Sabrina Mustopo: Changing the World 1 Chocolate Bar at a Time

A JUARA Indonesia Spotlight!

At 30, Sabrina Mustopo is the CEO and co-founder of Kakoa Chocolate, a 100% Indonesian bean-to-bar chocolate brand which sources cocoa beans from smallholder farmers in Sumatra. Kakoa’s two-fold mission is to create a world-class chocolate from Indonesia that can compete in the global market while improving the livelihoods of Indonesian cocoa farmers. With a degree in international agricultural and rural development from Cornell University, she went on to work as consultant for McKinsey & Company focusing on agriculture and economic development. Her work took her to agricultural projects worldwide, including Tanzania, Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea.

What were you like growing up?

I was daddy’s little girl and a bit of a princess. I even had a pink princess dress. So when I told my family what I was going to do, they said why agriculture? there are bugs out there!” My father, who works in mining was most concerned. He knew it was not an easy industry and not a lot of women are involved in it.

So why agriculture?

Agriculture holds the answer to sustainable economic development. What affected me the most was the issue of hunger. So let’s think about how to solve hunger. Agriculture is the way to do it because you make more food. Economic development is linked to agricultural development which is linked to poverty.

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Farmers pruning cocoa trees

You’re worked for McKinsey & Co and are always dressed to the nines unless you’re in the field. How did the farmers react to you?

In agriculture, I’m odd in any case. It was more “who is this foreign person coming into our village?” I felt like an outsider in many counts. I look different, my Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language) is terrible and I’m the wrong skin colour. It’s like why is this weird Chinese-Indonesian girl who doesn’t speak bahasa here?

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Sabrina holding court with her farmers in Lampung, South Sumatra

Why cocoa farmers specifically?

Being a farmer is a noble profession. Farmers have been long under-appreciated, do some of the hardest work and have the fewest opportunities available to them. Here, the cocoa farmers can’t get their financial needs met and there is a spread of diseases for cocoa trees in the country. So farmers are switching to growing rubber and palm oil.

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Cocoa beans in their colourful pods

How is Kakoa making a difference?

To counter these issues, Kakoa works with World Wildlife Fund and smallholder cocoa farmers in conservation areas such as the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in Sumatra, where some of the last remaining Sumatran rhinos, tigers and elephants live. Since 2014, we’ve had over 60 farmers undergo an 8-week training program to improve the quality of their beans, learn farm management and how to maintain a healthy farming ecosystem. Our farmers are also paid over 3x the market price for their beans. We do this so we can influence farmer behaviour in a way no one else can. They should be given the opportunity to empower themselves.

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The end result of the farmers’ hard work

What has this journey been like for you?

It reminds me of the time I was climbing Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. I was behind the rest of the pack, slower than the rest. There’s still 7 more hours to go and every single second you’re in pain. But at no point in that journey did I want to stop. I told myself I’m going to get there but it kind of sucks right now. You just put one foot in front of the other and take the next step.

Why do you do what you do?

I believe the work we do is important on both the macro and personal level. There is a huge disconnect between people and food. Who are the people who make and grow your food? We want our consumers to get to know the farmers who grow their food, and know that they are making a real and substantial difference in their lives.

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Sabrina and her Kakoa team and WWF trainers

Learn more about Sabrina’s delicious chocolate here!

Thanks JUARA Indonesia team for introducing us to this amazing woman’s work!

Q&A With A Momtrepreneur: Wendi Berger

I had the pleasure of meeting Wendi (and experiencing her amazing perfumes) last year at the WeWork Holiday Market.  

Wendi has more energy than any person I’ve ever met- she truly is a super woman! After working in publishing for years, Wendi decided to champion her destiny by opening Pour Le Monde– a line of perfectly curated natural fragrances for the sophisticated, natural-minded consumer. Here she gives us the scoop on PLM, life as a momtrepreneur, and her journey in the beauty industry!

 

A Chat With Wendi Berger

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Describe Pour Le Monde (PLM) in three words.

For the World (our translation)

Classic, Natural and Altruistic (our mission)

Why did you decide to create your own brand of fragrances?

