Q&A With Michelle Lui, Co-Founder of Natural Body Care Brand, MIFA and Co.

Courtesy of @mifaandco/Instagram

In our first Q&A session, we had the opportunity to chat with Michelle Lui, co-founder of MIFA and Co., about body care, self-care, and entrepreneurship. Check out the conversation below!

Q: For those who don’t know, describe what your business is and what you do?

A: MIFA is a 100% natural body care brand based in Vancouver, British Columbia carrying a unique line of aromatherapeutic and affordable luxury products for the bath, body, and home. The brand is rewriting the rules of natural beauty by using only traditional botanicals, modern plant extracts, and skin-loving essential oils and without the use of any synthetic ingredients, fragrances, fillers, or toxins.

Q: Could you tell us a bit about your backstory and what led you to pursue entrepreneurship in the personal care industry?

A: Fatemah and I are big advocates of the clean beauty industry and have always had a keen interest in ingredients and natural products – have it be in our food, skincare, or even our house cleaning supplies. It’s hard to live a 100% natural lifestyle, that’s too crazy, but you can always start somewhere and that’s what we wanted to inspire people to do. To make that switch, even if its something as simple as your soap or body wash.

In late 2017, Fatemah and I left our corporate jobs to start MIFA. The idea was conceived in Fatemah’s kitchen, hand-making and packaging each product. MIFA has now grown to be a nationally recognized brand and the team has expanded which includes botanically sensitive chemists who understand the synergy and effectiveness of producing high-performing and effective products. MIFA designs, develops and manufactures all products in British Columbia, Canada.

Courtesy of @mifaandco/Instagram

Q: How did you develop your products?

A: We love using skin nourishing ingredients and it's no secret in the skincare industry that botanical oils and plant butters nourish and repair your skin. It takes us over a year to develop our products

as we ensure we’re sourcing the highest quality ingredients but also creating the most effective formulation. We create all our products making sure not only that we source the highest quality ingredients but also oils that are sustainable.

We work with a group of scientists that specialize in natural skincare and they each come from different backgrounds. They help us identify synergies and the effectiveness of our ingredients when combined to deliver simple yet effective products.

Q: MIFA and Co. products are described as “food for the skin and soul” - can you describe what this means?

A: The brand is designed to offer a truly natural self-care experience that not only nourishes your skin, but also offers aromatherapeutic benefits that encourage self-care.

We love creating products that consistently deliver a healing, restorative experience to each of our customers. To us, this is true modern luxury.

Q: What were some of the challenges you faced while launching your company?

A: I think one of the first hurdles we encountered was finding a manufacturer to grow our company with (since we started the company out of Fatemah’s kitchen!). It was important to us to find a

manufacturer that was in Canada, but also one that aligned with our values of being 100% natural and believed in our vision.

Being an indie brand that’s self funded, we really have to be careful on where we’re spending our money. The hurdles definitely don’t stop coming as we grow the business (the mistakes just become more expensive) and to be honest I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being persistent, taking a step back to realign our goals to keep ourselves on track and our partnership as friends and business partners to keep each other accountable helps a lot.

Q: What was the toughest part of quitting your 9-5 gig to follow your dreams?

A: It was a little scary at first leaving our management positions (after working 8 years together in the same office) and walking into the unknown but we believed in our product and had the passion towards living a more natural lifestyle. We knew that we had to give it our all so we just went all in. Having the corporate background did help a lot in terms of starting the business and implementing processes in how we do things, but we’ve definitely had our fair share of challenges much like any entrepreneur!

Q: How do you balance motherhood and running a business?

A: As best friends and mamas, we know how challenging it can be to maintain balance which is why self-care is so important to us. It can simply mean ten minutes of deep breathing and meditation, taking a hot shower, or using products that make you feel good inside and out. And also don’t ever be afraid to ask for help because when people say it takes a village it really does. The both of us rely on our families for support.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about business and entrepreneurship?

A: Don’t be afraid to ask for help and be realistic with your goals. I always tell people to write it down because it’s really easy to get lost in the day to day shuffle.

Q: What is your morning routine?

A: I like to wake up and practice breath work while still laying in bed because I find it helps me wake up. Some mornings I will sneak in a 30 minute jog so I can get back in time to get the kids to school. Otherwise, I am in mom mode until I start my work day with a cup of tea.

Q: What are some of your favorite ways to practice self-care?

A: Michelle: Going for a light morning jog or enjoying a cup of tea alone and taking an extra long steamy shower because between work and family, you don’t really have many moments alone besides being in the bathroom.

Fatemah: I’m definitely a nature junkie - so it would have to be waking up super early, going for a hike, then coming home after a 1 hour self-care ritual. I go all in- cleanse, mask, essence mist, serum, oil, gua-sha, and then end the day with a candle + book.

Q: What is your current favorite beauty and/or skin hack?

A: I’m really into maintaining a natural dewy look as I don’t like to wear a lot of makeup on a regular basis. After rinsing my face, I will use a mist, then add 2 drops of oil into our serum.

Instead of applying a foundation, I like to mix bb cream with a little liquid highlighter to brush on my face. It’s a really quick way to get ready with a simple routine.

Q: What can we expect from MIFA and Co. in the near future - any new product launches coming up?

A: We have 2 new exciting products that we’ve been working on for the last couple of years. The launch date is Oct 21!

Q: How has MIFA and Co. buttered your soul?

A: Leading authentically and with purpose. We LOVE meeting new people. This has been one of the driving factors of MIFA’s success. Connecting with our customers and being at events (pre-COVID) is something we genuinely enjoy and it gives us the purpose to continue doing what we do. As the business has evolved with the pandemic, we have really grown our social community and met so many people online.

You can purchase MIFA and Co. products online at mifaandco.com and at various retailers and boutiques across Canada. Check out the Store Locator to find a stockist near you!

Be sure to follow Michelle and Fatemah on Instagram @mifaandco