Munemi showing off our latest product (stay tuned!) at Indie Beauty Expo as captured by Plein Vanity
Now that you’ve learned how our founders Munemi and Anas first met and you’ve discovered a bit about the early stages of the MUN journey, it seems like the perfect time to get to know them both a little bit better. First up, we pick Munemi’s brain about everything from her current habits to the trials and tribulations of starting MUN on a tight budget. Born in Hiroshima, Japan, Munemi has been in New York since 2001, but, as it turns out, there have been some rather adventurous travels along the way. Enjoy!
Fun fact about you:
I like taking quite uncomfortable trips and challenging myself once in a while to destroy the comforts I can otherwise get used to and caught up in. Those often ended up being the best travel memories. I’d do it over and over and get beaten up and encounter new things rather than stay in comfortable resorts. I love adventures! I also get high on a good green juice!
What's it like to start your own company?
I feel that starting a company was a lot easier than keep it going and growing it. It involves constant risks, requires a lot of trouble shooting and energy and there are lots of ups and downs and no such thing as 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. It goes from the time you wake up until you go to bed, 7 days a week.
What has been the hardest part of starting MUN?
It’s tough to pick just one thing. It’s all been a learning curve and hurdle after hurdle. Being self-funded with limited resources has probably been the hardest, but it also made us more creative about how to do certain things while staying within the budget.
What has been the most satisfying part of starting MUN?
Receiving emails and comments on social media about how our products have improved people’s skin and how much they are enjoying them.
What's it like working with Anas?
Being business partners is a very unique type of relationship. In the beginning, when we started working together, I was quite intimidated by him to be honest. He was a trader at a hedge fund, while I was used to working with women and gay men in the fashion and beauty industries. Anas would come to my apartment in the evenings with a very serious face and I felt like he was dealing with me like he would with the dudes at work, and I wasn’t used to it. But, he has softened up a lot since then and I can see that he is a caring person whom people love dealing with. We both have very strong personalities so when we disagree, it can get tough. That said, he is the only person I have gone through so many tough challenges with so he is like a friend in battle to me. And, because we come from such different professional backgrounds, what we both bring to the table is very complementary. I also love how international the MUN team is. I have a vision for the world as a global village where people coexist beyond differences of background and cultures. On top of creating effective organic skin care products, we are also creating a multicultural company. Embracing the different cultures and complementing and blending together is a beautiful thing.
What are you looking forward to in the next couple of years?
We plan to add at least one new product each year, continue to travel for events and meetings and grow MUN’s distribution in the US and internationally.
Because the beauty industry can actually benefit society in addition to beautifying people, I’m also looking forward to continuing to spread our “circle of beauty” philosophy. I also hope that MUN will continue to be a force in promoting organic farming. The recent growth of the “Clean Beauty” movement proves that we all have to shift our minds on how to do business, big or small. I don’t think we have to choose either the environment or the economy, I believe that we can achieve both without sacrifice. MUN is a green beauty brand and our standards are stricter than clean beauty per se, it’s technically “non-toxic” beauty. We are in the right place at the right time to be a part of the change that’s happening and we are going to continue to see more positive changes for both humans and the environment. I believe that we can do it together with our supporters and customers.
What would you like to ask your customers?
I would love to hear their feedback on everything from the products to our customer service. And also to send them a big thank you for their continuous support of what we believe in.
What are you currently reading?
I’m re-reading “The One Thing” by Gary Keller.
What is at the top of your travel list right now?
Right now, I actually don’t have a dream or must-see destination. I normally do, but this year has become a very unique year with so many changes that I don’t feel the need to going somewhere new. I love traveling for work so I am open to whatever opportunities that may bring.
How many times do you hit snooze in the AM?
Most of the time: zero. I prefer to just force myself to get up when the alarm goes off. I like getting up in the morning, every day is a new day.
How do you take your coffee?
With almond milk or oat milk when I have the option.
Cats or dogs?
I was a big cat person my entire life, and I still love cats. But, Ana, my boyfriend’s yellow lab, changed my mind. She is the best dog I have ever met and I feel a special connection with her. Now, I have both a dog and a cat, so let me say “both”!