For months, before the blog came out, I’ve told about my projects on Diversity linked to Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle to one of the ladies I consider a mentor and a friend.
If those who know me think I am a good PR, this lady beats me!
We’ve met in 2014, in Milan, during what was the second, ever, meeting in the history of the fast growing Rete al Femminile Association-to-be, and we’ve been friends since then. To me, she is such a brave lady and her intuition brought us to wonderful things, one of those is this interview.
I learnt about the Altearah Bio products while I was pregnant, 5 years ago at Manuela’s innovative beauty salon. Since then, Manuela evolved in her business and started researching about the usage of perfumes and colors to enhance people’s wellbeing, surely pioneering this field in Italy.
One day, after an interview, she asked me if what she was doing could somehow be linked to my research, and I instinctively replied “Yes! I am sure it can!”
I had a feeling that her use of colors and perfumes could be beneficial for All, and could open the doors to a new perspective and conversation on beauty, self-care and well-being.
As we say in Italian: “The Cherry on top of the Cake” was when she proposed to share this opportunity with the Owner of the brand: the Lady who took over the Company in 2007 and made the complete facelift that helped Altearah reposition as the brand that bases its actions on colour emotions.
Perfumes are magic, they recall emotions and memories, they can heal, relieve, make people fall in love.
Please enjoy this so special double interview between Shahida Siddique, the magic owner of Altearah Bio and Manuela Sala Imperiali, the Italian big-hearted business-woman, SpiritualCoach® and Emotional Color Mentor who believes in the power of colors, perfumes and love.
WHO ARE YOU?
SHAHIDA: My name is Shahida Siddique
MANUELA : I am a multi-twenty years old in constant evolution.
I am curious and I highly enjoy experimenting. I always like to think about new projects, grow personally and help others grow.
Very recently I completed a training as SpiritualCoach®, at the Lucia Merico Academy: a luminous and pioneer Italian woman.
By incorporating skills and interests, studies and predispositions, from art to spirituality, from creativity to holistic and energetic techniques, I found that the definition “Alchemist of creative well-being” fits me perfectly. I believe it gives the idea of how, what is deemed more appropriate can be extracted from a magic cylinder, every time a person needs it, to accompany him/her, with discretion, on his/her personal path towards well-being.
SHAHIDA: WHAT IS THE CONCEPT THAT HAS DRIVEN YOUR BUSINESS?
The concept is simple – it is to use creativity and passion for our work to empower those with whatever emotion or strength they need, and to do so with the highest respect for nature and our environment. In short, Altearah is about sharing positivity, celebrating colour, and helping to balance and emotionally harmonize through aromatherapy and essential oils. Altearah Bio has simplified the use of Aromatherapy and Chromotherapy by formulating 14 ready-to-use compositions, each representing a colour, and kick-starting the journey towards a positive emotion. By matching the wavelength of colour with that of smell, we give you 14 promises of well-being to meet all expectations. All of our products, be it body or face, are based off of the concept of the colour-coded essential oil and aromatic blend that encourages the transformation towards one of our 14 positive emotions. Whether you wish to indulge yourself in a relaxing moment, treat yourself to some self-care, lose yourself in the aromas of the Sud de France, or experience a multi-sensory approach to wellness, our products based on organic essential oils are personalized to your desire.
We call our products ‘emotive cosmetics’ because that’s just what they are – cosmetics that create an emotional response.
The picture shows Shahida, smiling at the camera. She is a Pakistani lady. Sitting on a wooden bench, wearing a black outfit composed by a tank top, a see-through blouse and sigarette pants.
The pictures shows Manuela, a white Italian lady, looking at the camera. She has short grey hair, frame-less glasses and is wearing purple lipstick and a white blouse.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU START YOUR ACTIVITY WITH ALTEARAH?
SHAHIDA: It’s quite a long story but…like many others in this industry, I started my career first in financial services and later in healthcare after an MBA in marketing. Through my various jobs across the sector, over the first 10 years of my working life, I saw how so many providers were more focused on the bottom line than they were about helping people to be more holistically healthy and well, body, mind, spirit or socially. After I had been part of an accident, I was told by my doctors that I should be fine, but yet I was in physical pain. I was looking around and exploring holistic solutions for relief to my physical injuries, and that is when I found a small start-up in the South of France that was working on this concept of Colour-Therapy driven Aromatherapy products – which would grow to become my dear Altearah. I quickly realized that these products were so powerful and truly poetic in their impact in my life. I became part of the business officially and launched my wellness business in Dubai over 17 years ago, pioneering the introduction of organic and natural products within the ÙAE. Fortunately, times have changed since then and now, natural and organic products are plentiful in the market! I am proud to have seen and been a part of the growth in the well-being industry, and so incredibly happy with where Altearah has reached all these years later.
MANUELA: I like to call mine a passion and a continuous training. Always interested in the world of personal growth and the concept of total well-being, I have been involved for a decade in knowing and experimenting holistic, well-being and aesthetic, ethical and innovative treatments, with the aim of collecting information to be shared, so that everyone could eventually find the most suitable match with its sensitivity and nature, towars a life in balance and harmony.
