Beyond Skincare: A conversation with Tebogo Moraka, founder of Home of Nula

By Lindelwa Masuku

Home of Nula, founded by Tebogo Moraka, redefines beauty and wellness with a harmonious blend of nature and science, sustainability and self-care.

This brand invites us to embrace our uniqueness, championing inclusivity, and mindful living while nurturing ourselves, our communities, and our environment.

As beauty and wellness take centre stage in our daily lives, Home of Nula stands out as a symbol of transformative values. 

Founded by Tebogo Moraka, the brand is more than just skincare; it's a harmonious blend of nature and science, heritage and innovation, and sustainability and self-care.

It's a celebration of the rich tapestry of life, rooted in African wisdom, yet extending its embrace to all.

Home of Nula didn't emerge from thin air but rather from Tebogo's own journey – a journey that started with the challenge of a complicated skincare routine, born of the demands of a demanding job. 

It was in the quest for a simpler, yet nourishing solution that the seeds of Home of Nula were sown.

But what truly sets Home of Nula apart are its core values, a set of principles that go beyond skincare and resonate deeply with our collective human experience. 

Home of Nula, Moon Range Combo. Image supplied

Values like self-love, gentleness, self-awareness, and heritage preservation serve as guiding stars, lighting the path toward a more balanced and holistic approach to wellness.

As we delve into this interview with Tebogo Moraka, the visionary behind Home of Nula, we aim to uncover the essence of the brand. 

Join us as we delve into the philosophy and mission of Home of Nula. 

1. Tebogo Moraka, it's clear that Home of Nula is deeply rooted in the values of sustainability and ethical sourcing. Can you share a specific instance or story that showcases the positive impact your brand has had on the environment or local communities? 

That is correct. We pride ourselves on following a conservative approach in curating each of our products. I believe that this is the true African approach that supported not only our forebearers but also ourselves as the current generation.  

Nature has the incredible power of giving us what we need, without us always knowing, let alone asking for it. It is this principle that we honour by ensuring that our products’ foundation lies in what our skin, bodies, and homes need for true sustenance.  

As a brand, it has been important for us to not only prioritise sourcing local ingredients from the African continent such as Kalahari Melon Seed Oil, Baobab Oil, Aloe Vera and Timola but also utilise local talent in the production process as well by partnering with local experts. 

It is an added bonus to be physically close to the creative process of our products in order for our influence to reflect meaningfully - something that foreign manufacturers are not always able to offer.  

Additionally, our name originates from the word “Alkebulan” which means “Mother of mankind” and it is this meaning that has shaped our approach as a business. I  don’t know about you, but my experience of my mother, sister, grandmothers, and aunts is the truest reminder of the creative, loving, and nurturing power of the  African woman, and I believe it is something we all deserve to experience in some way or another.  

Subsequently, it felt most natural to carry this experience into the brand by ensuring that we work with curators and cultivators who value the need for us to have a nurturing relationship with Mother Nature in our use of her plants. It was only natural that it be done locally. 

I believe it is a symbol of gratitude and honour for all that Nature has and continues to bless us with. However, this is notwithstanding the responsibility we have to ensure that the next generation gets to experience this natural nurture similarly as we did, albeit unbeknownst to us in our formative years. 

We are a needs-based brand that honours and prioritises the human experience in the most natural and nurturing way throughout our value chain and we take pride in involving our local communities in our work. 

Home of Nula, Star Range Combo. Image supplied

2. Sustainability in skincare is a growing trend, but how do you see Home of  Nula pushing the boundaries of eco-friendly practices beyond just using sustainable ingredients and packaging? What's the next frontier for sustainable beauty? 

Sustainability is actually a returning trend and a necessary shift for where we find ourselves in the world. It is in no way a “new” concept, but rather a renaissance of a  true and reliable way of living - where there is enough for all of us to enjoy the natural gifts from life as we know it sensibly. 
We see ourselves continually marrying the best of the ever-evolving field of science with the best of Mother Nature’s medicine chest that is closest to us in a healthy, sustainable, and balanced way. 

Research remains at the heart of what we do and we strive to prove that nature and science are designed to work together harmoniously through our products.  

Our priority in that regard is to focus on our local indigenous plants as much as possible, and leveraging advanced science to healthily serve our consumers. 

For us,  the next frontier for sustainable beauty lies in encouraging our consumers to take only what they need when it comes to their skincare, as opposed to the excessive consumption patterns that have been normalised in the industry. 

