With a focus on harnessing the healing and restorative power of Mother Nature, Kūlia, which means to strive in Hawaiian, is entering into the competitive clean beauty market space November 10 with products and packaging dedicated to the highest ethical and sustainable standards while being considerate of the symbiosis between humans and the planet. Formulas feature organic and wild grown ingredients, such as kalarahi melon seed oil from South Africa, and Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood. And, to aid in the consumer unboxing experience, exterior packaging and bottles feature custom, decorative illustrations that evoke the Hawaiian Islands such as lush, green leaves and birds of paradise.

The brand, founded by Jasmine Keeney, will launch direct-to-consumer on kuliaskincare.com with two skus: Regenerating Face Serum and Revitalizing Eye Serum Sandalwood ($165 and $135, respectively). Here, Jasmine spoke to CEW Beauty News about developing the line, the challenges she faced and advice for entrepreneurs.

Beauty News: Describe the brand’s point of difference.
Jasmine Keeney: I wanted to create a brand that could change the skin care industry, one formula at a time. Sustainability was a factor as we don’t want to destroy the very precious resources the skin care industry continues to affect. That said, I’ve decided to partner with people who align with our purpose and values at every touch point in our supply chain, from farmers to our formulator—and even our packaging partners.

I’ve experimented and formulated and eventually discovered which are the best oils for skin—something that’s nourishing and beautiful, with uplifting florals and vibrating crystals.

BN: Talk about the brand’s aesthetic.
JK: I wanted something that stood apart from the trends of the clean skin care space. A lot of beauty products on shelf are very minimalistic (which I do love and appreciate), but we wanted to truly stand apart from the rest. Our packaging is a reflection of my Hawaiian roots and my deep appreciation for the essences of plants. I worked closely with an amazing design team to bring the Kulia vision to life. I’m obsessed with blind embossing and really wanted to incorporate this detail on our boxes, and I love where everything landed.

BN: What kind of special considerations did you take into account when developing the line?
JK: The ingredients are and always will be number one. We’ve literally searched all over the world to find the best ingredients, grown from farmers who use only sustainable farming and harvesting methods. Even our extraction methods (cold pressed, distilled or CO2) have the utmost integrity. I avoided adding any filler carriers, any solvent extracted oils, anything wild grown or not organic, even though it costs so much more to formulate this way. I wanted each ingredient to serve a purpose and be complimentary to all skin types. We vetted several formularies [does she mean cosmetic lab? What is a formulary?] and ultimately landed on one we felt most aligned with our vision.

BN: What’s one major thing you learned during building your brand?
JK: We intentionally incorporated crystals into these beautiful formulas to increase their energetic vibration. I learned in the process of sourcing that many sources for crystals will actually put a wax coating on their small stones to make them shinier. I did not want to add this wax that would potentially disintegrate into the formula.  Having both our formulas Ecocert/ COSMOS certified was a must.

BN: Who is your target audience?
JK: Any woman who truly cares about loving her skin naturally. Also, women who understand there’s a lot of greenwashing in the beauty industry and wants a truly efficacious, beautiful product that cares about the environment, their skin, their health, the sustainability of our planet, and loving yourself in your natural beautiful state. We are hoping Kulia is a brand that helps women slow down, prioritize their needs first, and is an excuse to carve out a little more time for self-care.

BN: What has been your biggest challenge launching the brand?
JK: I have probably hit every hurdle on this road to launch – from trademarking our name, sourcing componentry, sourcing our oils, packaging malfunctions, to not knowing if we should move forward during COVID-19. It’s been a long journey but I’ve learned so much because of the hiccups. Now we are smarter and better prepared for what lies ahead.

BN: Who is funding the brand?
JK: We have a private investor which has allowed us to remain in complete control of our vision.

BN: What advice do you have for someone starting a brand?
JK: Do your research. Know the ins and outs of your market. Find a way to defend your differentiation. Align with people who understand your vision and can support you in making that happen. Most of all, do not compromise the integrity of your products by cutting corners.