Our Story

An interview with the three founders

Tony Knott: Skin Health Scientist
Jenny Knott: Imagineering Genie
Tazz Porter: Network Wizz

Why DJK?

Jenny: “There are two parts to answering this question … There are the business reasons and then there is the underlying motivation behind the business reasons. The part that comes from one’s inner being, one’s soul if you like. If it wasn’t for this underlying motivation, we most probably would never have started the business.”

Can you tell us more about this underlying motivation?

Jenny: “Some years ago we had a family health scare which led to a complete lifestyle change for the whole family. At this point my husband Tony had spent 15 years experimenting with Africa’s bounty of natural oils. He has always been fascinated by their healing and cell regenerative qualities and now it was time to turn this wealth of knowledge and experience into a range of holistic natural and healthy skincare products that would not only heal the scars left by my disease but also keep the whole family’s skin healthy and protected.”

Tony: “As a scientist, I knew that apart from love and caring, there were other very practical ways in which I could be supportive and that led me to doing even more intense research into nutrition and health. We changed our life-style. Healthy eating and living became priority factors in our lives and I wanted to pass this onto our two girls as well. After the joy of making natural soaps and bath products for their school’s organic market day, they wanted to open an organic soap factory. This enthusiasm coupled with our new life’s journey resulted in the birth of our handmade castile type olive oil liquid soap. An awareness of health, nature and our environment has always been part of our children’s life but now it is an entrenched lifestyle.”

Jenny: “Tony made me various anti-aging skincare products balms and ointments for pampering, nourishing, protecting and healing my skin. Over time it became routine for our whole family to use these products on a daily basis. I think that at times I must have driven Tony crazy – I wanted to replace everything – our shower gel, hand wash soap, body cream, skin care regime … everything! Friends and acquaintances started commenting on how great my skin was looking – even without makeup. I realised that I was emerging out of bad health, looking better than ever. I was glowing and looking healthier than I had looked in many years. Friends wanted to know what I was doing and rather than going into long explanations, I simply gave them some of Tony’s products to try. Very soon they started coming back for more.”

Tony: “It gave us great pleasure to see people transforming their skins and the subsequent effect that it had on how they felt about themselves, which was particularly evident in people with problem skins. I would research and prepare skin treatments specifically for their individual skin conditions. It was this thinking that later gave rise to our Specially For You range. This kind of satisfaction is difficult to describe – it’s not an ego thing, it’s rather a feeling of gratitude to be able to make a positive contribution to the lives of others.”

Jenny: “It dawned on me that true beauty is holistic, natural and healthy. It radiates from within when your body is in harmony and balance. Both Tony and I enjoy making a difference in other peoples’ worlds and we feel strongly about factors such as the environment, environmental ethics, cleaner production, recycling and reuse. We have both grown out of this experience and have developed a passion for exploring new frontiers in natural skincare.”

How did Tazz become involved?

Jenny: ”Well that too is a great story. We met Tazz at the school’s organic market where we had our very first products on display. Tazz, who has a very similar value system to ours, was very impressed with what we were doing and offered to get a couple of her friends together for a product demonstration. Today, years later, we still have a loyal client base from that small demonstration. Not long after that initial contact, Tazz who was then using only DJK products on her family’s skin, joined us part-time to manage the networking aspects of our business – an area in which she excels. She has subsequently become a partner in DJK Skin Care.”

I can see how this history would’ve impacted your business philosophy. Tell me more about that.

Jenny: “You are correct – our entire business philosophy is based on our values. We did not want to follow the traditional practice of Vision, Mission and Values statements as these are so often constructed by executive management as ego statements. We wanted our business philosophy to be congruent with who we are. With the assistance of a consultant we defined our true values, as individuals, and then translated that into business practices.”

Tony: “We defined our reason for being in this business, our overarching philosophy that drives us, as well as the practical application of our values in our day-to-day operation. Now, whatever we do, we first check if our intended course of action, or product to be developed, is in line with our values.”

Tazz: “Having these standards against which we can evaluate our actions makes it so much easier to stay on track. And because it is a reflection of what we truly believe, our philosophy is a living energy and not just a dry statement on paper. It truly expresses our passion.”