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How Gisou started: The Story Our Six-generation Heritage

Gisou is born out of a passion for bees, haircare and natural beauty. Based on a six-generation beekeeping heritage, each Gisou product is inspired by and made with the finest, sustainably sourced ingredients from our very own Mirsalehi Bee Garden. Here, Gisou founder Negin Mirsalehi and her father continue the family tradition of beekeeping. Gisou haircare and complexion harnesses the transformative benefits of Mirsalehi Honey and rich botanical sources, selected to enhance your natural beauty. 

Negin Mirsalehi and her dad in the Bee Garden

From the very start of the Mirsalehi Bee Garden in the 1980’s, up until today, Negin tells us all about her heritage and journey with Gisou:

Beekeeper by blood

“My father grew up in Iran, where he practiced beekeeping since he was a little boy, just like the generations before him. As a young man in the seventies with a true passion for beekeeping, he wanted to find the best place where he could start his very own bee garden. A place where he could set up hives successfully and keep healthy bees. He was torn between the Netherlands and Los Angeles, California.

He had heard that the Netherlands is known for its flowers, which are what the bees feed on. With this idea in the back of his mind, he thought the Netherlands would be the perfect place for his bee garden. So, with that, his decision was made to move to the Netherlands.”

Mirsalehi Bee Garden

A different climate

“Little did my dad know that the bees in the Netherlands are active only a few months of the year due to the climate. Unlike in Los Angeles, where it is warm year-round and beekeepers can practice beekeeping nearly year-round as well, it gets cold and wet in the Fall and Winter in the Netherlands and the beekeeping season therefore lasts only a few months.” 

The start of the Mirsalehi Bee Garden

“Regardless, my dad has no regrets for choosing to live in the Netherlands. Once he settled here, the first thing he did was start his own bee garden in Almere, a small town just outside of Amsterdam. Two daughters (including me) and several more beehives later, and my father and I proudly continue the six-generation family tradition of beekeeping together in the Mirsalehi Bee Garden.”

Mirsalehi Bee Garden

The power of honey

“Growing up we enjoyed an abundance of the freshest, finest honey produced by my father’s honey bees. We used it for just about anything. As well as satisfying our taste buds as a natural sweetener, my family has always strongly believed in the medicinal power of honey and has used it as a supplement and an antiseptic.

I still eat honey multiple times a week. I usually always start my day with honey in some way, whether I use it to finish off my oatmeal or include it in my freshly baked, homemade granola. It’s truly a multipurpose ingredient for sweet and savoury dishes - a little goes a long way!”

The making of the Honey Infused Hair Oil

“Honey’s impressive nutrient properties inspired my mother, a hairdresser by trade, to experiment with it to create her own haircare solutions. It was my mother who came up with the formula that inspired Gisou’s Honey Infused Hair Oil - a product that our entire family has used on their hair on a daily basis ever since.” 

Negin and her mom

Our multi-purpose haircare secret

“For as long as I can remember, the Honey Infused Hair Oil has kept my locks healthy, moisturised and conditioned. It’s the first thing I use on my hair in the morning to nourish and hydrate and I continue to use it throughout the day, every day, to tame flyaways and polish. I often apply it before bed as an overnight treatment to strengthen and moisturise my hair.”

When was Gisou founded?

“Growing up, I received a lot of compliments on my hair, which only increased when I started blogging. However, it wasn’t until I shared more about my family’s heritage via my social channels that I discovered how interested my followers were about not just my hair, but also my beekeeping heritage. By asking me to share more, my followers inspired me to start Gisou, which I launched together with my fiance Maurits in 2015.”

Honey Infused Hair Oil

The benefits of honey for hair & complexion

“Since launching the Honey Infused Hair Oil, the key ingredient, Mirsalehi honey, has inspired the development of all other Gisou products - it’s an ingredient that we really believe in to deeply nourish, moisturise and strengthen, sealing split ends, reducing frizz, taming flyaways and leaving behind healthier-looking hair.

It wasn’t long before I was inspired to apply the power of honey to complexion. Following a careful, 3-year product development cycle, we launched the Honey Infused Face Oil in 2021 and the Honey Infused Lip Oil in 2022. We are super excited to continue applying natural ingredients to enhance everyone’s natural beauty!”

Negin eating honey

What it means to be a beekeeper

“The global population relies on bees to pollinate more than a third of its crops and beekeepers are necessary to ensure that there are enough bees around to do so. As bee populations are in decline, passionate beekeepers are needed to sustain the bee colonies, protecting them from the use of pesticides, pollution, invasive species and the decline in wildflower cultivation. 

This is where beekeepers like my dad come in, who practice beekeeping because they love bees, and celebrate the fruits of their labor on the bees’ terms, only ever taking surpluses of honey. In the Mirsalehi Bee Garden, beekeeping is more than a profession - it’s a passion.”

Negin and her dad beekeeping

Our bee-centered approach

“Gisou is committed to caring for the Mirsalehi Honey Bees in the same way my family always has. We put their wellbeing first in everything we do. At Gisou, we let the bees guide our beekeeping practices in all we do in order to extract our key ingredients, Mirsalehi Honey and Propolis, in a bee friendly and sustainable manner. 

Simply put, the Mirsalehi Honey Bees are at the core of who we are and what we do at Gisou, and we strive to give them as much as they give us.

Gisou combines my heritage and passions for beekeeping and natural beauty all into one. It also gives us a platform to raise awareness for the importance of honey bees and beekeepers for the livelihood of the entire ecosystem, two causes I am extremely passionate about!”

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