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Meet Sagal Jama: Entrepreneur Selling Authentic Vegan Skincare Products Derived From East African Ingredients

By Tommy Williams
Thursday April 1, 2021
Sagal Jama

The beauty industry has seen many trends come in and out of fashion over the years. Whilst some products have got significantly more complicated with a variety of new ingredients and technical production methods there is also a trend of consumers increasingly demanding simple raw products. Many of these raw products and the associated benefits with them stem from regions such as Africa or Asia where they have used these ingredients for generations for things such as skin or hair care. One entrepreneur who has utilized Qasil Leaf from Somaliland to create a range of beauty products for your skin is Sagal Jama, Founder of beauty brand Sagal Jama.

Early Beginnings 

Jama was born in Burao, Somaliland but unfortunately due to a civil war left to move to Ethiopia when she was three years old. She has fond memories of her youth in Ethiopia always being close to family and most notably remembers her aunts who used to wear these yellow face masks which she always wanted to wear “they all looked so beautiful and I wanted to wear it myself, what I didn’t know back then is it was Turmeric” she says. 

When she was eight her family moved to London which was a major change but she soon acclimated to the weather and food whilst family trips to Somaliland helped her to maintain communication with her family. On one trip in her teenage years, she recalls having acne and was extremely frustrated with the results she was getting from all the methods she had tried to cure it. Her grandmother noticed she was upset and recommended putting on a Qasil mask made from the Somali-grown Qasil leaf. After a few tries, the effects were noticeable and shortly after her spots were completely cleared up. Jama was sold on the product and in the years that followed would use it regularly, asking having family members bring some whenever visiting the U.K. She also recommended it to many friends who would be skeptical at first but after applying the mask a few times would see the impact and ask for more. Jama knew there was a business somewhere and went about setting it up alongside her day job.

Sagal Jama models with products
Sagal Jama models with products COURTESY OF SAGAL JAMA

Sagal Jama Beauty Brand

In developing her product Jama mixed the Qasil leaf with other products to help people with different skin types. These would include things such as Australian Clay for people with oily skin. When she developed the products she wanted to launch her first step was to get the products tested in a lab to “ensure the claims that we knew in Somaliland were true”. Once the quality of the product was confirmed the next steps were to work on a website and packaging. 

Jama had a very particular vision of how her brand would look and feel and fortunately found designers who worked with her on branding and web design. A while later she was ready to launch and after kicking off marketing via social media has managed to completely sell out of three batches of products with customers from around the world, superseding her expectations and highlighting the pent up demand from people who have come across Qasil Leaf and heard of its benefits.

Since the launch, Jama has re-ordered more and over the last 12 months she has seen sales grow significantly. Additionally, the brand is now sold on other platforms such as The VeganKind supermarket where they have continuously sold out. The next leg of Jama’s journey now she has found a great product-market fit is starting to build out her team. Until now Jama has bootstrapped and ran the business alongside looking after her five children. It’s been a tough journey that has required many late nights but her passion to share these great products that have benefited her tremendously keeps her going and as the product and business becomes more successful she hopes it can serve as inspiration to other mothers to pursue their passions and go after their dreams in business. 


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