots of media attention followed and within a few months, we saw that there was a real demand for a home-use kit. After having painted thousands of people in our studio, we knew we needed to get it right (henna is a tricky substance to work with). While others were rushing to market with low quality kits, it took us a year to come up with our Earth Henna Temporary Tattoo Kit. We had to find the right supplier–a family of Moroccan Berber farmers, whose entire crop we buy every year–find a way to keep the henna fresh for longer than three days, while still keeping it all-natural, and a host of other considerations. Today, ours is still the best-selling kit on the market.

Demand for a safe, natural temporary tattoo that looked like a permanent tattoo was also very high. So when, a few years later, we heard about the Jagua fruit, which grows in the Amazon, and stains the skin blue/black for 10 days to two weeks, Pascal went down to the Peruvian Amazon and began a relationship with the Indigenous Matsés people. They harvest the fruit and ship it to us in Los Angeles. We use the juice as the base for our Earth Jagua Black Temporary Tattoo Gel, which comes in our Earth Jagua kit.

This year, we introduced our White Lace/Silver Lace/Gold Lace Temporary Tattoo Kit, which is already getting a remarkable reception. The White Lace mix is a combination of body paint with medical grade adhesive. It is applied on the skin just like henna, but it does not stain the skin. It dries flat, is set with a sprinkle of corn starch, and lasts 1-5 days. It is more short-term and is used as adornment for special events. It looks just like a beautiful white lace glove, when used on the hand. The kit comes with silver or gold glitter, which is used instead of the corn starch when a sparkly look is desired.

Our kits are sold in many industries–natural product (Whole Foods, Sprouts, etc.); fashion accessory (Urban Outfitters, Tilly’s, American Eagle Outfitters); craft and hobby; and art materials.

Has it been a smooth road?
As in life, there are always challenges and obstacles, like not being born rich! I am a writer, Pascal is a sculptor and photographer, and we were (and still are) art dealers. We knew nothing about manufacturing a product and bringing it to market, which includes package design, printing, testing product formulas, working with a chemist, conforming to FDA protocol, doing tradeshows, and much more. And we weren’t rich! Notice I keep saying that? Lack of capital is a small business owner’s biggest challenge, since banks don’t go out of their way to help. But Pascal and I are on the same page in the way we approach the world. When a door opens, we walk through it without fear. We learned by doing, borrowing from family, working very hard and staying upbeat.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Earth Henna – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Lakaye Studio manufactures a line of superior quality, all-natural, easy-to-use temporary body art kits under the brand names Earth Henna and Earth jagua. We are most proud of having introduced henna tattoos to the West Coast back in the late 90s, and helping to jump start a global trend! 20 years later, henna is still very hot, jagua tattoos and White Lace tattoos are the latest new thing in temporary body art. We are the only company with these products for sale on the professional circuit.

Also, our company donates a portion of its proceeds toward healthcare and other living expenses for our henna farmers in Morocco, and the Matsés people in the Amazon.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Living in Los Angeles is like living in paradise. The always-perfect weather makes me feel as if I’m always on vacation. The mix of urban life in a desert environment that is rife with lush, tropical foliage is heady stuff! Makes you forget the traffic.

What I like least about LA is the traffic. Of course.

Pricing:

  • The Earth Henna Temporary Tattoo Kit (Premium) retails at $27.50 and comes with enough product for 20-30 designs.
  • The Earth Jagua Black Temporary Tattoo Kit retails for $25.50 and comes with enough product for 15-20 designs.
  • The White Lace kit retails for $27.50 and comes with enough product for 15-20 designs.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.earthhenna.com
  • Phone: 323-460-7333; 800-224-5600
  • Email: customersupport@earthhenna.com

Image Credit:
Curtis Williams, Pascal Giacomini

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