It takes something truly unique to stand out in the crowded all-natural beauty landscape these days. And yet, Leaves of Trees is doing just that by bringing solid science to the world of small-batch, ethically sourced skin care. Where many others outsource product development, design, and packaging, founder Dr. Roohi Qureshi is doing it herself. She earned a degree in medicine, a masters in chemical engineering, and a certificate in pâtisserie from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris before cooking up a modest line of shea butter soaps and beeswax lip balms in her kitchen in 2012.
Qureshi was born in Birmingham, England, where her father studied radiology and her mother taught physical education and art before the family settled in Canada. In Toronto’s Moss Park neighbourhood, Qureshi’s Leaves of Trees boutique is an inviting, Zen-like sanctuary. “I designed it myself,” she says, referring to a floor-to-ceiling white-tile feature wall and plywood floors. When the fledgling business outgrew her tiny condo (and local craft fairs) in 2013, she bought the late-1800s building on first sight and spent a year renovating. That’s the thing about Qureshi, who still works two days a week as an occupational medical consultant at a nearby hospital—she’s a modern-day Renaissance woman.
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