The Story Of The Algerian Refugee Turned Multi-Millionaire

Daniele Henkel is a multi-millionaire and successful business woman who went from grass to grace.

She was born to a German father and a Moroccan mother. She spent a chunk of her life in Algeria as she married an Algerian.

During the Algerian civil war in 1990, Daniele Henkel and her family had to leave Algeria for Canada.

“Islamists were starting to attack girls in the street. I had to think about my daughters, so I decided to move to Canada.”

On getting to Montreal, Quebec in Canada, the mother of 4 realized it was not going to be a rosy ride. Life which used to be comfortable was no longer same for her and her family.

Back in Algeria, her husband was a successful engineer while she worked as a political and economic adviser for the US consulate in Oran.

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34-year old Daniele did series of menial jobs to get life going. According to her, she earned 75% lower than she earned in Algeria. She worked as a secretary, worked with an estate agents firm and even sold lunchboxes. As she struggled, the pressure heaped on her husband as well. The strain and difficulty landed the couple to a sad separation.

After the divorce, the resilient mother knew she had to make something work for the sake of her children. She decided to start up her own business. With the inspiration of exfoliating gloves used in Algeria and Morocco, Daniel Henkel came up with her own version of the product in 1997.

“There was nothing like it in Quebec [at the time]. When I would present my project, people would tell me: ‘In Quebec we wear winter gloves, not exfoliating gloves.'”

She dealt with the challenge of rejection and moved from one salon to the next explaining how the gloves work and the benefits towards improving the skin condition. She made a target for herself to make a daily sales of C$250.

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Daniele Henkel

Gradually, people started having interest in her product. From there her success grew to another level. From the sales of these exfoliating gloves, Daniele Henkel has built a multi-million dollar beauty and health empire in Canada, Daniele Henkel Inc.

“People liked my glove so much they started asking me for more products. That is how I realized I had a clientele.”

Today, Daniele’s business has diversified. Her company offers cosmetic services and products. She now has a sophisticated laboratory that develops tests to detect cases of food intolerance.

The 60-year-old business woman is prominent for her business successes in the province of Quebec, a French-speaking part of Canada. As a business celebrity she has featured 5 times as a judge in Quebec’s French version of entrepreneurship TV show Dragons’ Den, In The Eye Of The Dragon.