News & Insights

Health and beauty just got a new meaning

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic LJBILJE starts producing hand sanitizer; Sweden/USAID FARMA II project helps brand it.

Disinfecting hands became a must after the COVID-19 pandemic started. But due to high demand, antiseptics are hard to find.

Responding to COVID-19, and in an effort to satisfy the demand for antiseptics, organic cosmetics producer – derived from words meaning “medicinal herbs” – from Eastern Hercegovina’s town of Ljubinje started producing hand sanitizer that disinfects and nourishes the skin – a big win-win in these peculiar times.

More importantly, this new antiseptic is helping to ease shortages and expanding access to this necessity. Being a socially responsible company, LJBILJE has donated the sanitizers to their employees and several business partners, and they made a larger donation to the Ljubinje hospital.

Rapid Development with Fast-tracked Approval

LJBILJE normally produces some 250 products made from organic medicinal and aromatic plants, and engages 25 farmers and 100 collectors in the process. LJBILJE’s said that in this fast developing situation they had to act quickly.

“We really did not have much time to wrap our heads around this,” Slobodanka said. “As the coronavirus started spreading, antiseptics and disinfectants became scarce. Being a producer of organic cosmetics and knowing how to produce an antiseptic, we felt the need to act.

“We did not have the antiseptics among our products,” she said, “so once we put the formula together we had to get approval from the Republika Srpska Ministry of Health to produce and sell this new product.”

Slobodanka said that the Ministry approved the production through a fast-track procedure.

Nourishes skin and smells great

LJBILJE’s antiseptics are pleasant to use because they are enriching them with organic lavender, sage and immortelle hydrolytes and glycerin, which gives them a great smell while nourishing skin.

“The FARMA II project was helping us develop new product labels and also improving our online marketing when this COVID-19 situation happened,” Slobodanka said. “So with FARMA II assistance, we also rapidly developed labels for our new antiseptics, and shipped the first batch in the first week of April.”

LJBILJE informed their regular buyers, including pharmacies and retail shops, about the new products, and orders have been pouring in. They are now producing more than two thousand antiseptics a day packaged in 100 ml to 1 liter containers.

In 2017, the Sweden/USAID FARMA II project helped LJBILJE to increase its production and export creams and lotions by assisting with the purchase a vacuum homogenizer, an aquatic bath and a dozer.

This expands their engagement with farmers and collectors benefiting the overall economy. This prior assistance prepared LJBILJE for this current leap to assist with the pandemic.