Hayat Gaamouche’s story is such a refreshingly inspiring and beautiful one. It is a story of passion, determination, trusting her instinct, retouching base with her roots, love and fulfilment. And much more!
Hayat has always been sensitive to plants and everything that is linked to the earth. Born in Morocco and raised with many other extended family members on a farm in the mountains, Hayat’s life radically changed when she moved to France at the age of six to join her father. Although the beginnings were tough and Hayat did not speak any French upon her arrival to France, she was well supported and became an excellent pupil at school only two years following her move. She engaged in dancing very early on, which became an integral part of her life and accompanied her right until university. Since our early experiences never really leave us, Hayat’s studies linked her back to plants. She majored in nutrition and international commerce and, some years later, went back to formal education to study communications. Hayat’s early professional career ranged from working at a hospital as well as at a pharmacy in France, on the fields in Italy with herbalists, and in Belgium in the plants-based cosmetics industry. Her desire for diversity in her work and more independence led Hayat to set up her services as a freelancer for some time. Later, she accepted an offer to work in an American multi-national beauty company in Paris as product manager, touching upon as diverse responsibilities as R&D, commerce, marketing and communication. Despite it being a wonderful professional experience, after five years of conscientious effort and dedication, she had had enough. That five-year corporate stint left her physically exhausted and morally devoid of meaning. What followed, however, was life transforming. A rebirth! Hayat reconnected with her origins in Morocco, where she hadn’t been in 10 years. She also took up again her childhood passion, dancing. From feeling down and stressed, Hayat gradually came to life again. Such positivity nourished the activity Hayat is pursuing today. After three years of exploration, research and preparation, Hayat launched her own natural cosmetics brand, LavyzOë Paris, focusing on the pure virtues of the Moroccan rose and supporting local ethical production. Her serums and oils are truly like elixirs of life! Just one smell and they instantly make you feel invigorated – not to mention how soft and replenished they make your skin feel. Hayat has recently expanded her range of plants to include the Egyptian jasmine: a pure wonder! The transformation for Hayat was not only professional, but also personal: she recently gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and, with her partner, is planning to move soon from busy Paris to smaller and calmer Lyon. That significant move will also represent a full circle, since it will lead her and her family to be more in touch with nature… back to where it all started for Hayat.
Emerald Jaaz is delighted to speak with Hayat Gaamocuhe, whose story shows that the Universe has a nice “plan” for those who aren’t afraid of the (initial) discomfort to be true to themselves. It also is a wonderful illustration that the seemingly disconnected things we do in the various stages of our lives one day come together and make perfect sense!
“No need to force things. The key here is to listen to yourself: do what you love and respect your own rhythm.”
– Hayat Gaamouche
Emerald Jaaz: Hayat, what do you enjoy the most about your current lifestyle?
Hayat Gaamouche: Today, I feel that I am reconnected to myself again. Quitting the corporate world, my journey back to Morocco, taking up dancing again, the launch of my ethical cosmetics business, LavyzOë Paris, that focuses on flowers, living with the love of my life, the birth of my son… all represent my personal rebirth. It’s funny, because the name I gave to my first cosmetics collection is “Renaissance”, meaning “rebirth” in French. I wasn’t aware of it at the time when I came up with the name, but, unconsciously, I was actually referring to my own personal rebirth. I also realise now that my own rebirth and all the wonderful things linked to that are actually the sum of all of my previous experiences in life. It is as if the dots have been joined together, creating a beautiful picture. In my current lifestyle I very much value my independence and the fact that I am doing what I love. I enjoy being in touch with nature through my business and to share the many virtues of flowers with others. This all came to me only because I took the steps – and I have to say, many times quite uncomfortable steps – to become connected to myself. It has certainly paid off so far! Life is a fascinating journey.
Emerald Jaaz: What does your current professional activity consist of?
Hayat Gaamouche: I am the co-founder and owner, with my sister, Dounia, and CEO of LavyzOë Paris. The etymology of the name refers to “life”. We make pure and ethical cosmetics products for the face from two flowers: Damascus rose and jasmine. The roses are cultivated at a cooperative in the Valley of Dadès (also called the Valley of the Roses), situated at the gates of the Moroccan desert. Local women handpick them. The jasmine is cultivated in Egypt. The cosmetics products we make are pure oils, serums and masks, which combine the virtues of the flowers with vegetable oil from the argan tree. All of our products are manufactured in France under strict European norms and legislations. They are available to be purchased via the e-shop on the LavyzOë Paris website. As with the majority of new start up companies, I am in charge of everything from sourcing to development; from marketing and communication to sales. It is exciting and I definitely learn a lot! Sure, it is a lot of work, but it enables me to work at my own pace, make my own decisions and organise my time as I like, to be there for my son and to pursue my other passion of dancing. That is also why I want to keep my company independent.
Emerald Jaaz: What made you choose to live the life you do today?
Hayat Gaamouche: Actually, the rose came to me – and at the right moment! I was ready to welcome the rose into my life. It was at a time when I needed to reconnect to nature. But not only that: I also accepted myself, my Moroccan Arabic origins, my femininity, my sensitive and tender side… The rose flower from the Moroccan Valley of the Roses symbolises all of these qualities. I discovered the Valley of the Roses by “coincidence” at the end of my solo trip through Morocco. I was tired, lost and discouraged when I stumbled upon this incredibly beautiful place, full of roses, at the entrance to the desert. It was like en epiphany moment for me. I decided to stay there and work with the women picking the roses for a few weeks. It was a lot of work, we had to wake up very early and it was very physical. But incredibly rewarding! I literally came alive. The health issues I had due to stress from the last years in the corporate world disappeared and I was glowing “like a flower”, as they say. The scenery in that valley is simply breath-taking. The scent of the rose gives you so much energy. The sunrises and sunsets are jaw-dropping. Ultimately, that visit led me to choose to live the life I do today. Interestingly, it was at the very moment when I decided to fully accept myself. That was not a coincidence – I am certain of that! My choice also has a lot to do with the pleasure I have when I share the things I love with others.
