An interview with Chanel Dankert, Founder of Back 2 Nature
At Blue Betty we truly believe that it’s the startups, the entrepreneurs amongst us, that will cause the ripple effect and lead the way to a better way of living.
Interviewing Chanel was a breath of fresh air to say the least. Feet up, salty hair and sandy toes, we nestled into the couch over our almond milk coffee’s and chatted for over an hour. Chanel’s story of how she founded her business, Back 2 Nature, and how the story is a twisted one. Twisted in that everything is connected in one way or another - be it events, your family, the people you meet, the obstacles you overcome - they are all connected. As enlightening as this is, it’s how you interpret and use each learning and meeting to make a dream a reality.
Chanel was born in Johannesburg but from a young age, begged her mom to move to Durban. At the age of 9, Chanel moved to Durban and in an instant, the ocean became her home. It became an obsession, surfing and snorkeling to the point where her and her big sister became lifeguards and spending every waking moment near the ocean’s edge. For Chanel the ocean has always been a space where she can feel connected, feel this electric energy somewhere between fear and fun. Even though she is now living in Cape Town and the water is freezing, she can’t help but dive in and go for surf or swim, in a wetsuit of course.
During Chanel’s travels and working on the boats, she became aware of the negative impact consumerism has on the ocean. Watching chemicals, plastic and oil being deposited into the sea and floating towards to the idyllic islands first hand, left her wanting to make a change. While on the yachts she completed a Diploma in Environmental and Conservation management and became more in tune with what she was putting into her body, researching and reading every label.
Chanel’s first devotion to the ocean was made 6 years ago when she made a personal lifestyle choice to change to a vegan diet. It was when a close friend asked her to make some home-made, natural body care products that her entrepreneurial spirit took flight. In 1 month, Chanel had developed a range of 9 body care products in her bedroom and nearly burnt her digs down at the same time.
The rest is history as they say. Since 2016, Chanel’s Back 2 Nature brand has taken flight in South Africa and across borders into France. One of the main reasons for her success is the retail price. Living an eco-conscious lifestyle is expensive and knowing this fully, Chanel wanted to ensure that every product in her range is affordable for every Blue Betty.
When asked her opinion on what the future holds, it was inspiring to hear that Chanel believes we are in a space of positive change. Awareness and the freedom for people to choose to make a change in their daily routine is now acceptable. In her own words, Chanel is “still frothing and doing it for the ocean” and so should we. It’s good to know that finally governments are also starting to take action, with new environmental legislation coming into effect such as the illegalisation of chemical sunscreen some countries. There is no better time to start, than now.
Chanel’s tips to become more eco-active:
Start small - change 1 daily habit today
Less is always more – focus on quality not quantity
Educate yourself – know what you are eating, buying
About Back 2 Nature:
Back 2 Nature is a growing range of skincare products, inspired by the importance of nature in our lives. The range of products include a variety of skincare products as well as toothpaste and sunblocks. All of which are handmade in small batches, with an abundance of love and gratitude towards nature, in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa.
We consider our products healthy food for the skin. All ingredients used are sustainably sourced, natural, vegan, mostly organic, contain no chemicals, no alcohol, no fluoride, no parabens, no preservatives and very importantly, have not been tested on animals.
All products have been approved by the Beauty Without Cruelty Association of South Africa, as well as the South African Vegan Society.