My natural tendency to create collaborations, and to “network”, puts me continuously in contact with wonderful people and amazing projects, where everyone brings their little piece that gives life to new and wider collective projects.
One of these is my collaboration with the Sognosoloacolori portal, born from an intuition and created by the will of Michela Bellomo, graphic and color designer with the aim of spreading the value of color, its infinite applications and its multiple benefits, in the different areas of life and work.
The image shows 8 Altearah perfume bottles, they are cilinder shaped with a cap that resembles a crown.
SHAHIDA: It starts from a desire to create an organic product that truly benefits the user; that can accompany someone throughout their day to provide emotional and energetic relief, anti-stress and eventually resilience to emotional disconnections. When you search for a field of products that can do this, the science of olfactotherapy is an interesting exploration.
Olfactotherapy works on the sensory system used for smell. Every aroma we smell transmits a signal towards the Hippocampus, which plays a critical role in invoking memory and also in forming new memories, our day to day memories and reactions to different stimuli. So in the goal to provide a product that provides emotional relief, tapping into the sense of smell and creating resilience was a clear and powerful route to take – that’s why perfumes!
We wanted to go a step further than just perfumes, by building perfumes based off of certified organic aromatherapy and sourcing essential oils for physical and psychological well-being, from ethical and certified suppliers.
MANUELA: The concept on which the whole Altearah Bio philosophy is based, its simple but extremely profound approach, the involvement on an emotional level, won me over. Bringing a person to talk about what he/she really feels deep inside through an instinctive choice of colors is surprising and fascinating.
Being able to subsequently suggest the use of some practical tools, such as the emotional cosmetic line, to improve one’s daily life through small steps and gestures, that bring to real positive effects, is a little magic every time.
I nicknamed this line the “handbag chromotherapy” as it is a rebalancing resource always at hand, capable of interacting with our emotions and bringing balance and harmony into everyday life in a very easy and natural way.
WHAT HAVE BEEN THE GREATEST CHALLENGES SINCE YOU STARTED?
SHAHIDA: Every day with Altearah has been a blessing, because it is another day that I can work towards a beautiful and meaningful mission, but of course it comes with challenges. For me, a recurring challenge has been that my business and I, don’t have the same cultural background. I am a Pakistani expat living in Dubai and my business was founded and grounded in the European culture. There is often a language barrier, and I may feel myself at odds sometimes, due to being foreign to the audience that we are speaking to. I am proud every day, that Altearah is a French brand and authentically made in the South of France, but as the Owner and President of the company, I do face a challenge of reconciling if what I may see as the right choice aligns with the European mindsets that love our brand.
But at the end of the day, I feel myself ingrained in Altearah: I have seen major changes in myself and my thinking, that Altearah rooted in me.
Altearah is an indipendent identity, asit is a culture itself, made up of a little of you and a little of me, on our mutual vision for emotional wellbeing.
MANUELA: The concept and use of color are unfortunately still relegated to niche spaces and environments.
The challenge is ongoing, and it consists in overcoming distrust, perplexity, and even disbelief.
Both chromotherapy and aromatherapy have ancient origins and this “perplexity” is somehow unbelievable but we need to continue sowing, so that this natural rebalancing tool, can spread back to benefit as many people as possible.
The picture shows a moment in the laboratory where the products are made and analyzed. it shows two lab technicians at work
CAN PERFUMES GIVE RELIEF TO PEOPLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS AND INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES?
The picture shows a bottle of Altearah turquoise perfume and its pack on the right, placed on sand with sea, waves and sailing boat in the back.
SHAHIDA: To start off, all aromas, due to their biological connection to our olfactory bulbs, thalamus and hippocampus, have the power to deeply affect our emotional state. This is the reason that the smell of a passing stranger may remind you of a comforting childhood memory and bring a smile to your face.
Given this, should all perfumes be used for relief? No.
In the world we live in, the word ‘perfume’ is sometimes synonymous with chemical concoctions for aesthetic reasons, which isn’t the healthiest thing for us. The typical perfume to wear may not give relief to anybody, as it is just for an external application to benefit those around us. But on the other side of this coin, functional perfumes, or Altearah’s organic Parfums de Soin (=treatment perfumes), of course provide relief: this is the very purpose for which they were designed – to provide support to those in the ways that they need.
Anyone in the world, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or age, regardless of any illness, disability or physical reality, craves to be in balance, to be centered, to find peace, to feel loved, to foster their creativity, to be able to breathe easy – and in this way, everyone is open to accept a certain amount of emotional relief through perfumes.
We all have our emotions, we all have our feelings, and the truth is – the colours and the scents of our perfumes, don’t discriminate or affect people without mental illness or disabilities in any way that is different from those with. All people have their own preferences of what colour and what emotion they need at a given time. In that way, our 14 perfumes can respond directly to them, as they carry with them the impact of a certain emotion. These perfumes can be inhaled deeply in a moment of meditation, or as a daily ritual, to provide relief, relaxation and serenity, which is especially powerful.
