"We didn't know the first thing about wellness" – Grown Alchemist's Jeremy Muijs
On his botanical beauty empire
G rown Alchemist is one of Australia's biggest skincare exports, and for good reason. The 60-strong product portfolio of botanical beauty is fast becoming the go-to for those looking to "provide nutrients to their skin," says Jeremy Muijs, Co-Founder of Grown Alchemist. Here, Buro 24/7 Middle East's Editor-in-Chief Shannon Wylie speaks with the Melbourne-based skincare expert about the brand's Dubai debut, how to get glowing skin in seconds and why the so-called trillion dollar natural skincare movement is yet to happen...
Welcome to Dubai. What are your first thoughts on our beautiful desert destination?
This is my first time here and when I came in last night, I remember driving down the strip and thinking it felt like Las Vegas.
And you're here to celebrate Grown Alchemists arrival in the Middle East. Congratulations!
Tell us about Grown Alchemist...
Well, we're Melbourne-based. My brother and I, Keston, started the company. We were living in Miami at the time, a lot of our work was in North America, and we didn't want to live in New York. We had a company called Hatch, which is where we were consulting for companies. It was on one of these projects in 2000 that a Senior Vice President of Marketing for a really large company said: "Look, I've read this book called The Wellness Revolution, can you do a paper on the connection between wellness and beauty?" It was touted to be the next trillion-dollar industry!
And I think it still is...
Probably. But I don't think it's happened yet.
So what did you conclude?
Well, we didn't know the first thing about wellness but we said we'd look into it. So we did and to describe it, it was like the bleeding edge of business, or the leading edge (laughs). I mean think about it, back then nobody was eating organic, well very few people, so for us we thought it was this amazing project and now we have what we believe is a great opportunity. But the company wasn't interested. So we decided in 2002 to just do it ourselves.
And that's when Grown Alchemist was created?
Yes, but we thought it would take about a year. It took us until 2008. Since then we've been pioneering towards using more natural ingredients, so now our bases are completely natural and healthy, but we haven't ignored the use of technology.
If you think about biology, which is where it all starts, our bodies are designed to take on nutrients all of the time.
What are you top sellers?
I don't think they're a good representation of our global business at the moment because we've expanded recently into a lot of different countries. But, if I were to tell you right now, our hand cream tends to be our number one product. However, our product development philosophy is very different in a lot of countries.
In the Middle East obviously everybody here can relate to dry skin, but what's your advice for maintaining healthy skin?
I think your choice of words is really right. Healthy skin is important. If you're body isn't functioning properly, it puts you in a nutshell. You end up putting a lot of product on and it doesn't get a result. So, health is really important and hydration is a really important part of health. Hydration increases cell communication, function and protection. So in an environment like this do three things everyday: Firstly I'd be using a layered approach. Secondly, when you first wake up in the morning use cold water first, underneath your moisturiser. Also choose moisturisers which have a lot of hydration, like an intense day cream. We're actually about to release a new product for the face.
We'll keep an eye out for it. Do you have a release date yet?
It'll be available in Dubai in the first quarter of 2017.
Grown Alchemist is currently stocked in 30 countries including at Harvey Nichols and Bloomingdale's Dubai.