Meet Emmanuel Rey: Co-Founder of YUNI Beauty

EMMANUEL REY

YUNI Beauty create healthy, natural skincare and body products that save time, restore health, and relieve stress—so active people who pursue life with passion can do more, live more, and find more joy in every moment.

The active beauty products are designed to be convenient, portable, and formulated to maximise performance. YUNI's natural skin, body, hair, and aroma products are crafted with custom-blended plant-based fragrances and unique textures—sensorial cues which help you hold the positive power of your athleisure activities long after you've cooled down.

Their green beauty philosophy inspires us to create natural products that help sustain the health of the environment as they enhance every moment of your life. We spoke to co-founder Emmanuel Rey about his journey.

Tell us about your background. What was the journey that led you to create YUNI Beauty?

I was born in France in a large family of 9 children. I am an engineer in Agriculture by trade and I specialized in tropical plants. I lived most of my life abroad as I started as a cocoa and coffee buyer in West Africa (Cameroon, Ivory Coast…) and then a commodity trader in Amsterdam. I did an MBA in Phoenix Arizona and I then joined the L’Oréal group with which I have stayed for 10 years. I was general manager of L’Oréal Paris in Portugal when I was recruited by the Estee Lauder Company to be general manager for Aveda in the UK. After 6 years, I moved to the US where I became general manager for Aveda North America. In 2012, after 10 years at Aveda. My wife Suzanne and I realized that our lifestyle was having an impact on our health and so, we decided to completely change our lifestyle. 

We travelled around the world for over a year and took advantage of this period to become Ashtanga Yoga teachers in Greece. While talking with our fellow students, we realized that they were all wearing brands like Lululemon, Sweaty Betty etc. but that there was not a beauty brand that stood out as the go-to solution for the wellness seekers. They told us that they would like a brand that shares their values and integrates easily in their lifestyle. We thought this was an interesting white space to be explored.

How would you describe the brand’s vision?

Our vision is to bring pleasure to the wellness journey and mindfulness to the ritual of beauty.

What’s been the biggest challenge you have faced as a brand so far?

The USA where we launched YUNI beauty is a very competitive place and requires a lot of energy (especially when you are self-funded as we are). This forced us to be very creative and really rethink the ways in which a company functions. Lately, navigating the choppy waters of Covid has been a true challenge as well. 

What inspires you and motivates you?

We are truly inspired by people who are taking their health and wellness in their hands and we are motivated to accompany them in this journey.  

What does sustainability mean to you as a brand? 

After having worked for so many years for Aveda, which was a true pioneer in sustainability, it was obvious for us that it would be part of our foundation. Conceptually, being sustainable means that you can fully function but not at the detriment of something else (or yourself). In practice, it means that we consciously reflect about every step of our activity from the natural plant-based ingredients we use (some organic, fair trade, all sustainably grown and ethically harvested…), the manufacturing (no long distance and working with solar or wind powered factories), packaging (bio resin tubes, some PCR bottles, glass container, FSC certified boxes, soy ink …), to warehousing (our logistics partner in New York is solar powered).

What would be your top tip to help encourage others to live more sustainably?

Every action has a consequence. Live mindfully. Don’t sleepwalk in your life. Think, you decide.

Eating less red meat can be a good start. 

What are you most excited to work on over the next few months?

We recently launched a group of 4 products (Bakuchiol + Biotic serum, Bedtime Body Essence, Tranquillity Pillow Spray, Slumber Oral Spray) to holistically help improve the quality of sleep and reduce stress/anxiety. This is a major issue in the US and most Western countries, and we want to show that there are very effective natural ways to deal with it.

What piece of advice would you give to someone who is looking to set up their own company or starting a new project?

It is a very deep question, and it depends so much on the project itself. 

Essentially, be absolutely passionate by your project, be ready to pivot and adapt, put your guts in it but don’t take the negative personally, be patient, be open but mindful that not all people have your purity of intention, don’t think that your friends/family’s opinions are representative of the audience you want to talk to, take every consumer purchase as it is: some sort of a miracle!

What do you look for when finding the perfect gift?

Is it uniquely adapted to the person, what does it mean and will it be remembered?

What are your LITTLE FINDs (Top 3 favourite products on our site)?

There are a lot of brands that I don’t know so it is really great and well done if finding those gems.

I would definitely try the following:

1. Haeckels – Refining powder facial mask

2. Bamford – geranium bath oil

3. Fushi – stimulator herbal shampoo

It’s always fun to end on a quickfire round...

  • Favourite TV series right now? The Bureau (le Bureau des legends in French)
  • Last thing you cooked? Chicken Biryani 
  • Favourite Instagram account to follow? @visualsofjulius
  • Best book recommendation? Shantaram by G.D. Roberts or 100 Years of Solitude by G.G. Marquez
  • Perfect way to spend your weekend? Hiking in the Joshua Tree desert park in California.
  • Best restaurant you’ve eaten at? Commerc’ 24 in Barcelona
  • Country you’d love to visit? Bhutan

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