From Vogue to Elle, Marc Jacobs to Altuzarra, Paris to New York fashion week, over her decades as a celebrity makeup artist, Munemi Imai worked with some of the most prominent names in the fashion world. Her career brought her to every corner of the globe, allowing her to work with nearly every skin type imaginable. Through her work, one desire remained consistent among the women she worked with-- a clear, glowing complexion.
After working with every skin type and shade, a strong desire to create a skincare line of her own emerged. MUN was born from Munemi’s desire to bring a clean, natural product to the market that helped women achieve a coveted luminous complexion. Her line launched in 2012 offers simple yet effective green skincare solutions with the cult-favorite and best selling AKNARI Brightening Youth Serum.
We sat down with Munemi to talk about her life as an entrepreneur and how she’s giving back to other female founders.
TFP: What was the lightbulb moment that made you start your company?
MI: As a makeup artist and a product development consultant to one of the biggest beauty companies in Japan, I was already working on and researching how to start a skincare company. When I had a brief illness, I was encouraged to clean up my diet and I quickly started experiencing significant differences, both physically and mentally. It led me to take a closer look at what I was putting on my skin. At that point, I knew I wanted to create an effective product to address signs of aging I was seeing with using only highest quality plant derived ingredients.
TFP: What about your past career or life experience prepared you for entrepreneurship? What was a total shock?
MI: I worked as a freelancer for a long time and learned to work alone and be productive. I was also forced to become comfortable reaching out to strangers to promote and sell my services which have been very helpful. What was a total shock? Finding out how expensive it is to run the business as it grew. The legal side of the business was something I wasn’t familiar with.
TFP: What makes you want to jump out of bed every day?
MI: To see what's happening today! Every single day is different when you own a company.
TFP: What makes your product special?
MI: I've worked as a makeup artist for a long time working on so many different faces and skin. I needed to carry a suitcase full of different types of makeup products, so the skincare kit had to be small and compact. I was always in the hunt for skincare products that were effective, multi-tasking and gentle enough for most skin. When creating MUN, I formulate the line based on this principle, bringing to the market products that are multi-purpose, effective yet gentle enough to suit most skin. Our hero ingredient, prickly pear seed oil, allows this to be possible. I can go on and on about this powerful and most effective plant oil!
TFP: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
MI: Some of the best advice I’ve received to this day... I met a founder of an established natural skincare brand when I was just launching my first product. He told me that "Don't give up. Don't just give up. A lot of people want overnight success, but it just doesn't happen. So don't just give up."
TFP: Why did you join The F Project?
MI: Being a founder, it can be a very lonely thing. I found speaking with and getting to know other founders is one of the most helpful and inspiring things. I joined the F Project because I wanted to connect with other founders and share my experiences with them, in hopes that I can be of help in some way.