Based in Lozzi in the Corsican region of Niolu, Oksana Simeoni and her company SAN LISEI offer customers a wide range of cosmetics and wellbeing products made with organic raw materials carefully and responsibly harvested in the Corsican countryside.
Originally from the Niolu region, Oksana makes a point of respecting the environment at all stages of making her products; from harvesting and distilling to transforming and developing, everything is done in harmony with the natural environment. Oksana works with scents and essences including helichrysum, lavender, almond, apricot, Laricio pine, juniper and laurel – the list goes on – to make quality, ecologically-responsible products guaranteed to meet customer expectations.
After completing your Baccalaureate, you decided to study chemistry at the University of Corsica. Why was this? Did you already have your SAN LISEI project in mind?
Even before studying chemistry, I had a BTSA diploma of higher education in farm analysis and management, which then allowed me to discover the perfume, aromatic and medicinal plant industry. I wanted to venture beyond making essential oils, so I decided to study chemistry, which would give me a greater knowledge so I could better develop my cosmetics range. I was sure I wanted to be an entrepreneur, so much so that I didn’t wait until the end of my studies to launch SAN LISEI – it was born in 2015 at the beginning of my second year at the University of Corsica.
Living and running a company in the countryside, far away from towns and consumer society, is a daring choice so hats off to you! What made you decide to do this?
Rural environments have become increasingly neglected, which is partly due to the lack of professional activities in these ‘isolated’ areas. The idea behind SAN LISEI was to enhance the wild, natural resources of the mountains and show that even outside towns, professional activities can thrive.
You’ve opted for organic. Was that an obvious choice and are you hindered at all by the constraints associated with this kind of production?
While SAN LISEI is a natural cosmetics brand where we use as many organic raw materials as possible, it hasn’t actually been certified as organic. Our focus is on showcasing how we use wild plants that grow locally to make the essential oils for our products
You started by making candles with scents like helichrysum, lavender and almond. Since then, you’ve created many other products. What would you say are SAN LISEI’s signature products? And what other essences do you use?
The signature products in our range have to be our helichrysum-based ones, as well as our face serum, wildflower perfume and of course our famous floral candle! Here at SAN LISEI, we place the mountains at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we tend to use local essences that grow in our region, like helichrysum, pine, juniper… even wild rose!
Your products are available in Corsica but can also be found elsewhere. How have you gone about exporting outside Corsica? How do you prefer to communicate about your products?
Our range has become well-known on the island over the last several years, but it’s only been in the last year that we’ve opened our first few shops in mainland France. We communicate a lot on social media and via our website, where we’ve published our trade brochure for potential buyers so they can find out more about how we work and discover our product range.
Your product range is constantly evolving – are you working on any new projects at the moment or are there any products you’d like to tell us about?
It’s true that the SAN LISEI brand has evolved a lot since we launched it, but it’s really only been since I finished my studies and graduated with a Masters in Chemistry/Cosmetics in June 2019 that I’ve devoted myself entirely to it. I’ve been working on a new product for a couple of months now which I will reveal to you as a world exclusive… our new dry body oil which should be out in time for spring!