Occasionally a brand or influencer brings a give-back mission to life through events or volunteer opportunities (if we’re lucky!). In our Socially Conscious Events section, we’ll recap that valuable experience and share simple ways you can get hands-on too.
There’s something especially luxurious about beauty brand, L’Occitane. Maybe it’s the fancy feeling that comes with bathing in the line’s aromatherapeutic essences of lavender, rose, and almond oil. Or maybe it’s just the cool French-girl-feeling that comes with a bar soap crafted using authentic traditions of Provence. Whatever the reason may be, L’Occitane products account for nearly 50 percent of the stash in my beauty closet making me the loveliest smelling hoarder on the planet!
So I was thrilled to learn that the brand I enlist for topical and sensorial reasons works just as hard to enrich the community as it does on making great skin care. After founder Olivier Baussan observed a blind woman shopping in a L’Occitane boutique in France, he vowed to focus their charitable efforts on fighting preventable blindness globally. The visionary started “small” (but actually not small at all) by including braille labeling in 1997, making the products accessible to blind and visually impaired customers everywhere. The L’Occitane Foundation, which was created in 2006 to drive and bring together the actions of public interest, then went on to fund non-governmental organization (NGO) projects to fight avoidable blindness in Burkina Faso. Since the creation of the Foundation, more than 2,000,000 people could receive eye care in developing countries. 2,000,000!
Last week L’Occitane invited me to experience their latest venture with Orbis, an international nonprofit that fights blindness around the world, which took the brand’s mission to a new heights. The partnership yielded a refreshed Flying Eye Hospital (the third generation) that I was fortunate enough to tour as the sole beauty outlet. The plane’s main mission is to host training programs in impoverished countries both in the plane’s viewing room and through surgeries and treatments conducted on board that are then live streamed to trainees. The hospital will make its first stops this fall in China and later Indonesia to help those in need.
For its part, L’Occitane donated $450,000 to sponsor the construction of the Patient Care & Laser Room on board the new aircraft. The room serves as a treatment and training area for underprivileged patients and their families during pre- and post-operative eye assessments. And why was the partnership so crucial for the socially conscious brand? “On a 2010 tour with Orbis, I witnessed the staff serving over 300 patients a day for everything from reading glasses to cataract cases. Many of the worst cases had been blind for years and after fifteen minutes of expert surgery and a short recovery, the patient was able to see again — a life changing miracle,” explains Kit Braden, Chairman of L’Occitane Limited of his impactful first visit with the Flying Eye Hospital.
Below, watch the eye-opening moment Braden helped kick off the new plane’s journey during a ribbon cutting ceremony.