It’s International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March. Yass queens! We're all for a day that supports equality and acknowledges the incredible women of this world; but we want to take it a step further and use our platform to support and celebrate women all month long. To kick things off, we’re paying tribute to our awesome founders Mon & Meg:
As seen on www.avenues.co.nz. Words Joshua Brosnahan
When you first walk into the Jeuneora office, you immediately get the sense of what it’s all about.
Founders Mon and Meg are a tight-knit duo, and after a friendship surpassing two decades, they still manage to be both candid and fun, and riff off each other as all good mates do.
Mon and Meg are also excited about their business. 2016, Jeuneora was born – a portmanteau of the French word for youth, and the Māori term for life and wellbeing. Their marine collagen supplements help reduce the signs of ageing, supports strong hair and nails, and improves gut health.
As with many start-ups, the company began on the lounge floor packing initial orders. Mon describes it as a ‘side hustle with no marketing budget’ – and her background meant she focused on the design and branding, with Meg working on the social media. In fact, they came up with the concept of using ‘influencers’ before the term was widely used.
Enter Millie Elder-Holmes. Known to her followers for her genuine, truthful approach to product endorsement, Millie was offered Jeuneora to try out herself. “Millie doesn’t promote anything she doesn’t believe in. We sent her Jeuneora. We waited with bated breath for a month and didn’t hear anything. Then, all of a sudden, boom! She posted about using Jeuneora, and we sold out in a few days.”
A six-month-old company sold out of 100 units. Then an additional 300 units. 3000 units. Cut to 2020, and there’s upwards of 40,000 units at any given time, with three courier runs every day, Monday to Friday. Twelve months ago, there were three full-time employees – the founders and one other. There are now over a dozen people at head office.
A sleek rebrand and tweaks to the formula followed the ‘Millie boom’. The range expanded from one product to over a dozen. Millie Elder-Holmes is now a shareholder.
Long-term relationships with Jeuneora ambassadors including Amber Peebles, Renee Stewart, Millie and more recently Matilda Rice, Zoe Fuiomaono and Riley Hemson are key for genuine representation of the brand. Meg feels it speaks to the company’s authenticity. “We only use influencers who try the product and genuinely love the product. These are long-lasting relationships, and we’re lucky to consider these people our friends.
“One of our biggest assets is our customer reviews. We’ve built something of a cult culture online. We’re a small company supporting women. We’re doing our best to build a community of people.”
Even though an e-commerce business can be run from anywhere, the decision to keep the company local meant a head office space in the city, and the ability to stay nearer to family.
Jeuneora is also part of the TerraCycle programme. One hundred per cent of their containers and components are recyclable. In fact, they’re currently recycled into children’s playgrounds.
Mon sees all of this as an investment in Christchurch. “It’s a circular economy that we try to have in all aspects of our business. We buy local – our containers and packaging are all locally made. Our manufacturing is local. It’s those things that make a difference with supporting other Kiwi businesses.”