Dear Rayna and the Reina Organics family, I would like to first begin by thanking you for this opportunity to share a little bit about Mahalo, myself and the world that inspires me. I had a great time “talking” to you via your questions, and can’t wait to continue to share more magic of Mahalo with you in the spirit of gratitude, Aloha and empowering self-care. Maryna
I would go as far as to say that MAHALO has chosen me. It is a manifestation of everything I have learned and experienced in my 32 years of life. I come from creative/branding and hospitality backgrounds, and having worked with chic resorts and spas, I got to create and live through some fantastic and meaningful moments. Though my personal skin care regimen has always been simple, I do love to indulge in luxurious self-care moments… there is no better way to do that than a quality face mask, cup of tea, candlelight and soothing sounds of jazz.
The desire or rather the need to start MAHALO came from my heart, and like all creative people know—when it comes from the heart, there is no stopping the flow. The name, the vision, the direction all came within hours of each other in the spring of 2014. I was barely able to catch-up with writing down the information. Since the day of the birth of MAHALO, my life has not been the same. It is such a privilege to do what I love with my whole being—from design, formulations, marking the products, packing orders, talking to my customers, processing ingredients and even writing emails (generally not my most favorite part of the day). I leap out of bed every morning, excited to see what MAHALO has in store for me today.
We have looked long and hard (think half year) and tested a plethora of packaging options available on the market to day. But none of them really inspired me. The vision of bamboo came in a moment what I was feeling rather frustrated, so I decided I need to put all ideas behind and think outside the box. I wanted for our packaging to be innovative, different, eco-friendly, reusable, but also sophisticated and pretty. I really can’t envision anything else but bamboo for Mahalo. We worked with a designed to come up with the shapes and formed we wanted for our jars and bottles. This was and still is a very involved and long process. Actually we are now in a new wave of updating our packaging - next year we are going to use all glass inside the bamboo, making our containers so much more luxurious, eco-friendly and special. I hope you will love them.
When we launched Mahalo skin care in our now iconic bamboo containers, we had to commit to a rather large number of jars that were specially manufactured for us. There was no option to start with just 100 or 500 of jars, which required a rather large up-front sum. Instead of going the route of the bank-financing, we have funded Mahalo fully out of pocket, but with unexpected additional expenses we had to put our creative hats on. The crowdfunding seemed like an ideal option for us, as the money we raised to fund our shipping costs allowed us to put our products directly into our customer’s hands, instead of feeling the greedy mouths of the bank lenders. I was really overwhelmed by the support of our community for their support in launching Mahalo.
Oh what a great question. Well, there are a lot more ups and downs that I could have predicted and a lot more work than I could have ever imagined. But what’s most surprising is how much genuine love and support myself and Mahalo are receiving from the green beauty community. A great example would be the A Night For Green Beauty - a place where I met darling Rayna - such a phenomenal assembly of brands that work together to promote each other and empower each other. It’s a whole new way of running a business, a new paradigm if I dare say it, and it surprising me in the most positive and profound of ways.
Oh yes, we have wonderful plans. We are stepping up our game and are venturing into the sensual experience of skin care - think colors, textures, aromatics that are designed to treat, indulge and pamper your skin and spirit. As always, our products will remain concentrated, high-performance and intentional. Though I cannot give away all the secrets yet, but I do encourage you to stay connected with us and Reina Organics for sneak previews and behind the scenes stories.
Formulating products is one of my absolutely favorite things to do. I always have some potion on the brew, or take notes of an ingredient, a skin need idea or an intention inspiration. For me each product has to have much more than just a refined ingredient list line-up and performance, it has to have a story, an intention and a skin-spirit inspirational outcome. I am grateful to be working with estheticians and spas who allow me to create bespoke treatments for them, as well as to offer an extensive back bar line-up. Having said that, the launch of our Rare Indigo balm marks the beginning of the unfolding of new products that will be introduced in 2016. I can’t give away any secrets yet, but the products are true skin treats in their full spirit of Mahalo.
I am constantly inspired by everything around me. I find that all I need to do is to quiet my mind and to really connect with the moment and voila - there I am connected to the core of the Great Creative. I am also inspired by an idea that has an innate chain reaction to catalyze positive change, empowerment or transformation for the better. Anything I create must be for the benefit of all those involved with my creations. So by extension - I am strongly inspired by nature, as nature is a perfect example of creativity / creation that is interconnected, where one thing is created to support another.
Deep breath - open eyes, open heart - connection. Yes, that’s my zone.
Sourcing ingredients is one of the most time consuming, valuable and fun aspects of Mahalo. Not all oils are created equally. We constantly test different manufacturers, as for the same oil the result can be so different - it depends where it was grown, how it was harvested and processed. Additionally we try to work with as many co-ops and farmers as we can. For example, our precious Tamanu oil comes directly from the growers in the small Polynesian Islands. We not only get an exceptionally superior product, but also able to directly support the communities whose livelihoods depend on growing and processing these treasured nuts.
Additionally to sourcing, we also try not to fall prey to buzz-word ingredients. We look at their efficacy and choose just want is needed to make our product perform the way we intend to.
Our Vitality Elixir for example, only contains 10 ingredients, but each of them is worthy of a spotlight. Tamanu, chia, black cumin, turmeric, kukui etc - each is supercharged with vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and anti-inflammatory properties. We also do not use “carrier oils”, we go straight for the good stuff. You see many companies begin their serums or balms with more cost effective oils like almond, sunflower, coconut etc - we don't do that. Each ingredient is a jewel for us and we treat them as such.
My dreams for Mahalo is to be able to run this business for as long as I can. Through Mahalo I am able to express my love and passion for so many things - empowering green beauty transformation, empowering self-care rituals, my love for formulating green products, being an entrepreneur, being constantly challenged, connecting to so many amazing people etc etc. This really is all I could ask for - for my heart and soul to be fulfilled and to be of service to others by providing them (you) with luxurious skin products that inspire you to take a moment for self-care and self-love.
In terms of big dreams. I like being somewhat small. It is very important to me that we continue to do out own manufacturing, so this one principle will dictate how far we will be willing to grow.
Pikake - the Hawaiian jasmine. It is a true privilege to experience the whiff of these refined Hawaiian jasmine flowers, floating in the humid air of the tropical morning. It is subtle, it is dreamy, it is refined and is both calming and invigorating. It is also the main note in our Vacation Glow body oil and is the inspiration of the experiences I wanted to capture and “bottle” within that product. For many people Hawaii is associated with plumeria (aka frangipani), but for me it is the pikake that has fully captured my spirit.
That is such a sweet compliment - thank you. Unfortunately I can’t say that I was blessed with a perfect complexion, as my skin does require attention and love. You are correct in saying that there is more to it than skin care products. For me it is a whole package - how I feel inside (my heart and state of mind), eating well, being in nature, enjoying the downtime to recharge and re-glow. It all comes down to listening to the needs of my body and soul. I used to be a vegetarian for over 25 years, having recently introduced fish, chicken and an occasional lamb into my diet. It has been an interesting transition, but as my body changes with aging, this was definitely a needed shift. In terms of exercise - living on this beautiful Island of Kauai I am blessed with having an easy access to the outdoors. My husband is an avid hiker and adventurer who knows this Island like the back of his hands, so we take any opportunity we can to carve out the precious moments in mother nature - the fresh oxygen, hiking and the magic of this Island are definitely to be credited for the glow that is reflected in my skin, body and soul.
Part 2 and the announcement of our Q&A giveaway with Maryna are coming very soon.
Photo credit MAHALO Skin Care