Mongolia's first ever natural skincare producer

Mongolia's first ever natural skincare producer: Natural skincare for inspiration, employment, sustainability and belief in women

Ulaanbaatar, MongoliaUlaanbaatar, Mongolia
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Poverty is rising. Everything is imported. Through environmentally-friendly production (no-waste) of natural skincare products for the FIRST TIME in Mongolia, we employ low skilled women, help local enterprises grow, educate the community on health issues and use the income for social projects.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if a natural skincare brand was the change maker to Mongolia's economic crisis and the way women believe in themselves?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

2015 National Statistics Office numbers show that 61,6% of the inactive population is made up of women. Mongolia's economy is stuck. One of the simplest example of a skin care product, soap, was imported for $5,1 million last year. Not even one single soap was produced locally! People do not believe in themselves anymore. People do not believe in Mongolian products at all. Pollution is rising. People affected by skin issues are increasing.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

I started 2014 alone with bath bombs and within a few months was able to employ 7 women and produce more than 10 products. Mongolia does not have any internationally recognized brand. I am convinced we will be the first. This created a huge hype and has given people motivation during economic crisis. When I started, no one believed in entrepreneurship. But we produced Mongolia's first ever lip balms, bath bomb, body scrubs etc. Now, I speak at every high school and give motivation. We try to show that as a developing country, we can still do good. All our production is no-waste, we use recycled paper, we introduced re-use concept, on every sale part of the income goes to social projects. The vision is to create an eco-production park.

Awards

Mongolian National award for best designed and packaged product, One of five companies to receive "Organic Product" certification by the Mongolian Chamber of Commerce
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

So far, production has started with a bath bomb end of 2014. I started alone and no one believed that a young person could produce high quality products. Our employees are women who are single moms and/or who provide food for their families. I teach them every single product now. They work in a factory that smells like flowers and fruits. One of my employees is a woman who lives in a yurt in the slum district with her disabled husband and children and grandchildren. By providing her a job, she gained respect in the family and provides food. Her daughter had eczema and she had skin rashes. She uses our natural soap with sheep's tail fat oil and her family's skin got much better. One day, I hope to be able to help her get an apartment.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

I employ 7 females now. Either single moms, food providers or young girls who just graduated college. We received great media hype (were already on Bloomberg) because we products a lot of products that were considered FIRST EVER in Mongolia. I think the country was really in need of something unique arising because even Mongolians never buy products made in Mongolia. Especially because of the fact that I am young and female, it has created a lot of hype and I lecture at most high schools and universities to provide motivation. I believe in transparency and use social media for raising economic, social and environmental awareness. Through my own page and my company page. Companies have now started using recycled paper, have started developing better packaging, consumers started demanding official certifications, we receive job requests every single day from women with all backgrounds.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

I do believe that what we have achieved within a year was phenomenal already! As mentioned before, my vision is to be the leading Mongolian brand recognized internationally. We want to be a producer of high quality products and a leader in environmentally and socially conscious business. Every sale of product shall be given back somehow to the society and every production of skincare product shall be geared towards sustainability. The long term strategy is to buy land, create an eco-production park that will employ more women and be a symbol of positivity, sustainability and creativity!
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our sales have increased dramatically. The fact that I have the organic skincare formulation diploma and the plan to move the production facility to the countryside will ensure that there is no stop of products. My initial investment was the lowest because I just started with creation of bath bombs. With the sales, I added lip balms. With these sales, I added soaps etc. As a start-up, we were able to pay salaries and rent every single month.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

All natural skincare companies are based on the wish to provide people with healthy products. I have the same goal because I have eczema myself and know many people with cancer etc where doctors say to not use products with chemicals. But those companies are created in countries where hundreds of similar companies exist and the impact might be small. In Mongolia, this will be a game changer because we are in the developing stage, the population is small, there has never been such production before and because of the eco-park vision and the large scale real possibility of social impact.
Team

Founding Story

I was lucky enough to have grown up in a great family with everything I wanted. I grew up in Europe and was fortunate to be able to receive a scholarship from Columbia University. Throughout the years, all I wanted was to help create a world that I can leave behind without any worries. Thus, I had decided on renewable energy and worked on Mongolia's first wind farm. I wanted to continue but in the meantime my own face was getting full of rashes and I started having allergies. Economically, the country was in downturn and everyone focused on mega projects and no start-ups were arising. I did not want to wait and sit. That is why I started my own company to be able to determine impact myself.

Team

I have 7 team members now. All full time. All women. One General Manager, an accountant, a public relations graduate student, a laboratory assistant and three members in the production facility. With the increase of production and the start of exporting to globally, I will add people accordingly in the production facility. I employed many people before and have realized that it is only based on the understanding of the vision that truly valuable team members add in. Now, as mentioned before, every day we receive job seekers who wish to be just part of Lhamour. I think the foundation has been created and every single additional member is added regarding whether they truly embrace our vision. Many people look for change. Many people feel like it is time to change. But many people cannot be the initiators. And thus, when they see that it is possibly happening, they want to be part of it, which I think is happening with us. I do believe that with a good fundament, we will be able to attract great members. Our vision is big and thus we will have room for many people to share their capabilities and experiences and give their input towards the same goal.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

A person who was inspired by our brand recommended me to take part

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

When I was in Switzerland I have initiated tutoring for refugee children from Syria, Iraq and Ukraine. When I came back to Mongolia, I saw that there are many non-governmental organizations working hard but there was no information system available and no one knew about them and Mongolia has no volunteering system. I founded "Mongolia Blossom" which is a website created to establish a data base of NGOs, creating profiles for each and allowing people to search regarding the main activity and then get connected with these NGOs. Also, we share their activities so that the young generation can get an idea of what is going on and be inspired to volunteer. The NGO is comprised of only me and I try my best to inspire for volunteerism. In addition, I led Mongolia's coal-to-liquid project which was a 4 billion USD project and was able to successfully initiate the project and finalize all research. When I started my own company, I handed this project on to my successor.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

I try to work with other local companies in order to learn and develop together. For example, our packaging company did not believe they could do it since it was a start-up with only 2 people but I convinced them they can do it and tell is at every interview and now their orders are rising and they have 13 people with non stop work. We work together with artists and young painters for the packaging design and also with closely with the herders to ensure the quality of the raw material. I work to support little start-ups now and try to cooperate with others in order to show that we do not have to constantly compete but can develop together.