Nalia Muriel from St. Maarten Nectar



Multifaceted Entrepreneur


By Alita Singh




Nalia Muriel’s story started in a tiny village in the Pyrenees and has continued to flourish in the soil of St. Maarten/St. Martin. Her story seamlessly connects the mountain home of her youth, an ocean away, to the sun-kissed beaches of this island, all anchored by her profound love for nature and natural ingredients.



As the creator of St. Maarten Nectar, a line of naturally made products for the body and home, Muriel grew up using the bounty of nature rather than factory-made products. “I was brought up with homemade remedies. In my small village in the Pyrenees, people made what they needed and used what they had. It is mostly still the same today,” she says. Using that foundation, Muriel continued to source natural ingredients to concoct creams, lotions, and remedies for her own use when she moved to the island. Her circle quickly caught on to her secret to healthy skin and radiant glow and rang her doorbell to get their own.



After much encouragement to make more, she decided to take the leap. “One morning, I woke up and decided, ‘I’m going to do it.’” That’s when St. Maarten Nectar was born. The first publicly available product was “Bug Zero,” an all-natural bug repellant that was good for the body and easy on the environment. “The first product had to be Bug 0%. It’s one of the things we need on an island. This one is all natural and smells good,” Muriel shares. Today, Bug Zero and a full line of products can be found at St. Maarten Nectar’s five locations around the island.



Another essential skin care product is sunscreen, a crucial need for skin protection. “Everyone needs to use sunscreen. When we’re in the sun, our pores open up; it’s best to go natural. At some point, we go into the ocean, and we must do what’s good for that, too. Our sunscreen is reef-safe!” For this connoisseur of nature, the market for all-natural, environmentally conscious items has changed drastically since St. Maarten Nectar was launched 13 years ago. “When I first tried to get my products into the pharmacies, and I told them they were all natural, the response usually was, ‘That’s eucalyptus, right?’”



The prevalence of all-natural products is now widely recognized, fostering increased awareness about the benefits of using natural ingredients. This extends to promoting well-being for the body, skin, and home care. However, this does not make ingredients easy to source. Very few ingredients are easily found in the quantity and quality needed for an operation like St. Maarten Nectar. Where possible, locally sourced ingredients are used; but often these come from suppliers in Europe or North America. “It would be good to get coconut oil here, but there isn’t sufficient consistently available on the island,” Muriel points out.



Aside from her love for all-natural skin and body care, Muriel has another passion that is also part of her well-being ritual: singing. In fact, a few years ago, she decided to form a band called Sugar Apple. “Apple is the forbidden fruit, so the name lends a level of mystery,” she says.



Sugar Apple is a regular during high season at Bamboo House. The band has also performed at the 2023 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, in St. Barths, and Villa Hibiscus. They are also sought after for private events.



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