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Story Under the Lid

There's something extra sweet under this lid! Sunny Honey Home was co-created with 8 entrepreneurs with refugee backgrounds and is inspired by the tastes of Morocco, Afghanistan, and Syria.

We sat down with Laila, one of the Sunny Honey Home co-creators and founder of skincare brand, Gilguzi, to talk about her experience and how she has put her learnings into practice in her own business. 

So grab a tub & spoon and enjoy the read! 

Hi Laila! You were one of the co-creators of Sunny Honey Home. How did you hear about the Ice Cream Design Challenge and what motivated you to take part?

In 2021 I completed the UP Collective programme, and it was here I heard about the Ice Cream Design Challenge. I was developing the concept for my skincare brand, Gilguzi, at this time and thought working alongside the Ben & Jerry’s team to design a new product could be a great opportunity to learn some new skills that could help me in my own business journey. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it sounded exciting and as an entrepreneur I am always open to new learning opportunities. 

Please tell us a bit more about yourself and your business, Gilguzi?

I am the founder of the social enterprise Gilguzi - an organic and ethical skincare and wellness brand for people with skin conditions such as acne, eczema and sensitive skin. I am currently working as a Finance Officer in the Educational Sector, and I started my business through the UP Collective programme in 2021. Our aim is to help people suffering from dermatological skin conditions to have healthier and more hydrated skin, while caring for the earth.

“As we grow as a company, we are on a mission to improve access to employment for refugee women through flexible employment and training opportunities.”
Two bottles of Gilguzi sunscreen in with pale gold lables.
Gilguzi Natural Sunscreen with SPF50. 100% natural and 72% organic certified ingredients.
What skills did you gain from being part of the Sunny Honey Home co-creation process?

Running my own business while taking part in the Ice Cream Design Challenge helped me develop my time-management skills and I realised how much I can multi-task. I was designing my own product launch at the time so even though ice cream and skincare are totally different products, the practical skills I picked up such as packaging design, pitching, and planning the launch campaign were very transferable. For example, when I was designing my labels, I was thinking about the design and the information on the Sunny Honey Home tub. Women were represented on the front of the tub, so I wondered if I could create a similar representation in our Gilguzi messaging.

We also took part in a Sunny Honey Home photoshoot, and I thought, maybe I can do something similar to engage with our Gilguzi audience. One of the biggest comparisons I made was seeing that Sunny Honey Home was made by a very big company, but I was creating my sunscreen on my own. It gave me this awesome idea of what you can achieve when you have all those resources available and how we can grow in the future with investment. 

How did the ice cream co-creation process impact your experience as an entrepreneur?

There were parts to the process that have really helped me as an entrepreneur. One was working together as a team; in my startup I do everything on my own, so this was the first time collaborating in a team. Together we came up with the idea, developed the flavour, and brought it to market. Secondly, we were working alongside highly experienced people in the industry, so it was great to see how they think, analyse ideas and the approaches they take.

Despite being a very different type of product, the experience showed me how the process of product development works and it helped me understand the steps I could also be taking with my own business. A few hours a week accumulated to a multi-year project, and I learnt so much along the way. It was really amazing and made me feel like nothing is impossible; I saw how much can be achieved and how every hour counts, so that was very motivational. 

In your opinion, what was the biggest impact of Sunny Honey Home on the refugee entrepreneur community?

All the entrepreneurs involved in designing the ice cream flavour learnt new skills and we all had fun working alongside other refugees. Most importantly, it was very motivational for me that we could take part in a project like this. The fact that a company like Ben & Jerry’s trusted us and made us part of this whole design process really gave us the motivation and the energy that we could do something good. 

The project has also had a wider impact because proceeds from each to support refugee-led businesses. I think that this brings hope and motivation in a different way to other refugee entrepreneurs  who weren’t part of the process, but they know that there is ice cream sitting in people’s freezers at home that tells our story. It might give them hope that with each tub we are reaching at least one person, somewhere in the world or in the UK.

Do you think more companies should engage in co-creation projects like this, especially those aiming to support people with refugee backgrounds?

There is support available for refugees and asylum seekers - for example to help them learn English - and many organisations try to help in the best way that they can which is really appreciated. But I also think that just giving people information is not enough. Giving them opportunities to be part of an experience like the Ice Cream Design Challenge makes a huge difference because they feel valued and that's what makes it so meaningful. For example, at an UP Collective event where early-stage refugee entrepreneurs were testing their ideas with the public for the first time, we served Sunny Honey Home ice cream. It felt like a full circle moment. I think that's why it was so motivational; we were equal contributors to the project not ‘beneficiaries’ of it. 

Projects like these give hands-on experience and knowledge but are more importantly an opportunity to have fun! I feel like refugees are always working hard – whether it’s with their solicitor on their asylum case, at their job, they are always faced with very stressful situations. Co-creation projects are something they can learn from but also enjoy along the way! 

What’s next for Gilguzi, and how can readers stay in the loop?

At Gilguzi, we are driving towards supporting more people with skin conditions. The number of people who have acne, eczema and sensitive skin is increasing day by day because of stress, health and environmental issues but we believe that using the right skincare products and ingredients can really heal and protect the skin from the damage. We will be educating people on the right ingredients and products for their skin, while at the same time supporting refugee women by creating employment opportunities as we grow. 

Follow us on Instagram here and subscribe to our newsletter for special offers, and news on everything we do as a social enterprise. We would love more people to share their story with us and tell us how we can support them in future with better skincare, all you need to do is fill in this form to get in touch!



A year since Sunny Honey Home

alumni, stories, story

Founder, Gilguzi
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