Being beyond ”clean” or ”sustainable” — Manasi 7 is making a big mark in the premium makeup industry
We speak to founder Susanne Manasi on using ingredients from circular farming, how quality pays off with more and more demanding customers, and the new exclusive capsule for high-end e-tailer SSENSE.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
October 12, 2021
Where is the makeup industry heading? Susanne Manasi should know. With 20+ years of experience as a professional makeup artist and more than 6 years as a cosmetic product developer, she’s founded Manasi 7 and explains where the figure stems from.
— To achieve the highest quality possible, we have created a manifesto that sets the minimum requirements for the full production cycle when working with the brand or developing a product. This is called the Declaration of (7) and is the foundation of our business incorporating our values, our vision, our responsibilities, and our core building blocks. It includes our criteria for uncompromising quality and is based on my profound experience and knowledge as a makeup artist.
The brand, she tells, is beyond ”clean” or ”sustainable” — creating timeless and multifunctional products produced in a sustainable way and minimizing the environmental footprint.
— All the ingredients are natural, wild-harvested, plant-based, and certified organic, and, when possible, ingredients from 100 % circular farming are used. We’re not focused on mass production or low-priced products. Instead, the products are high quality, produced in small batches to minimize waste and support small-scale farmers. The majority of the packaging is plant-based, reusable, and/or recyclable.
Tell us about your range.
— I use the best possible combination of ingredients and shades that give a high-quality sensorial feeling, while delivering the desired results by combining the great colour pay-off and high performance of conventional beauty products and the nourishing and healing properties of the mentioned natural, plant-based, and certified organic ingredients. Whenever I create a product I always go with my gut feeling for what I myself believe would be a good shade or texture. The product should always have a purpose in the collection and not based on a specific season, Manasi tells, continuing,
— Also, we never consider ourselves to be a ”clean” brand. I personally don’t like that expression since it does not have a clear meaning. Except for our conscious use of ingredients, we produce everything at a slow pace in small batches which per definition is sustainable. We have a unique approach when we launch a new product and want to emphasize quality ahead of quantity. For example, we truly embrace every product launch with care and never do seasonal launches. Usually, these seasonal launches equal a lot of waste as they cannot be sold all through the year. The goal is to offer a timeless collection where you can find the perfect base shade or pop of colour. Our website is very educational and transparent, so anyone can read about our production methods and learn about each and every ingredient we use.
After only a few years running, you’ve been handpicked by some of the world’s leading retailers as well as received praise from the world’s leading media outlets. What’s your key to success?
— First of all, we are genuine, which reflects everything we do. I create the overall ideas and products in the collection and my partner in life, Olof, is the art director who is the mastermind behind all the beautiful packaging and imagery. I never read any trend reports or jump on an idea just because it is the thing to do. We just do what we truly believe in and I think that is something that is valuable these days and can be the reason for us getting attention. Of course, the high quality of the products and different visual approaches in terms of packaging and imagery have an equally big part in it. We did not launch the brand with traditional beauty images, but with images of leaves, nuts, and kernels of our hero ingredients in the products as well as subtle model images not focusing on colour. I don’t believe any beauty brand has ever done that before. Wallpaper* magazine was one of the first magazines that picked up on our different approaches. The packaging design is also completely different from anything else on the market. We use high-quality Japanese paper in different muted colours for the collection and the white jars and black compacts are plant-based and very durable. Our packagings and designs are not typical for the makeup industry, they lean more toward skincare.
Speaking of leading retailers, Manasi 7 just launched a capsule for SSENSE.
— I was so excited when they approached us as they carry many beautiful brands. We discussed some ideas on how to do a collaboration together which resulted in me curating three different limited edition sets of our products, called Modern Luminosity, Radiant Blossom, and Refined Serenity combined together in a hand-crafted luxurious box. The boxes are sustainably produced and come with an embossed print and a foiled flower card.
For the industry, do you see any particular trends and tendencies coming?
— I do see people getting more interested in products that are good for you and the planet. It usually starts with food and continues with what you apply to the skin. More people are interested in reading the ingredient labels and question the use of unnecessary fillers, mineral oil, palm oil, parabens, and silicones when there are other — usually more expensive — options available. Also, these give the same and sometimes an even better effect, but also provide fantastic benefits to the skin. I also believe that there is a higher interest in ”rinse-off” products that are environmentally friendly since what we rinse off might also eventually end up in the wastewater and out in our environment, Manasi concludes.
Manasi 7’s next launch, after extensive R&D, is a packaging made of recycled glass for the mascara, dropping very soon.