Women’s History Month Spotlight- Khulan Davaadorj of Lhamour
Upon returning to her home country of Mongolia after graduating from Columbia University in New York with a degree in renewable energy and public policy, Khulan started to experience skin allergies. Much to her disdain, she could not find any quality products that would help with her skin problems. She began to dissect the ingredient list to understand how products actually work.
Her newfound curiosity led to the growth of a new passion within her. She formally enrolled in Formula Botanica, an organic cosmetic science school, and eventually became a professional skincare product formulator.At the beginning of her formulation work, Khulan created organic skincare products for herself and her family and friends. This fueled her entrepreneurship journey to use her knowledge to help others. Drawing upon the plentiful and efficacious raw ingredients made available by local producers in Mongolia such as Sea Buckthorn Oil and Rosehip Oil to formulate her amazing products, Khulan has built Lhamour into a successful international skincare brand. But the main ingredient Khulan says fuels her products is love...love for yourself and the planet. Read below for some words of wisdom from this inspiring social entrepreneur:
What does ethical beauty mean to you?
Respect. Respect for yourself, your team, your partners, your customers and the environment.
What inspired you to start your brand?
My own skin problem.
What is your favorite product from your brand?
Since I am the chief technologist, I love all my products as they are all made from the bottom of my heart and with all the passion I have. But since this question asks about favorites, I love our Rosehip Facial Oil, Refreshing Facial Mist, Refreshing Body Oil as well as our bestseller - the Sea Buckthorn Hand Butter.
Have transparency and sustainability always been your priority as a brand founder?
Yes. I graduated with a degree in renewable energy and public policy from Columbia University before coming back to Mongolia. That was when I truly understood climate change and how we should act now instead of going the way we are going. In fact, we need to make drastic changes in our everyday lives in order to keep our beautiful planet. Therefore, when I started my own brand, I was able to connect what I had learned with what I was doing. People ask me, “How come someone from a renewable energy background started an organic skincare business?” But both are technically similar. Both are using what mother nature has given us and producing end products that are both good for the body as well as the environment. Our products are truly the means to an end.
How has your background influenced your work as a founder?
I am a true nomad. Having lived in Europe when I was young taught me the great developed side of the economy. Moving many times and always being the "new one" helped me be independent and believe in myself. Having graduated from Columbia University and learned so much from my fellow peers, truly gave me the inspiration to make a change in this world. And having come back to Mongolia really made me understand that all this is not worth anything if I don't put it into reality and create something that brings people value and makes a positive impact in this world.
What is it about the beauty industry that inspires you?
Beauty is from within as well as outside. We produce natural products that give people the nourishment they need and through our products also try to inspire people to embrace their natural beauty. The beauty industry is just so positive, especially the indie beauty industry.
What is your personal beauty credo?
Cleaning your face and moisturizing is key! Simple can be good enough if done right.
What are your hobbies?
I love swimming, being with my family and listening to music. But definitely Lhamour is just like my hobby and thus I love my work.
Who or what influenced your thoughts on beauty growing up?
My mom. She is a natural beauty and never used makeup or did much to her face. She embraces her beauty and takes good care of her health which shines through.
How do you practice self-care?
Accepting myself and being at peace with myself. Embracing my faults and striving towards my vision. Just allowing myself to be myself.
What has been the biggest challenge in creating your brand so far?
I created my brand 9 years ago in a developing country still struggling. It was a bumpy road with many challenges along the way and looking back now, every challenge was beautiful because it made me so much stronger. Now, the biggest challenge is to show the world that a small Mongolian brand can actually be a change-maker and show the Mongolians that we can make it globally as well.
What has been your biggest win as a brand founder so far?
Struggling in the beginning but being able to have my freedom now. All the long nights and non-stop working hours are worth it now that I can spend my days however I want.
What would you like to see more of in the beauty industry when it comes to ingredient sourcing?
Trying out new countries like Mongolia. We have amazing ingredients that Lhamour could even supply. The vast countryside that we have just enabled us to truly use anything we want.
How do you think the beauty industry could take better care of the ingredient producers and farmers responsible for many of the ingredients used in beauty products?
Better pay and long-term relationships are crucial.