Katie Wallace - Atom Boutique
I'm always on the lookout for new and exciting products and places. Whether it's an interesting piece of home decor or visiting a cool restaurant for the first time, I love the experience of trying something different. That is why I was thrilled after being introduced to the Instagram account of lifestyle and cosmetics brand, Atom Boutique. More than just a skincare brand, Atom momentarily transports customers to a Moroccan Hammam (bathhouse) through its luxurious oils and clays.
Katie Wallace co-founded Atom during her travels through Morocco. Her experiences lead her to discover the ancient beauty rituals of Berber women and consequently, pure Argan oil. What was once difficult to find outside of Morocco, this 100% pure and organic oil, boasting impressive cosmetic and therapeutic value, is now available through Atom's online boutique! I really love the versatility of Argan oil; as noted by Atom, it has uses that range from a rich moisturiser to a form of acne scar treatment.
As usual, I love learning more about the incredible minds behind these great brands. Katie was kind enough to spare some time to answer a few of my questions and... wait for it... put together a giveaway! Stay tuned over the next few days for more details, and until then, enjoy!
Styling & Photography Katie Wallace
+ I’m incredibly envious of your travels through Morocco! I’m fascinated by the basic day-to-day activities people undertake in different countries and cultures. What did you learn about the local way of life whilst you were over there?
Morocco is a country rich in history, tradition and culture most of which is tied to its official religion Islam. It is a place that has it all, beautiful coastlines, buzzing cities, breath-taking mountain ranges and also vast deserts. In certain places it feels like you are in a place forgotten by time and I think that was one of the main things we fell in love with. Although it can be very fast paced there, I feel that people are very patient and very welcoming.
Although Morocco is still a very male dominated society, the government is working hard to maintain and advance the rights of women and children through initiatives such as the women’s co-operatives that farm and produce pure argan oil. It was nice to meet with women who were given the opportunity to work and contribute to Moroccan society.
Life can get quite busy for the average Moroccan although it is very common to ensure time is found for a weekly trip to the local Hammam where Moroccans spend a great deal of time practicing their ancient beauty rituals of exfoliating their skin and thoroughly washing their hair and bodies. The large bathhouses are separated into men and women’s quarters and are steamy rooms where many people socialize as much as they bathe. We loved that locals found it so important to always find time for this age-old tradition. Our products are directly related to the Hammam experience and we hope to leave each customer feeling cleansed and relaxed just as they would after a Hammam session.
+ Whilst you were over in Morocco, can you remember your first experiences with Moroccan Argan Oil?
Our first experience with Argan Oil was at the Jemaa el Fnaa markets in Marrakech, many locals were selling it in all different containers and sizes. I asked a Moroccan friend of ours how I would choose where to purchase some from and he explained like many luxury products, counterfeit versions of the oil, disguised as true oil sourced from cooperatives, are sold to tourists. He explained further that the majority of this fake oil is sold in Marrakech and may only contain a fraction of true pure Argan Oil. In many stores in these Souks (markets) the oils are diluted with water, or sometimes even substituted with cheaper types of oil. He explained the process of how and where argan oil was farmed and said that he could take us there. So off we went to Essaouira to learn more about Argan Oil and to locate the best quality we could. We spent days travelling around the region with our local friend and met with countless women’s co-operatives. It was amazing to have a local help us to understand the entire process and how to choose the best product.
Through keeping our treatments completely pure we believe that we have given the oil the respect it deserves. Any local Moroccan will laugh at the thought of mixing or diluting pure Argan Oil. We thought it was only natural to listen to them and promise to bring you the best we could find.
+ Your website mentions Atom is the resulting combination of a passion for nature, travel and design. Are you able to elaborate on this?
The whole story behind Atom comes from our love of travel and adventure. The idea for Atom was born whilst on a six-month world trip that had landed us in Morocco in the middle of their summer. We fell in love with the fact that Argan Oil and Ghassoul Clay are both completely natural beauty treatments and were inspired by the local’s enthusiasm to reject modern chemical treatments and continue to reap the benefits of what mother-nature has to offer us. We are all one and we are all equal and we firmly believe in ensuring that all our products, current and future, leave minimal impact on the earth, on animals and people. Atom’s products are, and always will be, vegan and naturally sourced.
The aforementioned points are not the only things important to Atom, both of us have an avid interest in art and design, through the help of two good friends we worked towards creating a range that is aesthetically pleasing and something people can be proud to gift and display in their bathroom.
+ How do you see Atom developing in the future? Any future travel plans?
We plan on bringing out other products in the next few months that will continue to revolve around Morrocan beauty treatments and also possibly other boutique items that are inspired by the Moroccan lifestyle. Another trip to Morocco for business and pleasure is most definitely on the cards in the near future. The knowledge gained through travel is immeasurable and we believe it will directly influence and benefit the future of Atom. We would also like to factor in another visit to Berlin to enjoy the freedom and the extensive range of highest quality organic and vegan food that they have to offer and keep up with trends that seem to be continually set there.
+ Using any drawing instrument quickly sketch out the very first thing that goes through your head.