Yoga Entrepreneurs Launch YUNI, the first Yoga-inspired beauty brand
When I was introduced to Emmanuel Rey, cofounder and CEO of YUNI, a natural line of personal care products designed by and for yogis, it was a casual meeting at the French Market Cafe in Venice, a personal favorite for over a decade. A dear student and friend initiated the meeting; he had recently reunited with Emmanuel, his childhood schoolmate. The two grew up in the same small town in France, Emmanuel went on to earn an MBA, and my friend Arnaud Dunoyer established a career as a world-class musician. After decades without contact, they serendipitously found themselves living in the same city.
As we sat together, Arnaud and I were taken aback by Emmanuel’s passion and enthusiasm. He wanted my thoughts, as the owner of Yoga Nest, located in Venice, on how his products could serve my students. He shared his concept of YUNI, and the steps he was undertaking to create natural and sustainable products made with integrity.
Emmanuel and his wife Suzanne Dawson have enjoyed long and successful careers in the beauty industry, working for L’ Oreal, Estee Lauder, and then Aveda for over 10 years. In 2012, the couple took a sabbatical to travel around the world and deepen their yoga practice, committing to an Ashtanga yoga teacher training in Greece.
In the midst of this immersion, Emmanuel and Suzanne connected with their fellow practitioners and recognized they shared three commonalities. First, most of the yogis lived in urban areas and were leading busy lives, which sometimes made it difficult to practice as frequently as they would like. Second, they agreed that they felt fantastic after practicing, but wished they could prolong that sensation. Finally, many mentioned that they would often experience magic moments during their practice or in the midst of Savasana—experiences they longed to recreate throughout the day.
After three years of research and development, the couple began to develop YUNI. The tagline of their high-performing beauty line is “Seekers of Good” and they take the mission seriously, with products designed to cultivate magic on and off the mat. They refer back to the yogic commonalities creating products with three purposes: increasing convenience, enhancing everyday pleasures, and anchoring yoga moments by recalling the ease and relaxation of savasana throughout the day.
One year after our meeting, I received a follow-up call from Emmanuel wanting to share samples from the ready-to-launch YUNI line – comprised of 13 personal care products. When I tested them, I could feel the vision. Some of my favorites include the Active Calm Face Serum (love the lingering hydration), Instant Shower Sheets (made from biodegradable bamboo pulp), and my number one—the Muscle Recovery Gel.
The line as a whole embodies a feeling of synergy, from the yogic lifestyle as well as the natural ingredients. Emmanuel and Suzanne capitalized on their beauty experience and chose the best botanicals (often fair trade and organic) that enhance beauty including: turmeric root, arnica flower extract, argan nut oil, shea nut butter, buriti nut oil, edelweiss and echinacea plant stem cells, baobab fruit oil, peppermint leaf essential oil, kukui nut oil, neem leaf extract, green tea leaf extract, aloe vera juice, and pure aromatic essential oils.
The peppermint, arnica, and aloe-based Muscle Recovery Gel works wonders on sore muscles, and the rollerball applicator provides a massage during application. Details matter and innovation feels good! The No-Rinse Body Cleansing Foam works as a transition from hot yoga even to hot date and the Instant Shower Sheets are immediately refreshing. The Microveil Hair Treatment is activated by heat and is a convenient mist to shift a bad to rad hair day. Designed for use during Savasana, the Body Balance Aroma Concentrate contains bergamot, neroli, and sage to soothe the mind. With repeated use, you begin to associate the scents with savasana and then you can spritz the similarly formulated Aromatic Body Mist to recreate the essence of savasana any time—even during rush hour. It works. Botanicals benefit practice.
YUNI is found at participating retailers, YogaWorks, or online at: yunibeauty.com.
Sara Falugo is the owner and operator of Yoga Nest Venice: yoganestvenice.com