When I was pregnant, my doctor had recommended refraining from wearing synthetic perfumes. I didn’t have much luck finding natural fragrances, as they were either oily roller balls or single noted fragrances. Nothing smelled as beautiful and sophisticated as the synthetic fragrances I was used to wearing. I saw a hole in the market place and went for it!

How did your past experience help you to be successful in launching your own line?

My career started at Revlon and on to magazine publishing where I worked with many fragrance companies on their marketing and advertising campaigns. I really thought I knew the business! As any entrepreneur will tell you, and as I quickly learned, no matter your experience, when you launch your own business, especially one that is first to market, you are bound to have a lot of learning curves.

Where do you find inspiration for your products?

It’s a challenge because no matter the inspiration, we only have 300 certified 100% natural ingredients in our fragrance library.

That said, fragrances are all about how they make you feel; how they evoke your mood, your style and memory. I seek notes in our limited palate that incorporate those attributes while making sure that they fit into our collection. We’re working on a delicious and playfully girly scent right now and I love how it makes me feel like a kid!

How has being a mother changed or grounded your idea of ‘beauty’?

My child makes me glow from the inside out and because of that, I’m focused more on my skin than ever. I’m in love with the JUARA Radiance Vitality Oil (really!!) and I found an amazing exfoliator made from ground peach pits. Many of the lipsticks I used to wear have been ditched for natural lip glosses.

What has been your favorite moment in the creation of PLM thus far?

Oh gosh there have been so many! I think the first was the day we were at the filler producing the line. I had a moment of clarity realizing I accomplished what everyone in the industry said couldn’t be done—making a gorgeous, truly 100% natural eau de parfum collection. The next was when ELLE declared Pour le Monde as a beauty company to watch in 2015. That’s when you know you’ve made it!

Love what you’ve read? Shop Wendi’s awesome collection here! Get 10% Off any full size bottle with the code: JUARA

A Chat With The Founders – Mother’s Day Edition!

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To celebrate this special day, our JUARA moms give their thoughts on life, motherhood and how they have been inspired by their own mothers.Slide1 Slide2 Slide4 Slide5 Slide6

Photo Credit: David Roemer & Marie Claire UK

Q&A With Celebrity Makeup Artist Gianpaolo Ceciliato

Photo Credit: David Roemer & Marie Claire UK

Photo Credit: David Roemer & Marie Claire UK

Gianpaolo is one of my favorite makeup artists of all time, and I had the pleasure of meeting him last month at the Fall Into Beauty event hosted by the amazing Fournier PR & Consulting!

 

Aside from being the artist responsible for some of the most gorgeous looks in Hollywood (like this one of Taylor Swift) he is a total sweetheart and we got to talking about makeup, beauty philosophies and his recent JUARA love affair!

A Chat With Gianpaolo Ceciliato

Q: How did you get started in the makeup industry?

A: I grew up in Italy, surrounded by beautiful women. I’ve always loved makeup and my favorite playtime was giving makeovers to my friends.

Q: What is your beauty philosophy?

A: Beauty starts with loving yourself and taking the time to take care of yourself. Everyone is beautiful in their own way- work with what you have! And make it better by playing up your individuality.

Q: How do JUARA products blend with your beauty philosophy?

A: Pampering yourself with great products like Juara is a great start to achieve beauty.

Q: What are your three favorite JUARA products and how do you use them on your clients?

A: I always start with a good face massage to create a perfect canvas to work with, using the Clove Flower & Turmeric Serum. I like to wear some Candlenut Perfume Oil on my wrist. And the Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner is great to refresh dry and powdery makeup, just by patting it with my fingers into the skin.

Q: What is your number one beauty tip for winter weather?

A: I always recommend investing in a richer moisturizer.

Q: What role does a scent experience play in your makeup sessions? What is your fragrance philosophy?

A: Aromas and fragrances are very powerful to human senses. By using oil on my wrists, my clients can relax and enjoy the session more.

Q: What was your favorite part of being involved with the Fall Into Beauty event?

A: The best part for me was to have a spa day at my house with my closest friends and being able to test all the Juara products on different skin types and see the results!