AZENA Herbal balm
1st Mar 2018
Beside natural cosmetics, sport was always a great love & passion of mine, and it was also my career for a long time.
Beside natural cosmetics, sport was always a great love & passion of mine, and it was also my career for a long time. (Senna Ušić Jogunica , 32)
I started my professional volleyball journey at 15 years of age and travelled all over the world, playing for top level international clubs and my national team, all without taking a break. It all passed in a blink of an eye! As I was approaching my 30th birthday, my voice of intuition, the one I always listen to, started to whisper something, putting me on a completely new course. You see, having been brought up by professional athletes for parents and them travelling all the time, meant spending quite some time with our grandpa and grandma.
Grandpa Antun was a well-known herbalist, researcher and explorer of the botanical world and its effect on human well-being and health. His nickname was Azena, and he named his series of herbal remedy products with the same name. My sister Simona and myself have spent a lot of our childhood time watching our grandpa working, making oil extractions, tinctures and herbal tea mixtures, having clients coming over from all over Croatia and Europe, as he counseled people from all walks of life on how to overcome their diseases and issues with herbal remedies. Sometimes, all of the grandchildren would come over and help in the packaging of AZENA Herbal salve balm, which is one of our best-known products. By helping in the production, we would earn pocket money for ice cream and treats.
Often, grandpa would joke that one day we will be the ones to continue his work since our parents had their own careers in sport. As kids, we took this quite seriously, so my cousin Andrea and me, as the oldest of us kids, started “planning” how it will all look in the future, what we will do when we grow up and inherit our grandfather’s work. We were quite the little business kids back then and we sure loved our ice cream. :))
So, looking back at that time, it is just amazing for me to come full circle at the end of my twenties- from playing volleyball in our backyard, helping grandpa, to playing volleyball for major teams worldwide in Italy, Japan, Turkey and China and now coming back to that same beautiful garden. I laugh sometimes, how funny it is to meet your destiny on the road you took to avoid it, as the saying goes. On that 15-year long journey of pro international volleyball, there was always one constant thing, like an ally in my bag, an old friend and a gentle reminder of my home – that small jar of AZENA Herbal balm. Every time I would open it, the unique smell of lavender would fill my nostrils and my mind with memories of my childhood. After a tough volleyball match, that smell would always put a smile on my face and would energize my body to recover faster and then after ease me to a better sleep. My teammates used to ask me how come my skin is always so soft, silky and healthy? The answer was always in that little wonder balm in my bag. Suddenly, every one of my friends wanted to have it too, and so the AZENA balm started going placed again, just like in the good old days of my grandpa. All of the girls had their own ideas how to make the balm more “tailor-made” to meet their needs and preferences asking me to design new products for them. So when I finally made a giant leap of a career change to head the AZENA natural family business, I assembled my dream team from childhood – my cousins, brother/sister duo, Andrej and Andrea. Andrej studied with our grandfather and became a herbalist himself. Andrea came with a lot of experience in sales and retail and had a background working for the cosmetics industry. This is the essence, why I love AZENA herbal balm so much. AZENA balm was always there, with every scraped knee from playing in the garden, sunburns from swimming in the Adriatic sea, while on a family vacation. Every broken bone, bruise, sprained muscle, every cough, sneeze and stuffed nose, because I was constantly on the road, travelling. It was with me with first burnt finger from trying to cook a meal as a wife. In all these times, AZENA was there,near, ready to use.
At AZENA today, we keep finding inspiration everywhere, most of all in contact with our faithful customers, people who were, and still are, with us for more than 35-years, also people we meet in our daily life, like our neighbours – a kind woman we buy vegetables from at the green market and our postman. Connecting to all those people keeps inspiring us to get up in the morning, create, build and give back to the community in any way we can – through kind words, smiles, teamwork and natural cosmetics!
In all my years of world traveling I met so many great people and collected unique stories and experiences, but there was one thing in common to all of them- it is kind of a dreamy recollection that we, the people, need to remember our severed relationship to mother nature and that, by using our forgotten knowledge and relation of the natural and plant world, we can live a better life and heal our bodies, relationships and the planet in general. It was exactly what my grandpa preached during my formative childhood years, in those summer night moments under the stars that stay embedded to your soul.
So, with all my instincts and intuition, the same ones I once tapped into as a young girl when I devoted my daily routine to become a champion volleyball player, I decided that I want to bring the AZENA philosophy of my grandpa to the 21st century world of fast paced living and the internet. For me personally, it is wonderful to imagine and dream of such a global society with a raised vibration of consciousness all over our beautiful planet, that ”pale blue dot” of ours, as a smart man once called it. I believe that special people, like my grandfather was, were here as trailblazers for such a world of tomorrow, a world of harmony, balance and prosperity. Perhaps it is still a long and narrow road to get there, but I can only hope that my personal story and AZENA products will inspire you to feel a richer connection to nature and join the world community (yes, there are many of us!) of seekers who humbly try to about learn from the natural world and our plant teachers. Be bold, take that same road and thrive to the best of your health and joy!