Ceylan Vie- Armelle Hugot
Armelle Hugot first started making all-natural products for her family and friends because she was tired of only finding skin care products that were loaded with chemicals and ingredients that she could hardly pronounce! Ready for a change, Armelle decided to branch away from over twenty years in the medical field and try something new! Something that first started as a hobby, soon became much more when Armelle dived in head first and spent several year training and gaining experience in aromatherapy, natural remedies and the manufacturing of cosmetics before she finally started Ceylan Vie!
Very much a family company, Armelle explained that Ceylan Vie became a fun project for the whole family with her daughter creating the unique logo for Ceylan Vie! “The name Ceylan Vie originates from Ceylon which in French is “Ceylan” and life in French is “vie” - the basis of the name Ceylan Vie is that plants give us life and without plants, we wouldn’t be here,” explained Armelle. Armelle went onto explain that the logo is actually a triad and not a lotus flower. In Taoism the number three is very important and the triad refers to a set of three strongly related units - the "Great Triad" refers to Heaven (Tien), Earth (Ti) and Man,
the human being (Jen).
A feet reflexologist now, but having worked for several years in the medical field Armelle was fully aware of the skin damage caused by harsh soaps as on certain days she would have to wash her hands up to thirty times in just one day! On the lookout for a natural alternative that was gentler and more suitable for heavy use, Armelle came across many brands that claimed to be natural, but a quick inspection of the ingredients showed otherwise. Unable to find what she was looking for, Armelle starting doing her research and tried out a range of unique natural combinations to create her own soap- initially for her family and friends, but soon after she decided to release her products so that others could also have a natural, safe alternative to the harsh soaps that are readily available.
“I am always on the lookout for local suppliers to purchase the natural, raw ingredients from for my products and favour local natural and organic artisanal productions from Sri Lanka. Having said that, I am still very careful to choose only those with natural and organic certifications to ensure the quality of our products are not jeopardised at all. All formulations for Ceylan Vie soaps and other natural products are created based on a lot of intense scientific research to ensure the product is not only safe but effective too,” said Armelle.
Using organic coconut oil as the main ingredient in the entire Ceylan Vie artisanal soap range, a traditional method using cold saponification is used to make the soaps. Doing this ensures there is no altering of the vegetable glycerin in the soap which makes it an excellent moisturizer and just perfect for heavy use as the soap washes gently and is completely free of chemicals and harmful toxins like parabens, polyethylene glycol (PEG), synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, sodium laureth (SLES), preservatives, palm oil and much more.
“With more consumers in Sri Lanka becoming aware of the dangers of the current capitalist production systems that ravage the environment, destroy and deprive people of their essential freedoms and livelihoods, and ultimately, their lives. It gives me great satisfaction to be able to provide people with the means to make better, more responsible choices when it comes to cosmetics and skincare at least,” said Armelle. She goes onto explain that while it is common to focus first on the price, before your health when choosing a product in Sri Lanka, there has finally been a shift and consumers understand the importance of using toxin-free, natural products that use eco-friendly packaging and take care of your health and the planet too!
Keeping with this, all Ceylan Vie’s products (handmade soaps that are all unique, mosquito repellants, body creams and natural deodorants) use eco-friendly, upcycled packaging which includes coconut rope and labels made with elephant dung paper- most of which are locally sourced from a small scale supplier who employes disadvantaged women in rural communities.
Tying back to Armelle’s respect for nature and commitment to protecting it, she hopes to launch a refilling system in the future to reuse the Ceylan Vie containers in order to keep her brand as eco-friendly as possible and reduce waste. While Armelle does want to see Ceylan Vie grow significantly with the launch of new products and even exports to Europe, she has pledged to always keep it human-sized and to continue to respect the values on which it was first founded- respect for nature and human beings!
"The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all Kinds." - Dalai Lama