MANUELA: Perfumes, through the sense of smell, the most instinctive and least filtered sense among our five senses, reach and stimulate the parts of the brain that govern memories and emotions.
Inhaling perfumes, synergies of specific essential oils suitable for individuals and individual circumstances can certainly bring relief to every body!
HOW CAN PERFUMES BE PURCHASED AND WHAT TREATMENTS CAN BE PROVIDED?
SHAHIDA: Anyone around the world can purchase our Altearah Parfums de Soin through our France website www.altearah.com or if you are in Italy, please locate your closest reseller – we have some incredible partners right at your fingertips that carry all of the products you may be looking for thanks to our Italian distributor www.hpsmilano.it.
We couple our products by offering very personalised treatments in coordination with the colour or need that you choose. For example, if your colour today is Emerald – our Altearah partners offer customized treatments to promote deep oxygenation for your skin and body.
MANUELA: Happy to be in Italy and have all this at my fingertips to provide my customers and friends with fascinating experiences.
ANY SPECIAL EVENTS AND OFFERS FOR CHRISTMAS?
SHAHIDA: During the winter season, our energies are low and we are staying indoors most of the time (even more so in 2020 due to the pandemic). We crave some deep, foundational energy as well as the re-vitalizing spirit that we take for granted in other seasons. We also long for harmonizing balance and to keep a steady head after a year of ups and downs. We recommend trying out our Royal Purple – Energy, Red – Vitality and Purple – Balance synergies, which support the body to deeply re-energize and balance the mind, body and spirit.
Another item that is really amazing that we have proposed during this period is the at-home kit to de-stress and embrace much needed support, it’s called – “My Moment of Repair and Clarity”. The idea of this set is to offer healing, soothing and detoxifying scents and products to help to repair and refresh oneself after this grueling and emotional period of quarantining and self-isolation.
The products go in the sequence of deep repair: first we scrub away our impurities and pollution with Tea Tree (with our WHITE Scrub), then we use a concentrated essential oil blend with Helichrysum to deeply heal (SILVER Concentrate Roll-On), and then we arrive to the INDIGO Parfum de Soin, which offers refreshing, clarifying feelings that bring reality back into focus.
We do have something else beautiful available on our website, as well! It’s a kind of ‘care package’ – where we are including Orange Parfum de Soin and Orange Concentrate Roll-On. Together, the purpose of this gift set is to rejuvenate, and bring a touch of sweetness to your holiday season. With the amber scents of the colour Orange, it is a charming and centering moment. The freshness of the Mandarin gives way to the sensual softness of Sweet Orange, enhanced with oriental notes that captivate all of our senses.
MANUELA: A consultancy linked to the choice, color testing in a holistic key, and the use of the connected emotional cosmetics line, has no time and no space.
When we think of a gift for the people we love, we instinctively know what can please them. If the person we are thinking of is sensitive, attentive to his/her well-being and personal growth, curious and open to self-discovery, a gift that speaks of color, beauty and harmony can make the difference.
The picture shows the products from the Orange perfume line, especially thought for Xmas. A golden enlighted Christams tree is on the back, with a blurry effect.
The purple pattern created by Manuela Imperiali and Michela Bellomo that can be used as desktop or smartphone backgrounds . It has some flowery-like drawing in a lighter shade.
The Emotional Color Experiences is an ensemble of consulting sessions I created to accompany people in identifying the key colors of their daily well-being. It goes beyond the traditional value of colors and the definitions of personalities as it also adds techniques of meditative art and poetic writing.
For this very specific Christmas I would like to share the series of patterns created with Michela Bellomo based on my drawings, which can be used as mobile phones or PCs backgrounds and be beneficial colors vibes always available and at hand.
These patterns are part of a larger and developing project we called Emotional Color Mentoring. To receive your own, put yourself in a state of relaxation and then choose the color that most attracts you among the 14 colors available. The choice, to have value, must be made instinctively, without thinking about the colors you usually like. If you are unable to choose, try again after taking a few deep breaths: look at the color palette after closing your eyes for a moment.
The color you choose will correspond to the one you need on that very right moment.
To receive your emotional pattern and deepen the well-being that colors can bring into your life, I invite you to subscribe to the Sognosoloacolori group https://www.facebook.com/groups/135201323760355 and post a comment with the color you chose! We will be happy to answer by sending you our Emotional Color Pattern.
Before ending, I would like to share a heartfelt thanks to Angela [Bianchi], for the space on this beautiful, and extremely innovative, blog.
The picture shows the 14 shades of color to choose from. From up left purple, red, orange, gold, yellow, green, emerald, turquoise, pink, blue, indaco, violet, white, silver.
[So honored to have been able to carry out this interview: Thank you Manuela and Shahida!]
Learn More about these 2 amazing ladies:
Shahida Siddique and Altearah: