For those with sensitive skin, many scour their local drugstores for affordable products that don’t have excessive ingredients that make them break into hives. But, one resourceful KO student, Minilla Muthukumar ’24 created her own brand of skin care products, Vie en Rose, to find a solution and carve a niche in the market.
During quarantine, “I wanted to find out if I could make these products myself.” she said. “I did a lot of research on good, trusted, ethically sourced ingredients, and once I found those products, I decided to order them and test them out. They really did work. Not just for me but for other members of my family. It made our skin very soft.”
Over the summer, she taught public speaking and coding classes and used the proceeds as seed money. “My parents gave me a little money to purchase ingredients. In the beginning, it was hard to turn over the product very quickly. Since there were a lot of expenses, it took about a year and a half to turn a profit.”
The Vie en Rose product line started with body butter, a completely oil-based body lotion with no preservatives that work for all skin types. Muthukumar uses mainly cocoa butter, shea butter and, adds coconut oil and almond oil, and tests the reaction of each of those ingredients on one another. Her process includes melting all the ingredients, cooling them down over several hours, and whipping the mixture in a Kitchen Aid, so the end result is fluffy and soft. She said her ingredients emulsify well since she adds oils with a high melting point to prevent this separation. Face masks, powder-based that you mix with water, are another Vie en Rose product.
After launching these skin care products, she conducted consumer research on what people wanted to use and branched out into sugar scrubs. Recently, she started producing lip balms. Vie en Rose is offered in three scents belle mango, ocean breeze, and pineapple. The product is sold via her website, at local farmer’s markets during the summer, and most recently at her local hair salon.
In addition to creating the product, she enjoys the sales aspect of the business and connecting with customers. “I get to talk to consumers and understand what they want so I can cater to their needs as well. But then also, I can use that feedback to be creative and try and find more things that they like.”
“Vie en Rose or Life in Pink,” Muthukumar said, “means happiness and love, which I’m starting to spread with my company.”
Muthukumar recently sold her wares at the Youth Pop-Up Market in Blue Back Square.