Before we take a look back at how our journey started, I have to share with you our mantra that has been with us through thick and thin. We believe that above all, Munio is an aromatic experience. Yes, we make candles, diffusers and skincare products, but they're all tied together through the northern nature and its fusion of scents. Regardless of what our next product is, it will undoubtedly be linked to our roots, the nordic nature and our belief that what we do can't do harm to anyone. With that said, let's take a look back at how the MUNIO was born and has evolved through the years.
Sharing your background with someone is such an intimate thing. Ultimately, we want to have this connection with our customers to show where we come from, why we care about clean products and who we are as a brand on a deeper, more personal level. It's been 13 years since the first time Elina, our founder, tried to make her own candle. She didn't start out with the soul purpose to create a candle business. Actually, she started out with a cute cafe in the middle of Old Riga.
Elina always had this thing with candles and scents. They create such a relaxing and calm ambiance. So naturally, when she opened the little cafe in Old Riga, it had candles lit at all times, the more the better. Our customers truly enjoyed the atmosphere it created. Burning through hundreds of candles each month came at a cost. At that time, the most common candles we could get our hands on were made of paraffin wax. It burned so quickly - there just had to be a better way.
Determined to find something better, Elina began researching candle making and stumbled upon soy wax as an alternative to paraffin. Imagine the surprise when she learned that It burned twice as long! The environmental benefits kicked in a little later (since soy wax is made from soybeans, it is friendly to the environment because soybeans are a renewable resource and it's non-toxic).
Elina was on a mission and soon had all the gear necessary for soy candle making. Two of her friends jumped on board and joined her along this endeavour. At this time in 2007 Munio was just a hobby. She still had her cafe and her friends had their full time jobs. Right from the getgo it was clear that Munio would represent its Northern origins by showcasing scents that are found in the northern nature - forests, meadows, and countryside air. Even more, creating eco and organic products was equally as important.
The business was growing rapidly so when the opportunity presented itself to attend a well-known trade show in Japan, they couldn't say no despite the lack of experience and the intimidation from all the big players. Figuring out all the logistics was difficult, but it taught them a new set of skills that is still useful today. If you've ever been to a trade show, you're well aware of how impressive some of the stands are and how much energy and resources it takes to pull something like that off.
The Japanese loved the Munio products and the success at the trade show opened doors for Munio to enter the Asian market with confidence. It's surprising how well our products were received, this was a big stepping stone for us. Bigger wholesale orders started rolling in and we had the resources to continue creating new collections and deliver products to more countries.
In 2012 Elina joined forces with her sister Laura to create the powerhouse team they are today. They're a natural fit - what Elina brings in creativity and product development, Laura matches in production, logistics and finance. A truly democratic approach to everything is behind all decision making at Munio. This all women team is like family. Everyone takes their job seriously and puts incredible love and patience into each product. This mindset is what sets Munio apart from others. We're a design candle and skincare studio that takes pride in its close-knit team and creating small batch, quality products.
13 years later we still do everything by hand. We go out in nature and pick the moss, flowers and herbs for our products. We place each decorative flower in the candle by hand. We mix, we pour, we de-mold and package all products by hand and we do it with great sense of pride. It is essential to us that each product is created by us. Held, molded, and packaged with our good thoughts and energy. You can feel the love we've put into each product when you use it. And that matters to us.
Fun fact: the Munio packaging has not changed since day one. Even then the biodegradable cardboard was important to both Elina and the team. And along the way a more environmentally friendly approach has been on Munio's agenda. At least 95% of our ingredients are COSMOS CERTIFIED (The COSMOS-standard signature is a consumer guarantee for organic and natural cosmetics that you can trust). We use natural essential oils and other fragrances to create our signature scents.
Besides valuing the ingredients and hand made aspect, we care about evolving, growing, looking for alternatives and challenging the usual ways of doing things. Constantly learning is crucial to succeed. Elina has always had an interest in understanding aromas and the science behind perfumery. It seemed like a natural fit to develop this skill further and enrol in the Grasse Institute of Perfumery in France . Going in-depth to understand how to build scents gave her the inspiration needed to create Munio skincare. In early 2019 we started experimenting with formulas and aromas.
Each scent is created by carefully mixing droplets of essential oils to create the perfect bouquet for each product. The scents are so nuanced that a drop can change everything. For Laura and Elina, moss is one of their favorite Munio scents. It was created completely from scratch experimenting with adding the tiniest drops of fragrance to finally land on the moss aroma.
If we look back at our northern ancestors and how they preserved ingredients and other goods, it was always with the help of linen, cotton cloth, wool and other natural fibers. We've adopted this approach to Munio as well. We use soy and rapeseed waxes which are completely natural and non-toxic. We add natural fragrances and essential oil blends to give our products the most natural scent.
The product is not only its scent or ingredients. What's on the outside matters. We avoid plastic as much as possible when it comes to our products. Munio candles are wrapped in a cotton cloth and then placed in a biodegradable cardboard box. Same goes for skincare - we use glass bottles and place each in a natural tie-bag before shipping. Sustainable packaging that creates less waste and little to no carbon footprint is one of our top priorities. If the solution doesn't exist, we'll create it.
Munio joined a research group to work on packaging alternatives that are less waste, environmentally sustainable and simply better for the planet. We're making progress with packaging that will eliminate harmful plastic. Hopefully in the next few months we'll be able to add it to our production.
There's so much still in store for the Munio. This company was built by the spirit of grit, passion and its core values for natural and sustainable products. We're proud of what we've done so far, but we still have a lot to show you!