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Rabat – Moroccan entrepreneur Salima Hadimi is bringing Morocco’s natural beauty secrets to the UK with her brand Atelier Yto.
“At Atelier Yto, we are using the aromatherapy of oils made of ingredients sourced locally from the Atlas Mountains, to introduce in each and every bottle, a memory and a different facet of Moroccan and North African culture,” Hadimi explained to Morocco World News.
“Our main activity is experimenting with ancestral formulations to create the perfect minimal and multi-tasking solutions using only wholesome and organic ingredients.”
Hadimi chose the name Atelier Yto to assert her brand as “a workshop for holistic beauty.” She wanted something that could represent the authenticity of the Amazigh people, whom she aspires to honor with her products.
With her collection of natural hair and body oils, the Moroccan entrepreneur seeks to channel her Atlas ancestry in her ambition of reimagining modern beauty regimes.
Atelier Yto is all-natural, organic, and ethical, with hand-picked raw ingredients sourced in tandem with female-run cooperatives in Morocco. The brand promotes fair-trade, organic, fragrance-free, and cruelty-free skincare and enjoys certification from Ecocert, USDA, and multiple fair trade organizations.
The core ingredients of Atelier Yto products include argan oil, mint, Marrakech orange blossom, and sweet almond oil. Hadimi sources all of her ingredients from the Atlas Mountains, where Moroccans have used them for centuries to treat inflammation, acne, and clogged pores, and reverse signs of aging.
The origins of Atelier Yto
With Atelier Yto, Salima Hadimi is “uniting ancient and modern wisdom to balance the skin and body.”
The entrepreneur is a descendent of the Oulad Tidranine of the Sahara, an established tribe of North African herbalists and one of the oldest Arab tribes that settled in Morocco.
“Tidranine” is an Amazigh name meaning “small mountains.” The businesswoman said the tribespeople were renowned pioneers of international trade in the region.
“Their merchant caravans traveled through the Sahara and its commercial centers to trade and acquire knowledge,” she said of her ancestors.
“Oulad Tidranine are still considered an epicenter of religious, cultural, and commercial collective memory of the south of Morocco. They have received recognition from the Moroccan sultans for their work in education in this area,” she continued.
Hadimi shared with MWN the story of her grandfather, who settled in the Atlas Mountains in the outskirts of Marrakech.
“My grandfather was a merchant and herbalist known for the purity of his goods, which I embraced as the main pillar of the philosophy of Atelier Yto.”
Of her great grandfather, she said he was a scholar of alternative and herbal medicine who spent his days teaching his ancestral knowledge and his nights “studying in his room, looking over deserted rocky hills.”
“His room was filled up to the ceiling with books about philosophy, politics, and medicine, and he made sure to transmit this knowledge to his kids before passing.”
The inspiration for Atelier Yto
Salima Hadimi’s road to Atelier Yto began as a personal journey of self-discovery.
After being diagnosed with severe dermatitis and experiencing rashes on my body as a result of allergic reactions, she began a journey to discover “the hidden beauty secrets of the Moroccan Atlas Mountains, trying to reconnect with holistic and ancient skincare beauty to heal my body in and out with pure and natural solutions.”
After months of experimenting with her ancestral minimal skincare, using unaltered ingredients, and exploring minimalism at all levels, “this new wellness lifestyle regime healed my skin and gave me the relief that I needed mentally and physically.”
“In this journey of rediscovery, it was very tricky to get some of the ingredients in their wholesome and pure form,” she said, as many brands mix essential oils with unnecessary fillers.
“I knew then at my astonishment that there was actually a very specific untouched niche in the market perfect for a new venture.” This, she likes to jovially point out, is what inspired her to bring Atelier Yto to life.
Becoming a businesswoman
But Salima Hadimi’s growth in the world of beauty and skincare was far from a straight shot.
“As a Moroccan woman who founded and built my own business from scratch in the UK, I know how difficult it is to turn an idea into a lucrative business no matter how much you believe in it, especially in the oversaturated market of today’s world,” she said.
She began her professional journey working in production in the art business and was promoted to a museum manager. Hadimi collaborated with curators, artists, and galleries to establish exhibitions and art fairs, such as the Marrakech Biennial.
After studying interior design, she changed her career path to product design, working for an international luxury goods brand based in Paris and Marrakech.
It was then and there that Hadimi discovered her love for Moroccan artistry. As this newfound love turned into a passion and an enriching quest for authenticity, she “embraced a personal style that celebrates the ancestral artisanship in modern interpretations.”
Like many others before her, the desire to fully immerse herself in what spoke to her heart, to embrace the unmatched fullness that authenticity brings, eventually inspired to leave her job.
She put her soul and energy into carving a new path, in bringing her passion to life, by focusing on building her own business and giving back to her birth country.
“Looking back to the launch of Atelier Yto, I was overwhelmed with fear, love, and anticipation.
“What I learned from my experience is to never lose faith or give your inner self-doubt a voice, trust your gut; hard work will eventually pay off.”
Beauty as a means of cultural exchange
Atelier Yto is not only a beauty and wellness brand—it is a vessel for Moroccan cultural exchange.
“I truly believe that products can bring communities closer,” Salima Hadimi enthused, explaining that storytelling is “a very important strategic tool” she uses to honor Morocco.
The ancient art of storytelling “helps us identify the content to share about the Moroccan culture, communicate our message to new consumers, and create a deeper connection with our clients.”
“Sharing all these stories helped us to create a different experience for our audience by expressing who we are, what we believe in, and what message we want to express,” Hadimi said.
“Our people made their mark in beauty and they have developed the best savoir-faire. I am using skincare to educate people on the impressive and iconic collective memory of Moroccan communities.”