Tell us about yourself? What are your products and what is the story behind the Masami brand?
I have been a corporate professional in advertising for my entire career, starting out as a receptionist in Chicago for a small ad agency working my way up in the industry, eventually moving to New York City where I worked for bigger agencies and some iconic big brands. By 2018 I was the CEO of J. Walter Thompson New York where I decided to resign at a time where I felt it was the appropriate time to take on more control of my life and get back into doing what I loved doing which was the creative side of building brands. What most people don’t realize is how operational a senior corporate job can become with a lot more finance and administrative obligations that ultimately move away from creating and building a brand and its story. By the time of my departure, I was doing brand consulting with start-ups which then opened up the opportunity to meet my co-founder, and that is how Masami was born.
Masami is clean premium hair care with our core main ingredient being a Japanese ocean botanical called Mekabu, which is a strong hydrating component. Masami launched in February 2020 with shampoo, conditioner, styling cream and shine serum. The story behind Masami is a beautiful chance encounter with my co-founder, who in 2018 was in the final stages of finishing some amazing formulations that he had been working on for about 10 years. Our co-founder needed help and guidance on figuring out what to do next and how to go to market with the formulations already in place. From that, we created a great working relationship that allowed us to go into business together and launch the Masami brand.
Can you highlight to us what are the benefits of a Masami hair product? Why would people want to use them?
From a very tangible level you will see and feel the difference on your hair after using our products just once because our products deliver this massive dose of hydration and most of our customers really see their hair respond to that. People don’t actually realize just how dehydrated their hair is. A lot of us focus on dehydration of our skin and pay less attention to the dehydration of our hair. Hair dehydration is the number one unmet need for consumers meaning there is a gap between what they want it to be and what they currently have. So if you solve the hydration issue with people’s hair, they are much happier with their hair overall because it looks much healthier, shinier, it can be fuller, more manageable and takes care of the frizz which is what Masami does. And all of this is done through the Mekabu ingredient – the natural way to give you the hydration that you need without weighing your hair down and that is the critical piece because nobody wants hair that looks limp and oily. As a brand, we are very clear on our brand values of inclusive, diversity, sustainability, caring for our oceans, we want our products to be good for you and good for the environment as it is all about hydration; true to yourself and true to the brand.
Who is your target market? And what feedback do your customers say about the products?
Surprisingly our target market is inclined to a little more older audience who are noticing that they have got damaged hair because they do a lot to it, pregnant women because this is the crucial time where a lot of women are re-evaluating what they are putting into their bodies and a considerable number of men consume our products with at least 40% of our customers being men who use Masami products. Our products are gender neutral, inclusive, diverse and sustainable for everyday use.
Where do you see Masami in the next 12 months to 2 years? Are you planning on adding new products? If so, what are they?
We have a lot of things in the works up ahead, the first thing we are doing is launching a large sized refillable ceramic bottle in April 2021, which is aligned to one of our values of sustainability by eliminating plastic bottles and plastic use; and it is a behavior change for people to conserve the environment because our bottles are meant to be used forever with refill pouches. The main goal with our new bottle is to evoke a behavior change in people that reduces throwing out plastic bottles which ultimately leads to reducing plastic waste.
We also have a hair mask we are launching later in the year and we are also currently expanding globally taking the brand into Australia, the United Kingdom and Dubai come April 2021.
What do you like most about meeschell.com? How has the Masami brand benefited from our platform?
Meeschell is a like minded brand in terms of the focus on natural, the focus on health and the focus on well-being which is very much aligned with Masami, which makes it a great fit. In terms of values, we are much in sync with Meeschell. It is a great place for people to discover Masami. And for us, finding other brands aligned with our values where the customer appreciates is a plus factor and an added value, and we hope to continue to work well with Meeschell in the coming future.
Do you have any give back program that positively impacts your community?
We set up the Masami Institute which is a foundation that helps fund ocean research and education in North east Japan and we did that because that is where we get our key ingredient. Our standpoint was as humans when we take from the earth, we should feel some sense of responsibility to give back and replenish, and so that is our focus right now. People don’t realize the level of importance the ocean plays in balancing out the earth’s ecosystem and climate change. There are a lot of issues with waste, climate change and natural disasters. The tsunami hit that area of Japan in 2011 and the community there hasn’t fully recovered. Just to bring back the ocean botanical back to the level that they were is still not yet there. There is still a lot of work to do and it will be ongoing work as there continue to be hurricanes, tsunamis and different events to deal with.
What key takeaway of your brand and journey would you like to share that can inspire someone taking on a new venture?
Our key takeaway of the Masami brand is that we found our inspiration in Japan, not only as our key ingredient but also as our co-founder’s husband is named ‘Masa’ hence ‘Masami’; he is Japanese and he grew up in that little town that was hit by the tsunami. I believe that there is inspiration all around you that is natural, that is good for you and if you want to live in the lifestyle of being Eco-friendly and finding products that are good for you and good for the environment, you just have to look a little harder and you can find them. On a personal level, if you are thinking about starting a new business or changing your lifestyle then the time is now. Don’t wait and don’t put it off.
Any positive affirmations that you live by that keep you motivated?
Live with a spirit of generosity, it will come back to you.
As told to Tendai Kamusikiri