This year, 2020, has been devastating for many businesses. Yet, for some, it has offered up untold possibilities and importantly, time, to position their businesses and brands, in preparation for the anticipated post-pandemic growth to come.
One such company is Moné.
Moné, a macro-sized aesthetics product company founded in 2017 by retired marketer Onampai Osiri, is not yet a household name, but has every intention of soon becoming one, and appears to be taking all the right steps towards that reality.
“I marketed products and services for international corporations my entire career,” said Onampai. “One day I decided that it was time to form my own company. I had no idea what I wanted to do apart from wanting to do something environmentally sustainable, but I knew that I was going to do it right.”
“When I heard that the Chiang Mai University’s Science and Technology Park (STeP) was offering a fifty-seat programme to help build up carefully selected entrepreneurs, I knew I wanted in,” she said. “I was the only person out of fifty selected to join the course who had yet to start my own business, others were either already established business owners or on their way to being so. I was just determined, and they must have seen that, because I heard that hundreds had applied. The course not only taught me how to successfully start and run a business, it also opened up my eyes as to how else I could educate myself.”
While Onampai was setting up her company, she began to learn. She joined any and all courses which she could find, not only online, but travelling the country to participate. She studied local herbs and their properties at Pitsanulok’s Naresuan University, cosmetics at Chiang Rai’s Mae Fah Luang University, and Halal research at Prince of Songkla university. It was when she studied soap making that she realised that she decided on Moné’s first product.
“I wanted to produce high quality soaps and other personal beauty care products which are not just good for the body, but also for the environment,” she explained. “Soap is easy to make; anyone can learn how to make it. But to produce soap in a process that does no harm to the environment and to create unique and quality scented soaps was the initial challenge. Our glycerin soaps use only virgin oils, whether they are coconut oil, avocado oil or rice oil.”
Serendipitously Onampai met a geologist one day who told her that he had produced a fine powder made from grinding special mineral-heavy rocks together, asking her whether she would be able to turn the powder into a product. Taking up the challenge, Onampai soon produced the world’s first rock soap which she says has an extraordinary property which she only discovered after developing the product. Whatever the raw product used for the soap – flower, herb or fruit – the mineral powder will enhance and intensify its healing qualities.
As Onampai continued to build up the foundation of her business, launching its web site, patenting her products, getting various government stamps of approval, designing its logo and planning the marketing, she continued to experiment with many locally-sourced natural products.
“I decided that I wanted Moné to launch across South East Asia,” she continued. “So it was important that many of our raw products come from highly esteemed and recognised fruits and vegetables, all of which contain numerous established health properties already accredited by both traditional and modern medicine.”
To date Moné boasts eight soap products, three of which use the company’s top secret powered mineral stones, mixing them with aloe vera, wild turmeric and orchid. A further five soap products are more oil based, and include pineapple, mangosteen, gag fruit, Laurel clock vine and Damask rose.
“Did you know that there is an organic Damask rose farm in Lamphun?” she asked excitedly. “We buy up all of their roses and they smell wonderful.”
Over the past three years that Mone has been honing of its soap-making skills, it has not gone unnoticed. In fact, it proudly boasts numerous awards and accolades, some highly coveted by far more established brands and businesses in Thailand. In 2019 Moné won the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Green Production award as well as the Chamber of Commerce Chiang Mai and Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science’s Top Ten Award and this year Moné won the prestigious Prime Minister’s Export Award 2020 for outstanding performance as best Halal.
“We are very proud of our environmental responsibility,” continued Onampai. “Our unique stone soap, comprised of 30% powdered stone, has been proven to not only be excellent for the body, paradoxically both moisturising and gently exfoliating at the same time, the powder, when flushed down the drain also helps kill bacteria in drains and cleans it too!”
One of the many courses which Onampai studied was in green production, and she is very proud of her zero waste production process. Today three staff can produce up to 3,000 soaps per month, with all packaging coming from recycled products and all waste guaranteed to not only do no damage to the environment, but with the addition of her secret stone powder recipe, also promising to help clean up sewage systems as well.
“We had an Indonesian customer recently who came to us for a unique one-of-a-kind soap,” said Onampai. “We finally settled on creating her an agarwood soap, the problem was the oil was very expensive. She didn’t mind and we ended up making her just one bar of soap. It cost her 6,000 baht. But she was very happy!”
With Onampai’s savvy marketing skills Moné is now not only harvesting awards and recognition far and wide, it is also beginning to ramp up its sales.
“We are a small company and we don’t have a research and development budget,” explained Onampai. “That is why these awards are so important to us. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment does it due diligence and guarantees that we are indeed a green production company, otherwise they wouldn’t give us that award. The same when the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science tells us that our soaps are proven to be good for acne. They are scientists, their word has merit.”
Moné is primed and now very ready to enter the South East Asian market fully. It’s clean and pollution-free production is quickly scalable and its many awards are testament to the quality of its products.
“Anyone can make soap,” added Onampai, “but to do it well, with results for the body and the world at large, well that is where we are coming from.”
Moné today sells much more than soap, rapidly expanding its product line into cosmetics, beauty care and even fertiliser.
Find out more at https://www.thaimone.com