Melanie Jane De-La-Reta, Founder of Beauty Tofu
Melanie Jane De-La-Reta
— Founder of Beauty Tofu
When a company’s philosophy, branding and worldview stand out, we say hello and can we be your friend?
Beauty Tofu, a company with roots in Aotearoa but based in Australia, embodies a clean, conscious approach to beauty. We love their integration of mindfulness practices, their focus on pure and clean ingredients and Melanie’s general outlook on life and living.
Hailing from: Mount Manganui, New Zealand.
Beauty Tofu feels so fresh and charming. Can you tell us how the brand came to be and the inspiration behind it?
Beauty Tofu was just an idea, a dream I guess, many years ago. Instead of using chemicals at work, I could use plants and make my own natural remedies, I started playing around at home and eventually selling scrubs to a few spas. It organically came alive. I never ever wanted to make it a business and I’m so grateful it’s grown into something very special.
Beauty Tofu’s mantra is:
Internally & Externally Cleanse. Beauty Tofu borrows from the same philosophy of any spiritual practices of cleansing and purifying the inside as well as the outside.
What was the catalyst for starting Beauty Tofu?
My eyes opened once I realised how harsh chemicals really were. The fact that I wouldn’t allow certain chemicals in my home (cleaning products) but I’d go to work and use harsher chemicals on my clients didn’t make any sense.
What are your greatest learnings since founding Beauty Tofu and how have these changed your perspective on work, people and life in general?
Beauty Tofu is my baby. I’ve grown so much as a woman nursing this project for the last 10 years. I have made many many mistakes and had great accomplishments, I have learnt so much about people and business, especially to trust my gut when it comes to making decisions. I’ve learnt to honour my intuitions, respect others, but also humbly know it’s also ok to say no.
At Noema, we’re all about fostering community. Your ‘Green Girl Tribe’ seems like a great initiative to get customers excited about products and bond over skincare products (and their overall wellbeing.) What sort of role do you hope your Green Girl Tribe will play further down the line?
I hope that our Green Girls will share their stories (they do now), but as our community grows I hope that the connection follows suit. Beauty Tofu was never supposed to just be a product or a brand. It’s a lifestyle and a community where woman hopefully feel safe and can be vulnerable to share. No matter who our green girls are, we want them to feel supported.
We love that you offer personalised product prescriptions. What goes on behind the scenes of creating a customised prescription?
Generally, we like to know all about the INS and OUTS about your temple, diet, medications and health. Based on the information you provide, we recommend the best products to get you started on your Beauty Tofu Journey. I love creating personalised prescriptions because it allows us to offer a high level of service and intention virtually.
What are your thoughts about the beauty industry (especially in Australia) where terms like ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ are used freely, regardless of the quality of a product?
This is something I could talk about FOREVER. Unfortunately, we live in a world where false advertising in the skincare or food realm is accepted. It is so important that as a consumer you ask the questions, read the fine print and are aware of what it is you are actually using.
Short story: The other day I bought a vegan Australian ice cream. When I got in the car and turned the tub around it said in small print that while the product was made in Australia, it contained 0% Australian ingredients. That totally blew my mind and I felt just as guilty as other consumers in trust a product because of its ‘vegan, natural and Australian’ labelling.
Raw, vegan and plant-based products only….you’re speaking our language. What are the benefits of using natural and untainted ingredients for the skin? Can you speak to potential negatives of using raw ingredients?
I believe it all started with nature. The way of natural healing somehow has gotten very lost in the world. I wanted to bring back the basics of natural health which is simply precious raw, natural and organic Ingredients. I don’t believe there is anything negative about using a raw Product unless you are allergic. Otherwise, it’s a gift from our Mother Earth and I don’t believe it can cause harm.
How do you personally feel towards the social and environmental state of the world?
We can’t change what’s been done and damaged but we can make a change now to try and repair the destruction that’s been caused. A little change from everyone will in time go a long way.
Noema thinks that product packaging is a big deal. Too often, skincare brands market themselves as good for the planet, but put their products in single-use packaging. On your website, it reads that you us “100% recyclable & biodegradable materials.” What are the materials you use? How can other companies transition to using earth-friendly packaging?
We use glass bottles so they can be repurposed into seedlings, jars, jewellery travelling bottle – whatever your little heart desires. You just should be creative. If you have no use for the bottle, just recycle or re-home it. Our labels and natural and can also be recycled.
Do you have any personal practices (learnt or self-developed) that allow you to perform at your optimum each day and achieve equilibrium between work and life? As a thought leader, we’d love for you to share this wisdom with our readers looking to elevate their everyday…
1. How can we foster a sense of community and human connection within the workplace, at home or amongst the broader community?
Service to others is very important - from volunteering at an orphanage, fostering a child, adopting an animal (not buying) saying hello to your elderly neighbour, asking people how they are and listening, we need to be more conscious in our connections.
2. Can you recommend any tried-and-tested components within your daily routine for those seeking to enhance productivity or balance in work and life?
A plan-based diet, alkaline water, yoga and meditation or journaling (even for 20 minutes a day.) It’s very important to take time for yourself. You need to be okay with yourself before you anything else – it just won’t flow otherwise. Be your own best friend first. If you don’t know how to start being your own friend, start by being incredibly kind to yourself.
4. Could you recommend a publication, learning platform, class or the like which has been highly influential to your life?
I absolutely recommend doing a Yoga Teacher Training even if you do not want to be a yoga teacher. Embarking in a training encompasses beautiful things you will learn about yourself and awaken a magic inside. Vipassana is something I’ve done a few times now and it has really changed my life. I understand it’s probably not for everyone but there are other like-minded practices (I will be sharing lots of different retreats and remedies on our blog shortly.)
5. What mindfulness practices have you integrated into your life that may be effective for others pursuing an all-encompassing sense of wellbeing?
I always start with a gentle morning practice and a walk or bike ride in the fresh air. I know it’s really hard sometimes - life is very busy, but I think there is something very beautiful and soft about being able to just take things a little slower. We’re here for a long time... slow it down, take those few extra minutes just to take time and try to be consciously present in whatever it is you’re doing from washing your face to making a coffee just be there in that space. One thing at a time…
Co-Design Your Activated Essentials —
Here at Noéma, we’re busy researching the best ingredients - so that we can make the best activated essentials for you, with you. We’re taking a radically new direction in skincare; we use you as the key ingredient.
By collaborating with industry experts such as naturopaths, biochemists, product specialists and formulators, our aim is to create an Activated Essentials product range with the best ingredients, formula and design.
We’re taking applications from our diverse community to contribute to co-designing an essential micro-range of products right for them. Get involved in upcoming events and workshops covering wellness, self-care and design.
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✎ Katherine Guerrero
Contributing writer / Environmental policy