In the Limelight with Clarissa Burt interviews Kim Wellen: Founder of Mantra Mask
In the Limelight today we have another extraordinary woman entrepreneur, a lovely lady working in the beauty industry. Welcome, Kim Wellen! You have an idea that has come back with a vengeance. I remember using these when I was younger they came and went quickly. When I think, K Beauty got ahold of this, it had an avalanche again of notoriety and fame. I’m talking about sheet masks, they are so glorious and so luscious. I’ve got five of them here in front of me. I cannot wait to try them. You are the founder of Mantra Mask, you have not only taken a sheet mask, which is already luxurious and lovely all by itself, but infused different ingredients with a CBD base. CBD, what is it? If I put this on my face, am I going to get high? Why don’t we start there and how the idea came about?
Kim Wellen: Thank you! It all started with a skincare brand I’ve been with for the last 10 years. About two years ago I decided it was time that I went off on my own. I’m out on a walk with my daughter and I said, “What can we do together? What can we start that you and I like?” She’s 16, so they love sheet masks. Like sheet masks in high school are everything so I said, “We should start a sheet mask company!” We went back to my formulator, Hal Simeroth, which I think you’ve met.
Clarissa: Yeah. He’s awesome.
Kim Wellen: Yes he’s my formulator and I was there in the office when you were doing an interview but I had no idea that he was talking to you. Then today I found out. Anyway, all of these masks are made with the highest quality ingredients. After going to Hal he decided to take this on. We started without the CBD, then about eight months ago, we decided we need to take it to the next level because CBD was coming out everywhere. We wanted more. We wanted the best and we already had the best but we knew that if we added CBD it would be even better.
Clarissa: There was a lot of CBD buzz. I don’t know if you go to the beauty shows I go to as many as I can because it’s where I learn about all the trends, what’s happening, what works and what doesn’t and CBD started. It has to be five, six years ago at least. Slowly but surely, it was in a booth in the corner then all of a sudden here we are mainstream. Do you want to address that a second?
Kim Wellen: Yes, when we started two years ago, we wanted to add CBD right away, but the prices were so high. I think it was 18,000 USD for a kilo. We use isolate right now although we are looking to change into nanotechnology soon. We added the CBD to make our masks much better. There’s a lot of studies but nothing I can claim on my packaging as it helps with eczema, it’s anti-inflammatory and such.
Clarissa: There are things you can’t say officially because it has not been approved by the FDA yet. Therein lies the conundrum but people who have been using it for years swear by its properties and all of the lovely things that it does from inside and outside. That’s why it’s become so popular so quickly. I think CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart now have taken it on the top shelf because it is so very popular. I love the idea, it’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited to try a beauty product for sure. We’re going to go through them because I want to know the idea behind this, what’s in it and why it works. The first one is the Mantra Mask Hemp CBD Anti-Aging. Now there is one sheet per pack, correct?
Kim Wellen: There’s one sheet per package with 24 grams of serum. When you go to a store, you are gonna pay 80 USD for 24 grams of high-quality serum. Luckily, I was able to get all my ingredients from the other brands so we were able to keep it at an affordable price, which was our goal all along. Anti-Aging is my favorite because all of our masks are 15 USD each, the reason being that they’re all a treatment mask and you will notice a difference after the first time. Anti-aging fights the fine lines, wrinkles, firms, plumps it brings everything up after one time. These have been used in the spas as add-ons only because patients will leave there seeing such a difference in their skin.
Clarissa: Is that your target market? Spas or is it mainstream now?
Kim Wellen: We have gotten into Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, American Eagle, and all 40 Planet Beauties.
Clarissa: Congratulations, that’s extraordinary! So when you open it and apply the mask, how long should it stay on?
Kim Wellen: You leave it on about 20 minutes but you can leave it on longer. I like to put him on before bed, take it off before going to sleep, so the serum can soak in all night.
Clarissa: Such a great self-care product. It’s one of those things if you can take a half an hour out of your day to relax and throw this on, it stays on your skin beautifully. It feels glorious and this one here is Collagen.
