Meryem Fankhauser, CEO, and Founder of Arganem.
After finishing Business Management School in Lausanne, Switzerland, Meryem has moved to Germany with her family. She is the Founder and CEO of Arganem, a company that provides customers with 100% pure argan oil.
World-famous Argan oil is a plant oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree that is endemic to Morocco. It is one of the rarest oils in the world and is known for its cosmetic and medical properties. It is an anti-aging skin moisturizer, nail strengthener, and is also used to treat a number of hair conditions such as dryness and slow growth.
I got in touch with Meryem to talk about her business success strategies, motivation, and inspiration.
Where did you get your business idea?
As a native Moroccan, I grew up with the ancient beauty and skin care routines. For example, spa ceremonies in Hammam, a steam bath, are an incredibly important part of every Moroccan woman’s life.
It is one of the most ancient care routines in the Orient, which involves several steps – all aimed at cleansing and relaxing body and soul. Moroccan women create their own spa ceremonies and for example, they enjoy bathing in a warm rose-scented water and then nourishing skin with the rich texture of argan oil. Scents and rich textures make it a very pleasant and wonderful experience! After moving to Europe I realized that in a very fast paced life and everyday stress I need to keep this tradition. At the same time I wanted not only keep these ancient beauty care secrets for myself, I wanted to introduce and share them with my new friends. Since Argan oil is an essential part of it, while other ingredients can be found locally, I thought that I will have to find a way to bring the Argan oil here.
What inspired you to start your business?
I have always been very entrepreneurial and always wanted to have my own business. I travel to Morocco to visit my parents, and at one of such family reunions, I met a woman from a cooperative near Agadir, a women association of argan oil producers. We talked about the process of producing oil and she told me about her time-consuming and labor-intensive task. The cracking is still done by hand because all attempts to mechanize production have been unsuccessful. I visited the association the next day to see whether and how we can cooperate. The association produce is 100% pure organic product, it is free of cheaper oils and additional chemicals. I thought that this is exactly what I am looking for. We came to an agreement and I brought this 100% pure Argan oil to Germany in 2016.
What is the mission of your business?
Besides promoting pure organic product – Argan oil, my mission as an entrepreneur is to support those who are in need, by providing business opportunities to the people I am working with. This is the women association in Agadir, the oil producers, and an organization of disabled people in Ludwigshafen, the workshop where the bottles are engraved.
What is unique about your business?
I am in direct contact with my customers and that create all sorts of advantages for them. I give personal consultation and advice to cosmetologist, masseurs, hair and makeup stylist on how to use the oil to get the best results possible. I have strong personal connections with my customers. What is also very important is that my company does not only bring benefits of beauty, it also supports and provides business opportunities to people in both countries – Morocco and Germany.
What would be your 5 key elements for starting and running a successful business?
I am convinced that authenticity and perseverance are the first qualities that anyone who wants to start a business needs to possess. Support by family and friends is very important, especially when you’ve just started and do not have it all under control. You have to completely believe in what you do and that your product provides great value to the customers. And the last one: never underestimate a solid business plan.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My grandma and my mom.
You are not only an entrepreneur, but you are also a busy mom. What challenges do you face?
Managing my agenda and keeping the balance between family time and time to work. I have learned to be very strict with my time and I keep the schedule. My kids are in the kindergarten until 3 pm, so I block off my mornings and early afternoon for my business, appointments, and meetings with customers. But evenings are totally family time! It is time to eat dinner together play with the kids. These hours are really quality hours I spend with my family, this is my way to stay happy and renew the energy, I will the next day!
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Stay true to your roots, follow your heart and believe in your ability to succeed.
Where can people find more about Arganem?
emai: email@example.com, or call directly +49 (0)176 72 19 11 98.