After using expensive skincare brands for over a decade, Mona Masouminia came to realise that not all products were created equal. Even the ones with the heftiest price tags seemed to be doing more harm than good with long-term use. Recognising the clean, natural environment that surrounded her in New Zealand, she wondered if she could bottle that up and combine it with technology to create a suite of products that were kind to the skin and improved it over time. So was the beginning of New Zealand Secret.
Q. Why do you think there is such a growing market for luxury skincare?
A. Luxury must be comfortable. Products labelled ‘luxury’ are unfortunately often a big lie. If you knew how many harsh chemicals are loaded into some of your favourite top-end brands and then sold for US$1,000, you would get a shock. I believe that, unlike the luxury fashion industry, luxury skincare has completely failed.
Fortunately, we have realised what luxury is all about in skincare. We proved we were able to create the best skincare in the world. We promised it would be 100 per cent traceable, sustainable and natural. We promised it was going to work. We cared for every single detail and that is why we were able to succeed – by being genuine and honest.
Q. What is your secret weapon in business?
A. Looking for what is missing in a competitive market and not following the trends. In skincare, the luxury sector is full of brands with unreal claims and harsh ingredients, and the ‘natural’ skincare products aren’t effective as they’re missing out on the anti-ageing part. Just to say we are ‘natural’ or that we grow our own ingredients are unreal marketing claims. Natural must be efficient, safe and effective with the right amount of ingredients.
Q. What is the most important quality a leader should possess?
A. I believe in integrity; to do the right thing even if no one sees it, to not cut corners and to be real. I believe that the personality of any leader or brand owner is reflected in what they promote and create.
“I believe in integrity; to do the right thing even if no one sees it, to not cut corners and to be real.”
Q. Do you have a productivity philosophy?
A. I believe in constant, continuous improvement. Just having a great product is not enough. Each week we sit and review the feedback and look at how to create a better customer experience. We constantly look for what is missing and what needs more improvement.
Q.Who or what do you look to for inspiration, and why?
A. I get inspired by the stories of the entrepreneurs who never gave up (even if they failed a number of times). I can understand exactly what challenges they have been faced with, and how often they decided to give up but never did.
Q. Do you have a favourite quote?
A. “Luxury is the ease of a T-shirt in a very expensive dress” – Karl Lagerfeld.
I love this quote and I believe we have made that happen in the skincare space. Unlike other luxury skincare brands that see luxury in complexity, we see the opposite. Skincare routines need simple steps to be effective.
Q. What is the last thing you do at night?
A. I love to do my facial routine before bed. It is very important to clean the skin and moisturise before bed. It is the best time for it, when the skin is having a rest and is getting nourished with proper food.