By Parisa G . 6 min read
Behind every brand there is a driving force, or two...
Are you curious to get to know the story behind MŌRO? We asked 8 questions to the founders of MŌRO Essentials Yasmine Mili & Katrien De Clerck.
1. Yasmine, you are the 'brain' behind MŌRO. How did you come up with the idea?
I often joke to people that they should try living in my chaotic head for one day, since I have tons of entrepreneurial ideas. However, all these ideas have something in common, they must have a positive impact on our planet otherwise I can't be passionate about them.
In 2019 I started my first start-up company that rented high-end evening dresses. It started very promising but then Covid came and there were no longer events so I made the hard decision to stop the activities. A lot of time freed up so I started reading a lot and subscribed to every possible trend watching platform. That's where I came across powder-to-liquid cleaning products. I thought it was a really cool idea, but cleaning products didn't particularly make my heart beat faster ;-) So I thought, if it's possible for cleaning products, why not with personal care products?
2. How did the two of you meet each other?
Y: I started working solo on the idea and had the first prototype, but I didn't feel like going on this journey alone. I wanted someone who was complementary to me by my side. Someone with a big vision like me. There is a very accurate saying: "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together". So I came across a platform called Wixly, which is an online platform where professionals can connect. But to be honest, I wasn't expecting much.
K: I always worked with or for start-ups. For the first time in my career, I had the urge to start a company or project by myself. But like Yasmine, I didn't want to do it alone. I wanted to have someone by my side who was innovative and had brilliant ideas. So, I signed in on Wixly as well. A few months later, in February 2021 during the Corona crisis, I connected with Yasmine.
Y: We quickly organized our first online meeting. I immediately felt a connection with her which was weird for me because I don't have this feeling that easily.
K: Then we planned a few walking dates and found out we were complementary. Since then, we have grown closer as friends and business partners.
3. How would you like people to see MŌRO?
Y: For me, MŌRO should be a reflection of our target group. A go-to brand for imperfectly sustainable people with an eye for minimalistic design. People who genuinely want to make a positive impact but still feel that comfort and aesthetics come first. MŌRO offers them impactful beauty products but also general tips & tricks that fit their lifestyle without compromising. I want people to see MŌRO as a reflection of themself and how they want to be treated. Honest, transparent, and accessible with one main goal: make a positive impact without overwhelm.
K: For me, I want people to see MŌRO as one step ahead of the industry. In terms of products, but also in terms of thinking, culture and values. If you buy and believe in MŌRO, then you're always investing in the future.
L: I'd like for people to think about MŌRO as a well-known brand that transformed the traditional and unsustainable personal care industry by offering incredibly innovative products with a touch of luxury.
4. How do you see MŌRO in 10 years?
Y: Refilling will be the new normal. From mass-market to premium segment. Concentrated refills will be a habit in every house but also in other industries such as hotels, restaurants, corporates, etc. MŌRO is a pioneer in this refillution, and will be an established brand that is known all over the world.
L: Yes, it would be great if MŌRO becomes a standard, a lifestyle that you and I apply. A concept and a lifestyle brand recognized and bought all over the world. A well-known brand whose customers are prepared to contribute to a cleaner environment without sacrificing comfort.
Let's move to some personal questions.
5. MŌRO repeatedly uses the term 'imperfectly sustainable'. Why is that and how does this apply to you in your personal life?
K: To be honest, it's a constant battle and I'm growing every day. You know, it's hard to be perfectly sustainable, no, it's not realistic. So, I try to do what I can. I'm a mom of two boys, twins, and I have a very challenging professional life as well. I have to make choices on what I can and can’t do. For example, I only have time to go to one supermarket instead of hopping from one local store to another where you might find more eco-friendly and local products. However, I try to be a conscious consumer. For instance, when I'm buying laundry detergent, I try to look for a papered box without coating. My husband and I have consciously chosen to go from two cars to one that we share. I go to work by public transport and we use the cargo bike to bring the kids to school. I'm aware that these are small decisions, but many small contributions add up to something bigger.
Y: I agree with Katrien, perfect simply does not exist. And we should stop striving for that perfection, as it only has a demotivating effect. I rather believe that many people taking small steps have a bigger long-term impact than a few people making drastic changes. Every step, small or big is a step in the right direction. This is also what MŌRO stands for, creating new habits that don't feel overwhelming or feel like you have to compromise on convenience. We know powder-to-liquid soap will not change the world but it does have an impact on the long run. Another example is if I would say "I will never eat meat again", for me that would be a drastic change and I'm sure that I wouldn't last long. Instead I don't ban it but try to limit my meat consumption. Some small and easy things I incorporated in my life: reusing wrapping paper, reusable ear swabs and make-up pads, no more cling film, always drink tap water, etc. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what I do because it's all become second nature to me.
6. What do you like to do in your free time?
Y: I love spending free time with my family or friends, laughing and drinking a glass of wine. I also have the most adorable 2,5y old niece which I love to spend time with. However free time is a vague concept to me, I love spending time on building the MŌRO brand, so it does not feel like I should make a distinguish between 'free time' and 'work'. If you love what you do, it's more an out of hand hobby rather than a job, cliché but true :-).
K: What free time? I'm just joking. I spend my free time with my kids, family and friends. I also exercise to try to keep my mind, body, and emotions in balance. Apart from that, MŌRO occupies a significant portion of my free time. It's enjoyable, as Yasmine said. However, if I had more spare time, I'd like to spend it with my kids and family.
7. Is there anyone you look up to? Who and why?
K: To be honest, I don't have names, but I admire women who achieve professional success without sacrificing their personal lives or feeling compelled to do so. In general, women have to fight harder to achieve professional success and get respect. It's difficult, but it's doable. The more role models there are, the better!
Y: I agree with Katrien. Women are often stigmatized to the point where once they reach a certain age and have children, they must put their careers on hold. However, there are examples of women that challenge this status quo and manage to be successful professionally and raise a family. I appreciate it when women can prove the opposite.
L: For me, I look up to people who are willing to step outside of their comfort zone to pursue their dreams. People who are willing to take risks and forego short-term comfort in order to have a long-term impact.
8. What would you do if you had all the money in the world?
Y: I would definitely continue building the MŌRO brand because I truly believe in our vision. But I also strongly believe in giving back to the community. Why do we people always want more and more? Of course, we must strive for a comfortable, worry-free existence. But it is also our duty to give back. This is a value I already strive for today, giving back. For example, my boyfriend and I support a child financially in Uganda. If I would have all the money in the world, I would set-up my own organization so I'm 100% sure the money is spent rightfully.
K: That's a great question. I would divide it into three buckets. The largest bucket goes to corporations or organizations that make a positive social or environmental impact on the planet. A smaller bucket to spend on friends and family to celebrate life. And the smallest bucket for my sons, to help them to make better decisions.
L: Firstly, I would spend more time with the people I love and who give me energy. Next to that, I would love to invest my time, knowledge and money in young start-ups that passionately want to make more impact and help them achieve their dreams.