Madeleine White is the Founder and CEO of Juni Cosmetics, a family business described by Vogue as one of ‘The Brands Redefining The Clean Beauty Movement’. Ahead of JUNI & CO store opening in The Royal Arcade, Norwich, she explains why she’s on a mission to provide transparency to conscientious beauty shoppers
I’ve done some incredible things and had lots of brilliant opportunities, but life has not been without its downfalls. I tend to only talk about the positives, but life has many twists and turns, so it’s important to remember that people have all sorts of things going on, good and bad.
I’ve always had incredibly sensitive skin and working as a model and make-up artist was proving difficult because of it. I was forced to learn about ingredients, nutrition and lifestyle to help with my own sensitivities, but there were so few products available that I could actually use. It was this experience – and talking to lots of other people in the same boat – that made me want to create a brand that was not only suitable for sensitive skin, but full of brilliant ingredients that actually do something.
We launched Juni in April 2020 – right when the first lockdown hit! We’d already been working on our first product – a collection of five Luxury Hydrating Lipsticks – for two years, and so even though timing was poor we decided to launch.
Our products and overall brand ethos have been incredibly well received, both by the beauty industry and our customers. We provide something unique – all of our products are 100% plastic and microplastic-free – and made with vegan and organic ingredients. However, the most important thing is that they actually work. We’ve had countless reviews from people saying that our lip products are the only ones they can use due to eczema, for example. Others just love them because of the beautiful colours and packaging.
Vogue described us as one of ‘The Brands Redefining The Clean Beauty Movement’, which is a huge achievement that I’m very proud of. We have several new products in development, all of which focus on lip care and colour – lips are really our speciality.
I work very closely with our cosmetic chemist to design our formulas, and so we have a great balance of science-backed, active ingredients combined with a holistic approach to beauty and wellness.
We made a commitment to be 100% plastic and microplastic free, which is extremely challenging, but so important for both our own health and the planet. I hope more brands will follow our lead and help tackle beauty’s plastic problem.
Although I founded Juni, it quickly became evident that I needed help. Running a family business works well for us because we all have different but essential skills – I work on product development and marketing, Suzanne (my mum) takes care of the admin and Dom (my brother) plays a big part in our branding and design. Working with family can be a challenge because everyone is so passionate, but that’s what makes it so special.
Because we launched Juni at the start of the pandemic it’s all we’ve ever really known. The main difficulty for us was changing our tone of voice in our marketing. Instead of saying ‘wear our bold red lipstick this Saturday night’ we decided to focus on the sustainability aspect of the brand. This actually worked really well because it built trust between us and our customers, allowing us to educate and promote a ‘buy less but better’ mindset.
Our uncompromising approach is definitely the secret to our success, but it has also made things very difficult. A lot of what we’re doing – producing bespoke packaging made from 100% aluminium, for example – is really ground-breaking and so it comes with a lot of hard work and sleepless nights. Plus, it’s expensive!
JUNI & CO will be our first bricks and mortar store in our hometown, Norwich. It’s such an exciting venture for us because we have a strong, loyal community that we want to nurture. The store will allow us to host events and guide people through their beauty and wellness questions.
Our mission is to provide expertise and transparency to conscientious beauty shoppers. We’ve got a selection of absolutely wonderful brands joining us, ones that share our ethos and can’t currently be found in Norwich.
In terms of business, I hope to further build our brand so that it is centred around trust, education and transparency. Of course, making a profit is important, but the purpose behind Juni is even more so.
Featured image: Madeleine White, Founder and CEO of Juni Cosmetics