Kim Wellen: The Collagen was our original mask, it hydrates and plumps. We started with this one because in Southern California we need the hydration and it also has anti-aging but not specifically as the Anti-Aging Mask.
Clarissa: I want to get into the Blemish Mask, is this the one with charcoal?
Kim Wellen: No, this has green tea & bakuchiol extract specifically for anybody who gets blemishes. Not just teenagers. I got an email from a 54-year-old woman who got cystic acne in her 50s, could not get rid of it, had tried everything on the market, ended up buying 30 of my masks because she said that was the only thing that helped her. And this is the Repair Mask, perfect after a micro-needling treatment or anything abrasive you get done to your face. I would say you don’t want to put it on any open wounds, but after that, it should cut the recovery time down by about eight days.
Clarissa: I see in here CBD, camomile, MSM– What’s MSM?
Kim Wellen: MSM is the powder that we put in for moisturizing.
Clarissa: Then you have vitamins B3, B5, C and E in the Repair Mask. It’s amazing. The last one is the After Sun Mask, probably self-explanatory but still.
Kim Wellen: After Sun was developed for my son who surfs and gets sunburns all the time. It’s going to help minimize the sunburn.
Clarissa: Wonderful. What was it like working with your daughter? 16 years old girls and you’re teaching her already about entrepreneurship and what it means to be in business, that’s a huge leg up.
Kim Wellen: She is so sweet. She is the most positive light in our lives. When you walk in our house and there are mantras everywhere because she’s is an artist and does calligraphy. When it came to a name, we couldn’t do anything but “Mantra Mask” because she brings out the inner beauty in everyone. She designed all the labels and wrote all the quotes for each separate mask. She’s taken over social media for me doing a lot behind the scenes. She is now applying to colleges and she wants to go into Graphic Communications.
Clarissa: Very interesting, really cool! The idea that came to my mind, for us older ladies, was maybe one sheet to go over the chest, you will thank me one day.
Kim Wellen: I do actually put it on my chest after I take it off my face. Maybe one for the body.
Clarissa: Exactly, that would be awesome!
Clarissa: How about the moments that weren’t so fun? From a successful entrepreneur like yourself, let’s talk about the moments of doubt, being there are already so many on the market, what is different from everyone else’s?
Kim Wellen: It has been such a challenging road. It takes a village to do this, I have lots of friends and cheerleaders behind me all the time rooting me on. There’ve been many days that I’ve wanted to quit. My brain goes 100 miles a minute and doesn’t slow down. I’ve learned to be an entrepreneur/business owner you need to slow down and review your work. For example, I made 5,000 of my first label and I spelled collagen wrong. Not only did that set me behind another month, but it also cost me 600 USD. My husband was yelling at me to slow down. Take your time is what I’ve learned. Double-check your work and enjoy the road as it’s going because it does.
Clarissa: I also wanted to mention these are made here in the States, that’s a good selling point for a lot of people to know where their stuff is coming from. And so difficult moment. OK. Slow down. Double-check your work. When was it that you thought this thing might have some legs?
Kim Wellen: I think it was when Urban Outfitters reached out to me and I thought it was a joke until my girlfriend started explaining what Urban Outfitters is. They said, “We have 250 stores, tried your masks, love them and want to bring them on.” I thought it was a joke. I called my husband in tears and he thought I was in a car accident. I said, “No! You’re not going to believe it. Urban Outfitters wants our masks.” I think at that moment it became real to me.
Clarissa: How did they find you?
Kim Wellen: She said one of her friends had given her one. She tried it and loved it.
Clarissa: That’s serendipity right there. With grand success, things going very well. What’s next?
Kim Wellen: We’re working on new products right now. We have a CBD eye-gel coming out. We’re also working on a couple of non-mask products.
Clarissa: But still under Mantra Mask?
Kim Wellen: Yes, still Mantra Mask.
Clarissa: Great! Where can we find you?
Kim Wellen: You can find us online, at Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, American Eagle, all 40 Planet Beauties, Columbia Care at their medical offices and spas. Our website is MantraMask.com and social media @MantraMask.
Clarissa: Thank you so much. ✧