It’s so fitting that one of our newest partners, Juara Skincare, are like a boss women who are committed to Like a Boss Girls!
Ten years ago Metta Murdaya was on the fast track to success at a large corporation. Great, right? Wrong. The path she was on wasn’t in line with her true passions. She was doing the whole moving-up-the-ladder thing, but she was beginning to realize that the ladder was leaning up the wrong wall. Metta was under a lot of tension at work and by the end of the day she was completely exhausted. The stress had also taken a serious toll on her complexion. She decided she needed to start taking taking care of herself seriously.
A native of Indonesia, Metta started thinking about “Jamu,” her country’s ancient herbal tradition that uses natural roots, plants, flowers and fruits to heal and nourish. Indonesians have been practicing “Jamu” for centuries, and Metta had seen how effective it could be. She began researching ways to incorporate the ingredients from her culture’s native herbal tradition with her hectic schedule and urban lifestyle in New York City. Metta had found a way to restore both her skin and her sanity–and her friends couldn’t help but notice.
Yoshiko Roth had graduated along with Metta from New York University’s intense MBA program, and they were now roommates. Yoshiko was a product manager for a large French skincare brand new to the US. She loved the beauty business, and the challenge and excitement of launching a brand in a new market. Meanwhile, here was her roommate dreaming of creating a new natural-but-luxurious skincare line that allowed women to rejuvenate their complexions and battle environmental stress. Metta pitched Yoshiko and their friends Jill Sung and Tami Chuang the idea of launching a brand fusing ancient Eastern herbal recipes with modern-day Western science to create products leveraging the best of both worlds. “While I really liked my job, the idea of creating a brand from scratch based on an ancient tradition was absolutely fascinating,” says Yoshiko, “and sharing that vision with the world was irresistible.”
So the four young friends, armed mostly with a follow-your-dreams determination, up and started a beauty business. “The story was so tasty,” said Jill, “like the recipes she showed us for daily health and Bali skin spa rituals, that we all signed on–heart, mind and soul!”
Of course, one of the challenges in starting a new business is FEAR. “We were new to the industry and we sometimes underestimated the cost and effort required to break in,” remembers Metta. “It was scary not knowing if our efforts would work or not, if people would like our products and the whole idea of a natural Indonesian botanical prestige skincare line based on an exotic tradition. The concept was so new. But we believed in it, and in time, people paid attention.”
“The beauty market in the US is very, very competitive,” explains Yoshiko. “There are lots of brands out there with lots of great products. People are bombarded with ads and messages about beauty products. You have to be able to explain your product and its uniqueness in one simple sentence or statement. Having a simple, relevant and memorable story helps cut through the sea of competition.”
It has been a struggle, but having a memorable story, wonderful products, and the team’s hard work and faith have helped them succeed. And while their business’s success is great, the women agree that at the end of the day, it’s really about all people. “Whether they are retailers, staff or writers, when people tell you that they enjoy working with you, it makes you realize what this is all about–creating good products and building good relationships,” says Yoshiko. (And, she might add, radiant complexions!)
In particular, Juara is all about women. Women are behind Juara, and from the beginning women have been the company’s #1 focus. In Indonesian Juara means ‘champion’ or ‘winner’, and the brand’s tagline is Champion your natural beauty. “We want to empower women to care for their skin naturally in a way that strengthens the skin from within so that skin returns to its natural beauty and strength,” explains Metta. “But we also champion women to find their inner beauty. We accomplish this through mentoring and partnerships with women-run organizations and collectives.” (Good example: Like A Boss Girls!)
The ‘champion’ idea also embodies the mindset of Juara’s young entrepreneurial movers and shakers. “We all quit our jobs, took risks to pursue an idea and a dream, and worked really hard on the business and on ourselves to make it grow and succeed,” says Metta. “We wanted to be the ‘winner’ of our lives and ‘champion’ our own destinies. Since we’ve been through the challenges ourselves, Juara’s committed to not only making great products, but to encouraging and helping young women be the champions of their destinies as well.”
All the women agree it’s been challenging and more laborious and costly than they expected. Still, explains Jill, “Each time I meet a fan who tells me how much Juara has improved her skin, or how much Juara has meant to her, it’s worth it!”
JUARA is available on online at www.juaraskincare.com, as well as select high-end apothecaries and retailers across the US, Canada and Indonesia.
In the US, you can find Juara places like Space NK, ABC Home and Carpet (NYC), Smith & Brit (Coming Soon to NYC!), Cloche Beauty (Portland), Beauty Collection (LA), Credo (SF), BirchBox (online) and Skinstore (online).