Inspired by her own journey managing adult acne and the passing of her father, Wendy Reiner founded Australian skincare brand KISUNA as a powerful yet natural solution to a range of indications, from acne to signs of aging. Wendy shared her story with Professional Beauty.
Tell us what inspired you to set up your brand?
“It’s been a long road to KISUNA. I first started in this industry as a beauty educator during my divorce in 2008. Prior to that, apart from being the proud mother of two boys, my career roots were in cardiopulmonary technology and acupuncture. A strange combination, however, when life hit me in the face with circumstances that triggered a severe adult acne breakout, the sudden death of my fit and healthy father at age 58 made me stop and take stock of my life.”
It sounds like your father was a big inspiration for you to follow your dreams…
“I had been thinking about developing a cosmeceutical because the only products available to me were teenage acne products and I was unable to use anti-ageing products. When I was growing up, Dad used to say to me “You never know when your number is up. Every day since I served in Vietnam has been a bonus, I’m living on borrowed time.” His death was that moment of impact when I decided to take matters into my own hands and develop a product that focused on skin equilibrium and anti-ageing.”
The skincare range was a success. Tell us about that…
“I successfully sold it into a large laser and aesthetics chain. I was exhausted and needed to retreat from the corporate world, COVID was a trigger to make some life changes. I exited the business mid 2020 and took time to nurture myself and my family. However, I have an active mind, and I’m unable sit still for too long. My mind had kept moving toward the desire to create something that was all about a return to self. I have, otherwise, always been involved in creating products for clinics with bright lights, lasers and needles. I wanted to create something that was like a meditation for skin, that was absorbed in nature, was truly Australian, didn’t compromise on activity, held sustainability values, and gave back to the world. Hence KISUNA.”
There are so many brands on the market – how do you create a difference?
“You create a difference by identifying the gap and then developing a solution.
My very first brand was a result of personally suffering with adult acne. I couldn’t find a brand that soothed my acne and took care of my ageing concerns. The first brand was all about a solution for a complex problem, often products created by people who live with the issue and are exhausted by the lack of help or care that is out there. Frustration is a good motivator. I took a leap of faith, backed myself and became a formulator and used my knowledge on human biology to unpack acne and build a brand that delivered results.
KISUNA is different, in addition to activity, it’s focus is on showcasing the power Australian botanicals and sustainability. After much market research, I decided I needed to create a brand that didn’t compromise on activity and quality but satisfied all sections of conscious and sustainable beauty. Using the combination of science, pure extracts, luxury oils for activity, feel, and absorbency using natural preservation and elimination of ingredients that are harmful to the environment and are know to increase chemical load in the human body.”
What’s the one thing you wished you had have known in hindsight?
“When I initially started out in 2008, I was very naïve about the world of business, and I was shocked how people behave when they discover that you have something they think they can either take from you or capitalise on. As a single female in business, I found this to be the greatest lesson of all. Be careful who you trust. “
Business is one of those customised personal development programs designed by life. Hindsight is just a talking point and there is no point focusing on the past. We can kick ourselves for making a mistake. But making a mistake is much easier to live with if you reframe it as a lesson in what not to do. It is only a mistake if you keep doing the same thing.”
Any other important business lessons?
“The one thing I wish I had done from the very beginning was to trust my intuition. If I had followed it every time throughout my business life, there would have been far less stress and more money in my pocket at the end of the day.”
Tell us your business motto.
“Be honest and truthful. Much like in life, Karma has a way of taking care of dishonest people. The industry is small, and reputation is everything. If you make a mistake, admit it, take responsibility, and apologise.
Operate with integrity, no one likes liars, and no one trusts liars. Lying might get you a sale but it doesn’t get you repeat sales or customer loyalty in the long run.”
Learn more on KISUNA’s latest launch, Australian Rainforest Mist:
What was the motivation behind the release of KISUNA’s Australian Rainforest Mist?
“KISUNA is a reflection for our love for Australia and includes a comprehensive range of exotic and rare Australian Native ingredients. We showcase our land’s most beautiful native botanicals, so it is only logical to create a product that reminds our senses of the joy of walking through an Australian Rainforest and being absorbed in nature. Of course, re-hydrating and delivering antioxidants onto the skin is important, but KISUNA is also a lifestyle product designed to help the customer reset and relax.”
The mist contains a number of natural ingredients. Where do you source these ingredients from?
“All our natural and organic ingredients are sourced from Australian suppliers and farmers. We are very skin conscious, therefore, our formulations use organic Aloe Vera juice in place of water because Aloe is renowned for its calming properties and effects on the skin. Our ingredient combinations are deeply considered and designed to reduce redness and improve the overall tone and texture for maximum luminosity and vitality.”
Aniseed Myrtle, Waratah, Tasmanian Mountain Pepper Berry are three of the Rainforest Mist’s hero ingredients. What are the benefits of each?
“Aniseed Myrtle is strongly antioxidant, nurturing collagen, and elastin for the reduction of the appearance of wrinkles through upper skin maintenance and rejuvenation. With brightening and illuminating properties, it helps to minimise brown spots, pore size and the appearance of redness.
A family of amazing phyto-active compounds are extracted from the Waratah. These include Amino Acids, Nucleic Acid (nucleic acids are the building blocks of DNA and transcription RNA), Adenosine, Anthocyanins, Tryptophan, Sugars, Chlorogenic Acid (CGA), Phenolics and Terpenoids. KISUNA uses the Waratah for its skin soothing and ultra-hydrating benefits to improve radiance and skin integrity. It is strongly antioxidant and a perfect complement for anti-ageing skincare.
KISUNA uses Tasmanian Mountain Pepper Berry because it is packed full of skin loving antioxidants and anti-ageing compounds that improve the condition of the skin, it’s structure and it has the potential to decrease the appearance of redness, brown marks, and defy fine lines and wrinkles. It is a powerful hydrator that helps prevent the loss of the skin’s natural moisture.”
The Rainforest Mist is also Palm Oil free. Why was this choice important to KISUNA?
“KISUNA proudly participates in conscious sustainability, helping to fight climate change by investing part of every sale into Australian Native Forest Regeneration projects. As an extension of this, to commit to full sustainability and planet awareness, we have chosen to adopt no harm formulation principles. The demand for palm oil in cosmetics has resulted in deforestation and the destruction of wild habit for some of the world’s most exotic and beautiful plants and animals. KISUNA chooses not to participate in this activity, we are dedicated to developing the finest skincare experience with conscious sustainable beauty principles, so that customers can take tangible, effective, and long-lasting environmental action through choosing our products.”
The full version of this article originally appeared in the May-June 2022 issue of Professional Beauty.
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