The Telegraph

March 8th, 2009 by Sophy

The Telegraph
3 March 2009

“I don’t come from a business background at all as my parents are doctors and they fully expected me to follow them into the medical profession,” says the mother of four-year-old twins.

“But although my background is in pharmaceuticals and I have professional training as a chemist, I got disillusioned with the pharmaceuticals industry about 15 years ago and wanted to work with something that was more sustainable.”
Ms Hussain-Gambles, 40, experimented with organic products but found herself constantly seeking evidence that they were what they claimed - and not always being satisfied.

“There was often no proof, which I think has led to a lot of mistrust,” she says. “So I started to make my own things. My husband has sensitive skin so I made products for him and when my twins were born, I started to make products for them.”

As a scientist who took a PhD in clinical trials at Leeds University, Ms Hussain-Gambles is almost evangelical about the need for evidence that medicines do not contain ingredients that are potentially harmful.

The skincare products of Saaf, which means “pure” in Persian, are brimming with certifications ranging from cruelty-free to vegan.
Ms Hussain-Gambles also discovered that a way to certify products as being free from alcohol, irradiation and genetically modified organisms is to certify them as halal, which needs all three qualifications.

This has opened up Middle and Far Eastern markets for Saaf’s 11 skincare products and the business now sells in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Brunei, Germany and the US.
Ms Hussain-Gambles, who is based in Leeds, maintains the company as a home business, employing five staff.

“I have had to put up with a lot of prejudice because people think that women who work from home cannot be serious,” she says. “And you have to do a lot of juggling to do this and look after the twins at the same time, but I really enjoy what I do.”