Our very first and best user of Collagen Elastin Enriched cream, 91 years young, is no longer among us.
On November 7, 2022, we said goodbye to Maria Van den Broeck, wife of Guido Van den Brande, founder of Istrilene.
When we made our three newsletters about 55 years of Istrilene a few weeks ago, we had still gone to see her to ask how that start-up was.
Maria was back in Belgium with her three children after wandering around Beirut (Lebanon) (1960) and Malmö (Sweden) with her husband who was working for Sabena at the time. Always a very active woman who also wanted to contribute, she came into contact with Tupperware. There she quickly worked her way up to ‘Super Instructor’, and was the first of +-2500 demonstrators to receive a Golden Beaver and the company's very first car.
After a few years of sales, she realized that you couldn't go to the same customers every three months, because after a while their kitchen cabinets were full of Tupperware, a real quality product that never broke down, and if there was something wrong with it, it was replaced for free.
Through her sister, a hairdresser, contact was made with Mrs. Mortelmans, who wanted to sell a product, namely mink oil. Maria saw her opportunity and began testing the Vison Rève (later Mylene) brand for sale at demonstrations. A short time later, their paths parted, and together with husband Guido and many Tupperware saleswomen, the brand Istrilene was launched and production, in-house, started up.
In the initial phase, there was the mink oil, cleansing milk and tonic. Soon day & night cream, bath foam, shampoo, lipstick, nail polish and makeup were added.
After 10 years, and the very first in Europe, the collagen cream was launched, a formula that was later made even stronger by adding collagen elastin.
Maria, due to her busy life and also a little genetically determined, developed heart problems and was one of the first in Leuven to undergo her bypass heart surgery, something that was completely in its infancy at the time, and only done in America.
The result was a huge scar on her chest. Very soon, Maria began applying collagen cream to the scars multiple times every day. This had the amazing result that after a very long time you could no longer see that she had had that heavy surgery, and she dared to go to parties proudly with open cleavage. Maria also had a very good nose and chose the perfumes for our products. Traveling throughout Europe and visiting numerous trade fairs, Istrilene regularly launched the trendiest products on the market, even before the ‘greats of the earth’ released similar formulas and products.
But above all, from her Tupperware days she had remembered one thing very well. Quality, quality, and personal service and attention to the customer! So it is that our products still carry this quality label today, only high-quality raw materials are used, and the 'active' parts in the products are used to the limit of the formula's maximum.
Maria suffered a severe brain hemorrhage in 2000 and disappeared from the scene, but was always present behind the scenes. She continued to use her collagen cream until the last day and you can see that very well in the photos where she has beautiful skin and face, even though she was already 91 years young 😊.
It was the intention to stop the brand after the first covid wave at the end of 2020, because no demonstrations could continue for 2 years, but it was decided on great demand from the customers and then demonstrators to make a kind of relaunch (after 6 months of complete inactivity), selling only through the webshop.
A lot of regular customers started looking for replacement brands/products, in stores or pharmacies, but they find their way back to our brand and especially its quality, to their great satisfaction, which they often express in phone calls or emails to the company.
We, the Van den Brande children and the Istrilene team will cherish the warm and beautiful memories of mother, and continue to follow the direction, philosophy and quality of Istrilene indicated by her, so that you as a customer may enjoy her legacy for a long time to come!