Dehydrated or sensitised skin? A search for skincare products that work can be like finding a needle in a haystack. The brand Merumaya (a brand that has not and never will pay for fake reviews) founded by Maleka Dattu could be the right choice for you.
Premium quality at an affordable price, Merumaya is Vegan Certified and manufactured within the UK rather than abroad to cut costs. An ethical range that Xpress Lifestyle feel can be placed in any bathroom for everyone to use.
Let’s get to know a little about the founder Maleka Dattu. A UK Businesswomen, Mother and Wife.
Q - Before launching your brand in 2012 you had 27 years corporate world leadership positions working for the Estee Lauder group (Clinique and Origins) and then Lancôme. Can you tell us a little about that and how this inspired you to create your own brand?
I learnt a lot of good things working ground up in big successful corporates and I had opportunity to experience some amazing things and travel. I will always be grateful for that. In the early years, I drank the cool aid and carried the vision statement around with me. I worked massively hard and long, working closely with my teams to inspire them to over achieve against every target. I was rewarded with regular promotions until I attained the position of Senior Vice President & General Manager for all North America.
As I became more senior, I was more exposed to decisions that did not always jive with my personal values and my need to feel that the customer was truly at the heart of every decision. Taking competitor market share, increasing profits to the shareholders, and fiercely protecting company reputation drove decisions.
And to be honest, had I not been fired after 21 very successful years, I am not sure I would have found the impetus to follow my dream and start my own business. I was so deeply hurt having discovered how disposable I really was. I tried another corporate but the culture and what I’d have to do, to make my ‘face fit’ and earn promotions… I’d lost my appetite for what felt inauthentic. That was the driver to follow my dream to start my own business.
The inspiration was to prove I could create a brand putting customers TRULY at the heart of it not because I’d made a company statement telling them that, but because they would feel it, in every communication, every product, every email. It’s personal to me. I then set about with a foundation of all the good stuff I’d learned and liberally added my values around effectiveness, integrity, genuine respect for the customer, support of female confidence, truth, and fair pricing. While I’d always wanted to have a business, the leap from employment to entrepreneur was somewhat forced on me from being rejected.
Q - You decided to manufacture within the UK rather than oversees, can you explain a little as to why this is important to you when you could have got cheaper deals from manufactures from other countries?
I am a born and bred Brit and our manufacturing, once the pride of the nation, has suffered over decades and jobs have been lost. I wanted to be part of the solution to help save jobs and contribute to our own economy. I wish more people would also buy brands that are manufactured in Britain vs. USA/France, where their populations support homemade brands. In fact, France spends millions on an annual exhibition to promote French made business and to encourage their entire population to buy French first and foremost.
Practically, I knew that if something went awry, I could get in my car, drive up a motorway and make a solution happen, face to face with the owner of the contract manufacturer. They would not be able to fob me off. Not so easy if you manufacture in China or any other country where English is not the first language.
Q - With inside experience working for such global brands and dealing with marketing teams for advertising, has this been the inspiration for you to launch the informative social media vlogs Beauty-Full Bullshit ?
No! The corporates would never be so audacious in their communications. The #BeautyFullBullshit series that was added to my YouTube and IGTV channel came about because of my personal values – honesty, respect for customers and a fervent belief we should do the ‘right thing’; each and every one of us.
I don’t name and shame however, I cannot just stand by and watch, as millions of women are lied to or duped, confused, scared witless, misinformed, incorrectly advised, given fake reviews, marketed false product claims etc. Any decent person has to speak out, don’t they?
I truly mean it when I say that we all as women have to support each other and that sometimes means being brave enough to risk the backlash, that frankly has the potential to run me out of business. I am afraid sometimes but compelled to live by the principles and values I was raised with. Conclusion, it’s not to name and shame, it is only in the interests of keeping women informed, so that they make good life decisions that build their confidence.
Q - Do you ever feel cautious that your skincare ingredient knowledge expressed in Beauty-Full Bullshit and how it can highlight marketing hype, outlets and perhaps influencers may sidestep your brand just to stay up on current marketing trends?
Yes. I am scared that as a result I won’t be supported – that’s already happened. There are still cliques of women who join forces to exclude other women. My inability to lie to customers or conceal truth from them, might well mean my business does not survive. I have found the lights, mirrors, bling, sexy stories, claims of miracles, celebrity endorsements, paid product reviews, fear mongering etc. leads to sales. While truth has to cut through all that ‘noise’. I despair about that sometimes and wonder why women are still falling for BS – hope springs eternal, I guess?
To be fair to me, I make my points respectfully, so there is no reason for anyone to be offended. I don’t name and shame. I pose questions and give opinion but ultimately, leave it to the individual to decide. Mark Twain said, ‘do what is right. It will please some people and astound the rest’. Here’s hoping!
Q - As well as running your own business, you are managing a family. A lot of entrepreneurs will be reading this blog. What sacrifices did you have to make to ensure full commitment to your business?
There are upsides and downsides as with everything. I got to see Yasmin a lot. all the way before she started school because the office was in the house with her Nanny. I’ve been to every performance, doctor’s appointment, parent meeting, most school pickups and Mum’s coffee mornings because I can make up the time in the evening.
The downsides are that I have put every penny I own into this and as I have not earned a salary for 10 years, we’ve had to cut back on pleasures, shopping, restaurants, theatre etc. But I always said, if I am going to have regrets in my life, they should be things I had the courage to do, not those I did not do.
I’ve also sacrificed sleep and peace of mind. I always worked long hours throughout my career and still do, however, when it is your own business, it feels more intense, like every nerve ending is always switched on!
