by NEST Journal
We sat down with Juul, founder of Marama Skincare, on a sunny winters morning and spoke with her about all things skincare. Juul was inspired to create a skincare range that diversified from the rest. Her products are all handmade, cut and designed by herself and all ingredients sourced from her own backyard or as local as possible. We spoke with Juul about diving into the world of sustainable artesian skincare.
Our meeting was to take place at the local cafe in Raglan. Juul was sat down on a large wooden table at the back of the room. Her partner, Tux, works on the off season at the cafe, both reside in the quiet beachside town of Raglan together. Tux is a vibrant character with a big smile and bigger laugh. Juul is bright and energetic. Together, one can only imagine, they fill each others lives with endless laughter and cheeky jokes.
Marama Skincare is the brain child of Juul. Barely a year old and she’s clocking notches under her belt already. One of her first milestones happening mere months after its launch. A small museum by the name of Te Papa (heard of it?) got in touch with Juul to ask if they she could stock her range in their museum. For a place that could pick cream-of-the-crop stockists, this was a clear sign Juul was onto something good. We spoke with Juul about her journey so far and where she would like to see Marama grow to be, in the future.
Juul offers a unique look to her soaps. The sharp geometric lines and clean packaging is flawless in its execution. Easy on the eye, the nose and most importantly, the body. Its clear to see why her products have tempted big names such as Te Papa to stock her range.
> Morena Juul. First things first, we’d love to know a bit more about the brains behind Marama. What is your backstory?
I'm born and raised in The Netherlands. In 2017 I travelled for a few months around NZ with my best friend. After coming back home to finding the same apartment, same job and life where I left it earlier, I realised I struggled to fit in again. Seven months later, I was back in New Zealand.
It was a big change going from city life to coastal 'sleepy' surftown, but I felt it was exactly what I needed. I have a bachelor degree in Leisure Project management. After university I started working in photo production for photographer Erwin Olaf, followed by a buying job for a national department store, and then I worked in ecommerce for a while for a Dutch fashion label. Essentially, I feel best when I'm able to try out and experience new things in life. I enjoy working on projects with a point of difference. Wearing so many different hats now, as a business owner, I find lots of my previous experiences flow together, which is pretty awesome.
> Tell us a bit about where the name Marama came from?
Just before Marama came into existence, I was very into gardening and learning about planting and harvesting by the moon cycle according to Māori traditions. I wanted to harvest the natural ingredients I use for my skincare in accordance with these traditions. Marama, which means moon in te reo Māori, has been the first inspiration for the brand. It is also an acknowledgement to the Māori and Rongoā influences used in the products that have been taught to me by my partner's whānau.
“I am not my business, nor is my business who I am. But I feel very much connected to the products I have designed. I love how they represent some of me; the thoughtful design that refers to where I come from: the city, working in a more corporate, fast world. And the holistic, natural aspect that refers to my current life in New Zealand, where I live a slower lifestyle, more in tune with nature, and where Māori culture has become part of my household and family of course. ” — Juul
> We adore your products. Can you tell us a bit about the ingredients you use and the process?
The Ingredients used are all natural and locally sourced. Some of the ingredients I use, I grow myself, some were already available in our backyard, and some I source and buy locally. Our soap bars are handmade according to the traditional cold pressed technique and are then cured for several weeks. The botanical quality and scent in each of our products takes you on a journey during your daily wellness ritual. Along with their purpose of cleaning, the soap bars are also used for their aromatherapy and healing substances. The absence of synthetic preservatives makes the bars nourishing as it elevates their hydrating component.
To avoid any waste in the soap making process, Juul has figured out a way to incorporate off-cuts from the larger blocks into her range. A mini version of her soaps, designed specifically for stays & accommodations, is available to purchase. ‘Unusable’s’ for most, this ingenious idea is what really caught our eye.
This resonated with us as we travel to shoot accomodations all over Aotearoa and noticed the efforts that go in to making each stay look as though you were the first guests through their doors. The idea of a mini soap, was easily the most creative idea we’d come across, and imperative for a sustainable future. The idea has caught on quickly with stays like Poppy’s Place and Koru Lodge stocking her mini bars.
“There can be a large amount of waste when it comes to re-setting a stay for new guests. I thought this would be a good way to minimise that wastage. Guests can use the amount they need, and the hosts are able to save on buying new products each time.”
> What is your hope for Marama for its future? Where would you like to expand / how would you like to explore the range more?
We are coming close to our 1-year anniversary and we're currently working on expanding our range with a few new skincare products that fit our current range really well. We envision clean, natural products coming to life into an interesting and recognisable design.
I am hoping to keep growing and expanding our business in Aotearoa with our skincare range and to supply the Airbnb branch with a fun, more sustainable soap option to offer to their guests. I see so many opportunities to grow and it’s hard sometimes but also so much fun to challenge myself to explore how far we can go.
Slowly starting exploring the international market as well.
Read the interview on NEST