Get Familiar: Tree of Saba
Founded by two members of Team Patta, Tree of Saba is a contemporary take on traditional, holistic practises in self-care. We sat down with Luna to get familiar with the history behind the ingredients, collaboration and healing processes from previous generations.
How did you two meet and how did Tree of Saba get started?
Luna: Keanni and I met at a BBQ hosted by Juan, a mutual friend of ours who also has been working at the Patta store for a long time. It was there where we connected so then I invited Keanni to come to my birthday which was coming up and help out by doing the food. It was that spontaneous run-in that kicked off our relationship.
Just a few short months later, I then started working in the Patta Amsterdam store myself. It was around the same time that I started with Tree of Saba. I have always been interested in the healing powers of nature and during the lockdowns, I had more time to focus on this and I started to experiment in the kitchen. I would give out body lotions to my friends and or make teas for my homegirls with womb-related issues.
During this period I travelled to London for a month. While I was there all the alkaline food and Jamaican wisdom sparked my interest even more. A Jamaican man on the market in Brixton thought me how to make Sea Moss Gel and I am forever grateful for that.
We have pick-up moments in Amsterdam and Rotterdam and it became too much for me to handle all of that alone. Keanni is Rotterdam’s finest so I asked for her help with the pickups there. She’s also better with paperwork and numbers and stuff so I asked her to figure that part out too. She thankfully stayed and now we make a pretty good team.
What made you look for natural and organic solutions for beauty products?
I think it started when we got more connected to our roots.
Life is more simple on the islands. If your hair needs protein, you cut up some Aloe Vera. If you have a fever, you better eat some soursop.
Besides that, a lot of products are filled with ingredients and chemicals for no reason. Man-made products are not always designed in our best interest.
Without giving away too much of the secret recipe, what are some benefits of what is included in your products?
Some of our Sea Moss Gel benefits are mucus cleansing, and gut health, it’s anti-viral and -inflammatory, it hydrates the skin and fights skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and eczema.
Our Whipped Shea Butter helps with moisturizing all skin types, it’s rich in Vitamin E which has a healing effect on scar tissue.
The fatty acids in coconut oil have anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties; this is useful because bacteria or fungi cause many skin conditions.
What does the name Tree of Saba mean to you?
Keanni and I both have Caribbean roots. Saba is the island where our grandparents were born, it’s the foundation of TOS and a big inspiration.
The tree had to be in the name because it symbolizes ancestry/ the tree of life, the different branches of our company.
How do you typically use the product and in what other ways can it be used?
I eat two tablespoons of Sea Moss on an empty stomach every morning, I also apply it on my face as a peeling/mask.
You can also add it to smoothies, juices, tea, yoghurt, salad dressings etcetera. The product works as a natural thickener so it also works perfectly if you add it to soups, stews and sauces.
I apply the Whipped Shea Butter on my body every day. Customers told me oftentimes that they also like to apply it to their face and hair.
What can we expect from you over the coming months?
On December 4th we’ll be hosting a stand at Soul2Soul. A community market in Amsterdam-Noord. There will be music, a TNO chess match and other Amsterdam-owned brands too.
Next year I really wanna do a popup in Amsterdam and London.
I would like to develop more products, but for now, it’s more important that everything is going smoothly. We are not in a rush.
Your network of ambassadors seems quite organic and genuine, what role does your community hold in the Tree of Saba family?
A lot of customers and friends have been supporting us since before we even had a website, a logo or branding. They still spread the word and people kept on ordering via.
It’s also very meaningful to have conversations with customers that pick up their orders in person. Some people have been picking up orders twice a month since we started. Throughout the pickup moments, we made real connections. Some of the people that buy our products are the same people we see at concerts, parties or restaurants.
What role does wellness play within the health and beauty industry?
Wellness is the act of practising healthy habits daily to attain better physical and mental health outcomes. Wellness is a part of self-care and routine, two major things in the health and beauty industry right now.
What changes would you like to see within the beauty industry?
No more animal testing. More honesty about ingredients. I would like to see more black and POC-owned beauty brands, spas, skin care salons.