Q - How do you manage your time between business, family and maintaining a social life?
I mix it all in and keep going! I am very social, have lots of friends and family that I love and want to see regularly so I do. I work all kinds of hours as needed. Sadly, the last 4 years have been plagued with my Mum and Dad (now deceased) being very ill and that has added to the pressure. But hell, I’m a woman and I keep putting one foot in front of the other, like all the rest of you.
I always remember how blessed I am, and I give readily; sponsoring education of other children; Eleven other charities; and always willing to help others in their endeavours if at all possible. Giving is massively important for us all.
Let’s chat Merumaya Effective Skincare:
Q - To me your brand is uniformed, meaning, it works well for busy people. Can you tell me the thought process behind achieving this?
My Brand statement is No BS. No Judgement. Just GREAT Skin...and The Confidence to be YOUR True Self.
So, my skincare philosophy is;
Fewest number of (effective) Products, in Minimum amount of time. Get out there and LIVE your life rather than obsessing over every pore and wrinkle! On your death bed, I will bet you won’t say, ‘I wish I’d used more sheet masks or worked on unclogging my pores’!
It’s also because I am not thinking about how I can get you to use 17 steps! I want to help women feel more confident, not more insecure. Because when they do, they make better life decisions that impact on next generations of women, so that one day we take our place as true equals. Not asking permission, not fighting or man-hating. Just being…equal.
Q – It had been previously stated that your price points could be much higher for the level of efficacy. Was it your intention to bring premium skincare into the homes at affordable price points?
It was my commitment to present the highest efficacy at a price that would be acceptable to the widest audience of women possible. There is also an eminent cosmetic scientist who has said on film that when he compares my INCI to others, in even the highest price bracket, I should have an extra zero on the price!
To be honest, I’ve struggled to make profit as a result of my pricing commitment. Even Professor Karl Lintner told me that he feels responsible in some ways. He said that when he met me, he was so excited to work with a brand Founder that was absolutely determined to make the most effective product ever, that he did not hold me back when I kept saying Yes, to all the Active ingredients suggested. He loved that I insisted on using them in clinical concentrations in all our treatment products. He said, he wished he’d reigned me in so that the formula would have been cheaper, and I could make some money earlier. But it would not be the product line it is or get the results for skin that it does. So, I am keeping going in the belief that as more people come to know about us, we will sell more, and I will eventually benefit from price efficiencies of larger manufacturing runs.
My Great Grandfather went out of business because he was too honest and refused to dilute his products as his competitors did. I hope I don’t go the same way!
One last question…
Q - From trying the Melting Cleansing Balm and knowing it can be used to moisturise elbows, knees, hair and more. How is this possible if it is a cleanser? So, for anyone that’s new to Merumaya, can you give us an insight on what you mean by multi usage products?
Melting Cleansing Balm has a very high concentration of Sweet Almond Oil where most cleansing balms have a high concentration of waxes – beeswax (not vegan) and petrolatum (mineral). Thus, it is properly moisturising – it almost moisturises make up off! So, when I would travel light, I used it as a body moisturiser, also to shave my legs and I tried it in my hair, to condition it while I sat in the sun. I never intended it as an eye make-up remover and it is only reading customer comments, which made me try it too. It wasn’t designed to be multi-purpose, but if it can help customers get more value and less ‘stuff’, it is a very happy coincidence.
Xpress Lifestyle favourites from Merumaya.
As an evening second cleanser to rid the skin of dirt and dead cells, Mineral Cleansing Paste is great to smooth out the skin and prep it for your next step. I love to use this paste as a mask, especially when I am having any kind of inflammation from acne flare ups or just needing a good polish.
The minerals help improve skin function. Magnesium, to get rid of fatigue, Zinc to heal spots, Iron for vital oxygen, Copper and Silicon to boost collagen and elastin. Exceptionally fine ground crystals and Vitamin E rich Sweet Almond Oil, polish, smooth, nourish and protect. No exfoliating beads, no stripping. Perfect for guys that shave to help with ingrown hairs.
Retinol is an extremely effective 'cell-communicating' ingredient, which is able to tell your skin cells to behave like healthy, younger skin cells. Cell turnover and collagen production are increased.
• Increases density of skin
• Reduces lines and wrinkles.
• Significantly fades acne scars and dark spots.
• Regulates sebum production to prevent spots and acne
Softly buff away the night before helping fight spots and blemishes and reduce inflammation. Antioxidant benefits. Rich in foam but gentle surfactants and no sulphates that dry the skin.
Formulated with powerful clinically tested active ingredients, Youth Preservation Moisturiser SPF20 is a great one stop shop for anyone who hates layering routines or those in a rush to get out the door and on with your busy day.
Hydrating & moisturising leaving a smooth plumpness to the skin. Contains Hyaluronic Acid in 3 molecular weights. Collagen and Elastin is boosted with Matrixyl peptide and amino acids, to reduce lines & wrinkles. All skins are left radiant, reflecting light for a healthy glow throughout the day.
With antioxidants, polyphenols and SPF, helping prevent skin ageing and damage. Calming anti-inflammatory's (Bakuchiol and Echium Oil) make this a nice choice for sensitive and acne prone skins.
Thank you Maleka for taking the time to chat with Xpress Lifestyle.
You can follow Merumaya here: https://www.instagram.com/merumaya/
You can follow engage with me here: https://www.instagram.com/jonnymcdbelfast/
You can explore the range and customer reviews by clicking on the link below.
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