3. You mentioned the importance of bridging the gap between nature and science in skincare. Can you elaborate on how Home of Nula achieves this balance and what unique approaches you incorporate into your products? 

In the field of cosmetics and beauty, there tends to be a false sense of polarity between nature and science, which plays itself out quite significantly in the marketing of brands. There tends to be a popularised and hardened approach to the use of science as a reverse mechanism to our natural biology and for the “natural”  approach is perceived as anti-science.  

There’s a quote I love by Barry Commoner that says “the proper use of science is not to conquer nature but to live in it” - it is this notion that we strive to live by at the Home of Nula. We see science as the language of nature, in the same way that accounting is the language of business. 

What we seek to do is use science and nature to work in harmony with our bodies and environment, rather than change or disrupt our natural and balanced flow. We are not a quick-fix brand - our categorisation within wellness lies in the principle that it is your lifestyle that influences your body’s natural response to varying stimuli. Our role is to assist you in re-calibrating your body to its most optimal state, naturally with the help of science.  

This is because our bodies are incredibly intelligent and always communicate responses to all kinds of stimuli all the time. Our job is to pay attention, learn to listen, and subsequently honour this intelligence for the sake of our vitality.  

Our products are curated to support anyone who is on a mission to get the best out of their natural bodies in a healthy and sustainable way, which is in a well-rounded and holistic manner.  

Home of Nula, Star Range Combo. Image supplied

4. As a Black African woman, you bring a unique perspective to the beauty industry. How does Home of Nula embrace and celebrate diversity, both in its products and its brand philosophy? 

I live by the principle that we are all human first before we are a particular gender. This is because as much as we are all naturally designed to seek our place in the world, it’s important for that individual seeking to not lead to division among us. 

This is what the concept of Ubuntu/Botho/Community is about and it reminds us that we all have a role to play that is needed by one another.  

As a result, we have consciously chosen to be an inclusive brand where we want everyone to know that they are welcome regardless of age, gender, race and orientation. It is an authentically African approach that we take pride in upholding,  very much in the same way that the African Continent is all of mankind’s first home.  

This is a classic example of our value for universal life principles that cut across age,  gender, race, religion, etc. 

5. The holistic approach to skincare and wellness is gaining momentum. How do you see Home of Nula contributing to the overall well-being of your customers beyond just skincare? 

Holistic wellness has always existed in our communities, though not in the commercialised manner that other forms of wellness care. Education, based on our research, lies at the forefront of our contribution. 

All of us are - by default - inhabitants of a Continent that is rich in minerals and indigenous plants yet we know and consume so much from other continents.  

Our desire is to uphold the value of our own produce in a dignified manner and to responsibly share this much-needed offering with the rest of the world because, as mentioned, we all have a role to play in the sustainability of life on Earth. This is what our contribution is focused on.  

The skin is the fingerprint of all that goes on inside the body. We seek to encourage our consumers to look after their minds, bodies, and homes in a meaningful and sustainable manner, instead of outsourcing this process to quick but short-term solutions that breed an unhealthy culture of dependency where there shouldn’t be.  

Home of Nula, Sirius Face, Hair & Body Mist. Image supplied

6. Ethical treatment of workers in the supply chain is a crucial consideration.  Can you share some of the ways in which Home of Nula ensures fair labour practices and supports the communities involved in your product sourcing? 

Upholding dignity in our practices is what makes our work so much more meaningful. We do not do this to score popularity points, but rather as a token of gratitude to Mother Nature who allows us to heal and thrive from her medicine chest. 

This is because we understand that when we employ a greedy and shortsighted approach to our work, it is a seed and bond we are planting in our own lives to receive the same treatment in however Life decides to give back to us.  

We fully understand that we are only but one part of a much greater sum of parts and so it does not serve us in the long term to be governed by selfishness in that regard. There is a need for this kind of work and we remain sober to the reality that the work will get done with or without our contribution. 

If we are not careful in how we go about it, Mother Nature cannot be fooled and will not reward abusive behaviour and practices with HER offerings to our wellbeing. 

Local community empowerment was a natural choice for us because it is the people in the surroundings who are the true caretakers of Mother Nature’s plants. Their proximity is merely an added bonus from a business perspective. 

We believe that when the local community is meaningfully honoured for their unique caretaking, we are rewarded far beyond any cost-saving measure because their unique knowledge and perspective on their own is incredibly valuable to our mission. 