Emerald Jaaz: What are your main interests and passions; and what causes are close to your heart?
Hayat Gaamouche: I am very sensitive to the topic around food and gastronomy: ethical, quality, fresh, good and healthy eating. I am an adept of the “slow food” movement and, for instance, love to go to the weekly market to buy my produce directly form the farmers. That way I know it is good. I also enjoy the atmosphere around the markets and the fact that you can take your time and interact with the producers. Being an epicurean, I love good food. I link my love for travel to my love for gastronomy. Whenever I go somewhere, part of the experience is discovering the local dishes and customs. That brings us back to the importance I attach to individuals. I enjoy getting to know new people from all walks of life. I am also a great fan of cinema and television series – French, Italian, American… as well as music.
Emerald Jaaz: What do you like most about Paris, the city you currently live in?
Hayat Gaamouche: Paris is the centre for culture: everything is here and it is quite accessible. At the same time, I am looking forward to our move to Lyon soon. As much as I love Paris for its beauty and culture, I am at a phase of my life where I find myself to crave more nature and space. I started to feel these needs when I was pregnant. I am making the most of Paris now, during the time before we move. I am also very excited at the thought of a more simple and natural way of living, away from the big city life.
Emerald Jaaz: What is the source of your inspiration and motivation?
Hayat Gaamouche: I find that I am becoming more and more sensitive to the subtleties and the magic of nature. We are, after all, natural beings! Notions such as energy, body, dance… are all symbols that are linked to nature.
Emerald Jaaz: Please give us an example of one of your typical days.
Hayat Gaamouche:At the moment, my days take on the rhythm of my baby boy, Elias. When he naps in the morning, I work in front of the computer: emails, communication… In the afternoon, I put Elias in a stroller and we go to the post-office to send out LavyzÖe orders to clients. If the weather is nice, we spend some time outside to get some fresh air. In the evenings I like to read.
Emerald Jaaz: Please give us an example of one of your ideal weekends.
Hayat Gaamouche: My ideal weekend is a combination of dancing, going out to the theatre, seeing friends and reading.
Emerald Jaaz: Among the places you have visited, which one moved you the most?
Hayat Gaamouche: By far, the Valley of the Roses in Morocco moved me the most – not only for its incredible beauty, but also because it symbolised a brand new beginning for me: my own personal and professional “renaissance”.
Emerald Jaaz: Which place do you like to return to regularly and why?
Hayat Gaamouche: I like to regularly return to the Provence region in France where we have a family home. It is situated high up in the hills in Saint Césare sur Siagne, about 20 minutes from Grasse (the scent capital of the world). There, we like to disconnect from everything, especially from our devices, and reconnect to ourselves and to one other. The time we spend there is very precious. The house has traditional architecture and all around it are olive trees with splendid views. I love it!
Emerald Jaaz: Which place would you like to visit that you haven’t yet visited?
Hayat Gaamouche: The next place I would like to visit is Egypt, since I started to work with Egyptian jasmine. I would love to take part in a jasmine harvest there.
Emerald Jaaz: Any recent cultural tips?
Hayat Gaamouche: With my new business, I had to adapt to the more “oriental” way of working since I started out working with roses from Morocco. I had to learn to take on a different approach to time and I certainly had to learn to be more patient. Interestingly, I realised that, in many cases, we get more done when we “take our time”, make the most of the various phases and enjoy them! When we learn to eliminate impatience, tensions and stress linked to time, things become more fluid and, on top of that, we become a lot more productive.
Emerald Jaaz: What motivates you to achieve your goals and to get out of bed in the morning?
Hayat Gaamouche: I love what I do and it procures me a lot of joy. The activity I do is aligned with my core beliefs and values. In addition, I love to share with others my passions. That alone is very motivating to get out of bed in the morning! Having said that, I have also learnt to respect myself more: if I am feeling tired, I get out of bed a little later and I am more productive. No need to force things. The key here is to listen to yourself: do what you love and respect your own rhythm. I find that it not only works the best, but it is also the most enjoyable. A virtuous cycle!
Emerald Jaaz: What are you most grateful for?
Hayat Gaamouche: I am most grateful for life – simply and in all its beauty and complexity. Thanks to my previous experiences – even to the less pleasant and more challenging ones – today I do what I enjoy. I am very lucky to have linked these various phases so that I can benefit from them in the lifestyle I lead today. There are moments in life when you do things and there are moments when you need to wait for the flowers to bloom. Life is all about putting yourself in a state of mind so that you are capable of really listening to yourself – which means being true to yourself. Regularly disconnecting from technological devices and social media helps!
Emerald Jaaz: What values are key to you?
Hayat Gaamouche: The values that are key to me are the ones that are linked to life and to everything that is living: humans, animals, as well as nature and the environment that we must respect. Being alive means being connected to yourself and feeling fulfilled. That also signifies being spontaneous and savouring the present instant. It is not a coincidence that the name of my company, LavyzÖe, means life! The notions of sharing, the condition of women – such as female cooperatives – and creating connections are also very important to me.
Emerald Jaaz: Please share with us an important lesson you learnt in life.
Hayat Gaamouche: Listen to yourself!
Thank you very much, Hayat, for this interview full of inspiration and beauty!