[7 MINUTE READ]
Happy Friday everyone and welcome to your weekly dose of inspo! Who is busy at the moment?
Whether your job has you stuck at your desk all day or you’re rushing around town to finally catch up with all the friends you haven’t seen in over a year, we would like to introduce you to someone: Lune Martens.
Lune is the Founder of Monday Muse, a skincare brand that puts skin health first and supports your skin while catering to modern, busy living.
In today’s interview, Lune touches on everything from why she started the business to her favourite part of the job. So, brew yourself a coffee and just keep reading.
"Our first product The Nectar is cold-pressed and made with certified organic plant oils which will contribute to the efficacy."
Morning Lune! Please could you start by telling me a bit about your childhood and how you feel it has influenced you today?
I have always dealt with skin conditions ever since I was a young child. I spent a lot of time at the dermatologist’s office with issues like eczema, and other unexplainable conditions. Throughout my teenage years, I also had acne, so I was always trying out new products and treatments. I guess it is safe to say that my relationship with my skin runs very deep and has definitely played a big role in starting my own skincare brand.
Wow, I bet! So when did you decide to take matters into your own hands and dive into the beauty industry?
During my second year at university, my acne came back with a vengeance. Yet again, I tried many products, supplements, and treatments but nothing seemed to work. It took three and a half years before I cleared it up and during that time I started researching ingredients. I became very particular about what I put on my face as I was dealing with a lot of irritation and inflammation. Ultimately, it was my own skin journey that got me started in the beauty industry.
After obtaining my Bachelors and Master's degree, I discovered an institution for cosmetic formulation. I enrolled and studied for my Diploma in Skincare Formulating, which gave me the tools and inspiration to start my own skincare brand. I did a lot of industry research before I took the jump.
That is so inspiring! And what were your biggest challenges in starting up a business?
There were a few haha… The biggest one probably being that I knew no one in the beauty industry and I didn’t have any experience in the area. I really had to research and learn everything from scratch. It is always helpful if someone can recommend you to someone else or provide inside tips/referrals. This is why it took quite a while for me to launch my business. I wanted to do it right and find the right people to bring my vision to life.
Completely! So what strategies do you think have been key to the success of Monday Muse?
I think for a skincare brand to be successful, you have to offer quality products that perform. Formulating from scratch allows for unique formulations and I think this has contributed to our success so far. Additionally, the quality of ingredients is also something that is important; our first product The Nectar is cold-pressed and made with certified organic plant oils which will contribute to the efficacy. The product always has to deliver results.
Finally, my own skin journey has helped shape Monday Muse, and hopefully shows our intentions in an authentic way.
I definitely see that in the Monday Muse narrative and brand message. What is your favourite thing about your job?
When a customer leaves a positive review or messages me saying that their skin has improved and it has helped them gain back their confidence, those moments are the most meaningful. I can often relate to their story. I know how difficult it can be mentally to wake up with inflamed, painful skin when nothing seems to work.
That kind of empathy and understanding really helps create brand authenticity and great dialogue with your customers. How does Monday Muse consider issues relating to sensitive skin/allergies?
Because I have dealt with several skin conditions like acne, eczema, perioral dermatitis, and so on, I wanted to develop a line dedicated to those with more temperamental and reactive skin. I got allergy-tested years ago by my dermatologist and discovered that I have a mild sensitivity to fragrance, which is also why our products are completely free from added fragrance and essential oils.
That is great to hear. In what ways do you consider sensitivities and allergies throughout the manufacturing process and when selecting ingredients?
We formulate every product from scratch together with an independent cosmetic chemist, which allows us to keep control over the formulation process from start to finish. We do this to try to minimise the risk of irritation. We opt for the gentler alternatives to certain ingredients that are known to be quite harsh on the skin. For example, we don’t use SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) in our products, which can be stripping for the skin. We aim to create well-balanced, multi-functional formulations with high-quality ingredients. We want our products to have a beneficial impact on the skin, whilst always treating it gently. Our skin is very intelligent so we are here to support it in a minimal but meaningful way.
I love that! I think sometimes we lose sight of how important it is to be gentle with our skin because we always want to see results. How does sustainability factor into Monday Muse as a business?
We are always looking for ways to conduct our business in an ethical and sustainable manner. For example, our bottles are made of glass, our shipping boxes are recyclable, and our loose fill is made of biodegradable potato starch, which means you can wash it away down your sink. There are so many ways to help. That being said, there is always room for improvement and there are a lot of sustainability opportunities beyond packaging, like reducing our carbon footprint.
Absolutely! We need to constantly be looking out for these opportunities in our businesses and in our lives. Do you think people are more conscious of the ingredients in their beauty and skincare products nowadays? If so, why?
There is more accessibility to information than ever before, which allows for more informed decision-making. I always encourage anyone to do the research and decide what works best for them.
"Monday Muse is dedicated to those with more temperamental, not so well-behaved skin, who still enjoy elegant products."
And personally, which is your favourite product that you’ve ever created for Monday Muse?
That is so hard; I love all of them in their own way. The Nectar was my first launch and a product I created 100% by myself, so it holds a special place in my heart. It works so well in combination with The Juice, our Daily Serum, that I can’t choose between them both.
Oh, that sounds like a great skincare cocktail! Could you describe your biggest “pinch-me” moment since starting Monday Muse?
I think it is probably our customer before/after pictures. It is really powerful to see the transformation of people’s skin. Also, we have only been around for 7 months and already received several awards (including Best Calming Face Oil 2021 by Beauty Shortlist) and been named one of the Best Face Oils of 2020 by Vogue Netherlands. I am very proud of what we have accomplished so far!
Congratulations! What do you think makes Monday Muse stand out?
Monday Muse is dedicated to those with more temperamental, not so well-behaved skin, who still enjoy elegant products. Delicate skin deserves to enjoy a luxurious experience as well, whilst still seeing results. It shouldn’t have to be boring or feel clinical.
Completely! I totally believe that skincare should be relaxing and a form of self-care. Could you describe what an average day looks like for you?
Every day is different, but as we recently launched our second product (The Juice), it was all about prepping for that. Most days, we were creating content/marketing material and we did a virtual event with press and influencers for which we had to put together a press box. It’s particularly stressful when you launch something new, but exciting at the same time.
I can imagine! Do you think you are able to maintain a work/life balance?
When it’s your own business it is hard to let go and stop working. You are never not thinking about your brand, but I love what I do so it never feels like a burden.
That’s wonderful to hear. What inspires you?
On a personal level, my family! Brand wise, other people’s skin journeys, and fellow beauty entrepreneurs; their stories are very inspiring.
And what words do you live by?
“Live a life of purpose.” I think it’s important to do something with your life that you feel passionate about.
I couldn’t agree more! What’s next for Monday Muse?
More product launches! We have one more coming later this year and a few in the pipeline for 2022. We are very excited to create a proper range and expand the brand.