We have also been conscious enough to partner with manufacturers that are ISO accredited as it reflects our commitment to upholding ethical and professional industry standards. 
7. In a world where greenwashing is a concern, how can consumers distinguish between genuinely sustainable products and those that merely claim to be? What should they look out for when making their purchasing decisions? 

Unfortunately for South African consumers, the onus is on each customer and consumer to verify the information provided by brand claims. 

My suggestion would be to make time to look up the ingredients and, where possible, find out where the products are produced as a start. It is, of course, more difficult to distinguish brand claims where the products are manufactured abroad, but that is not to say it is an impossible task at all. 

Your skin is worth the time it may cost to verify information that you feel called to investigate and brands should embrace this as an opportunity to foster a more trusting and credible relationship with their target market.  

Home of Nula, Orion Room & Linen Mist. Image supplied

8. Your brand draws inspiration from indigenous wisdom and African heritage.  Can you give us some insights into how these elements are incorporated into your product development and brand identity? 

Firstly, our name is inspired by the role that Africa plays as being Mankind’s first home. I would hope that the concept of home for most, if not all of us, is associated with feelings of belonging, comfort, identity & nurture.  
It is these timeless values that have inspired us as a brand to continue to uphold them for our consumers. 
For me personally, I’ve had the blessing of experiencing my maternal and paternal grandmothers in the most unique ways with regard to the values I refer to. 

My maternal grandmother for one, is a retired nursing professional who has always had great passion and a deep appreciation of the medical field and how it has helped preserve and improve the lives of her community. My late paternal grandmother who was an educator by profession, always fascinated me with how she had an interesting remedy for almost any and every ailment that one would share with her.  

For me, what was common between both of them was how they used their motherly nurture to help make their loved ones feel better and their own children can attest to this too.  

It is this experience of both my grandmothers that is the closest reference I have to my African heritage and its indigenous wisdom. 

They lived through multiple advancements in their lifetime and to see how they incorporated similar principles into their own lives, in their own unique way is something I still marvel at and am inspired by, as an African woman myself. They both enjoyed flawless skin too, which to me, is a reflection of how well they took care of themselves on all fronts.  

Home of Nula, Nafasi Reed Diffuser. Image supplied

9. The concept of self-care and mindfulness through skincare is intriguing. How does Home of Nula encourage customers to integrate these practices into their daily lives, and what benefits can they expect from doing so? 

Firstly, self-care is not a luxury but rather an essential practice that we all need to incorporate for the sake of our own preservation and well-being.  

It’s a beautiful way to honour and appreciate our bodies for all they do constantly in support of us without taking a break.  

At the heart of self-care and mindfulness for us at Home of Nula is gratitude, which does wonders for our nervous system at any given point in time. This is because, when our nervous system is healthily regulated, our daily experiences are improved significantly. 

This for us, at Home of Nula is crucial, given how overly stimulating the world can be for our precious bodies. A healthily regulated nervous system has the power to boost one’s mental health, which can lead to better decision-making and experiences. 

This is what we hope to instill and inspire our consumers with because we all deserve to live well and meaningfully.

10. Finally, Tebogo, if you could leave our readers with one key takeaway about  Home of Nula and its mission, what would it be, and why is it essential in today's beauty and wellness landscape? 

What I would like for Home of Nula’s legacy to be is that of embracing our uniqueness because there is always enough room for all of us to be our true selves.  

In the same way that the plants that we draw so much from are nurtured into their best form for the world’s benefit, we too can approach our humanity in this way to enjoy one another’s natural gifts, talents and perspectives as God and the Universe intended. 

We hope that the use of our special products will serve as a reminder of this necessary principle that can translate beautifully into other aspects of our lives. 

The better we are at taking care of ourselves, the better we will be at looking after our precious environment and the spaces we occupy. To be able to drive this mission through beauty is an honour and privilege, given how influential this industry is.

Home of Nula, Nafasi Room Spray. Image supplied

In a world that often rushes through life's experiences, Home of Nula invites us to pause, reflect, and rediscover the art of mindful living. 

Tebogo Moraka's vision goes far beyond skincare; it's a call to embrace our individuality and, in doing so, create a harmonious tapestry of diverse talents and perspectives.

As we conclude this enlightening conversation with Tebogo, we carry with us the essence of Home of Nula – a brand that seamlessly merges the wisdom of our ancestors with the advancements of science. A brand that champions sustainability, inclusivity, and self-care as essential components of holistic wellness.

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