Sustainable farming practices ultimately contribute towards a sustainable ecological environment for future generations. When buying organic, you are assisting in reducing the amount of pesticides used on our planet since these unwanted toxic chemicals have farreaching effects on our bodies, wildlife, and the environment. More than ever before, people have become conscious of their health. There has been a dramatic spike in
demand for plant-based, natural and certified organic products. The majority of certified organic essential oil and aroma health product purchasers are people looking for natural solutions and products for their family. Organic products are in high demand and the natural care movement is strong. Bacteria strains are becoming resistant to antibiotics and there is an awakening of going the natural route.
Preaching this awakening and enabling the right natural solutions for people is one inspiring business leader, Annabel Biggar-David. She is the Founder of OCO Life by Organico. “Destined to be an old woman with no regrets, I am an adventurous, independent, spirited, curious, passionate human living who adores people who make me laugh until I’m physically in pain, yeah they are some of my favorite kind of people,” says Annabel joyously.
To Begin With….
Growing up in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Annabel’s grandmother played a massive role in her life. She had a farm bordering a river in Ixopho where Annabel used to spend weekends and school holidays. “It was then that my love for traditional African medicine was born,” she shares. Annabel’s grandmother was the one who instilled
the entrepreneurial spirit in her. “I started my first business at 9 years old. Growing up I questioned everything I read. I questioned everything I was told,” says Annabel.
Annabel then moved to Mitchells Plain in Cape Town, known as the Cape Flats. The city was infested with gang members but she still continued with her small business and extended the range to toffee apples. As she got older, while holding a full-time job, Annabel would make dream catchers and candles at night and sell to stores and colleagues.
Being of mixed race, growing up in the apartheid system, Annabel always appreciated the saying, “Poverty is like paying for a crime you didn’t commit.” “I have always known no amount of security was worth the suffering of a mediocre life,” describes Annabel. She wanted to contribute to something bigger than herself. She was done working in a job she didn’t enjoy. She was done feeling depressed on a Sunday night knowing that Monday was coming, which she considered Day 1 of the Hostage situation.
Annabel did not want to be imprisoned by a haunting thought of ‘I wish I had’ so she was willing to risk almost
everything. She wants to make a difference in society and create employment. Annabel sold almost everything she owned, applied for loans and when money ran out would barter furniture for services. “With tensions high in our country and communities, our high unemployment rate as well as more than 50% of South Africans living in poverty as an SME, we are here to make a difference economically,” states Annabel.
The OCO Life
As a multiple award-winning brand, born in Africa, OCO Life is pioneering the health industry with a revolutionary
range of air purifiers, organic essential oil blends, ultrasonic aroma diffusers and traditional medicine. Proudly 100% black woman owned, OCO Life comprises of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and neighbours. “Our social responsibility is not only an integral part of our business model, but it is our natural way of doing what we do,” says the team of OCO Life.
The company’s mission is to enable employment in South Africa and create a lifestyle of harmony, where a balance and collaboration exist between people, as it exists in nature, with ethics, integrity, care and respect for surroundings, people and the environment. OCO Life harvests essential oils in their native regions to get the best quality oils available through sustainable agriculture. This benefits the environment by maintaining soil quality, reducing soil degradation and erosion, and saving water. In addition to these benefits, sustainable agriculture also increases biodiversity of the area by providing a variety of organisms with healthy and natural environments to live in.
“Our sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals: environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity,” says Annabel and her team. A variety of philosophies, policies and practices have contributed to these goals. There is a saying that there is no softer pillow than a clear conscience. Team OCO’s social and environmental conscience ensures that they are contributing to something greater towards the world. Annabel and the OCO family assists in reducing the amount of pesticides and toxins used that have enormous effects on our bodies, wildlife, and the environment.
The difference that OCO Life makes is on a grass roots level as a company. With over 50% of South African’s living in poverty and the staggeringly high unemployment rate, companies like OCO Life, are a driving force of inclusive economic growth & development in S.A. It has a passionate, purposeful driven team that captures the essence of economic value by up skilling employees while reducing its own ecological footprint. “We have a great company culture and strive to be flawless in our service and impeccable with our word,” describes the team of OCO. Annabel does not take the smallest gestures for granted as they speak the loudest. As a team, OCO exists to serve, and they are eco warriors who believe in changing the world, naturally.
“Simply put, we improve lives and have created solutions to our client’s health needs,” says Annabel. OCO Life’s family is a bunch of people who are customer-centric and will never fail to deliver what they are known for. In terms of future professional growth prospectus, Annabel is interested in mentoring the youth during their entrepreneurial journey as it is something, she is very passionate about. Personally, she is an eternal
student and loves to learn and travel. Spending time with her dogs, the theatre, arts, photography, music, reading, adventure sports, and dancing are some of her most favourite things to do.