Think of someone who you grew up watching on television and imagine sitting down and talking to them for the first time. That’s how I felt with beauty YouTuber-turned influencer-turned brand founder extraordinaire Teni Panosian, except instead of a rom-com, I had been watching her makeup tutorials on YouTube for years.
Panosian started her career as a beauty vlogger and, in 2011, transitioned into blogging with the launch of her site, Miss Maven. Fast forward 10 years, Panosian is the face of YSL Beauty, a mega-influencer with a solid 576K followers on Instagram, and the founder of her own line, Monday Born, a gentle, vegan, and clean skin-care line that just launched last year. How does she juggle it all? The 35-year-old says it’s all thanks to her long-standing community of followers, who have not only helped formulate the products in her line, but have given her the strength to be unapologetically herself.
What are your favorite products that you can’t live without?
“I’m going to have to look at my shelfie, but off the top of my head, there’s an amazing oil I just started using by a brand called AYOND, it’s called Amber Elix Face Oil ($120), and if you look at the ingredients you will see some amazing extracts in this oil—I’m really enjoying that. RMS Beauty is another favorite of mine because it’s a really nice, natural, and clean brand. The Body Shop makes a really good concealer—it’s called the Matte Clay Concealer ($10)—that works for days where I need to clean up my face and it’s so unassuming. Lastly, not only do I love Tom Ford for the quality of its products, but for the experience, too—it’s otherworldly. In the end, as long as I’m having a good skin day, I’m good!”
What about your skin-care brand Monday Born—what are your favorite products in the line?
“Monday Born launched in March of 2020, right as we were getting into the pandemic, but I don’t regret anything. Because we’re so community-driven, and this was a time where we all had to physically disconnect, it was a nice opportunity to virtually get together and have a community—I think a lot of people were really motivated by that. We launched with our product Rebirth ($58), which is an exfoliating lactic acid serum that has now become our best-seller, followed by Source ($42), which is a hydrating essence and my personal favorite product because it has made such a difference in my daily life. The two pair really well together because Rebirth deeply exfoliates and Source replenishes. We actually just wrapped up the launch from our new moisturizer The Seven ($52) too, and it’s awesome because it’s not just a moisturizer—it replenishes the density in the skin and it also improves the skin, so I’m very excited about that. Lastly, we have a Cleansing Duo ($62) coming up soon!
Personally, as much as I love Rebirth, I really think Source is my absolute favorite because the base requirement for your skin should always be hydration. When your skin is hydrated, something like a Rebirth is going to work even better at exfoliating versus exfoliating over dry skin. Source pumps health into your skin thanks to centella asiatica and meadowfoam seed oil, which mimics the skin’s natural sebum. It’s the kind of thing that you can layer on because it has a low molecular weight so it penetrates the skin and it’s great for layering.”
What are Monday Born’s standout ingredients?
“Clean was a no-brainer, it was our starting point. I don’t want to give too much weight to a small ingredient list, but a smaller list means less things you could possibly react to. Beyond that, we use science-backed ingredients, which speaks to why our customer retention rate is so insane. Even my business partner said he’s never seen anything like this, which really speaks to the efficacy of the products. We also produce in Korea, and they’re pretty ahead when it comes to skin care, so they’re really good about advising us about which direction to go in and what key ingredients we should be using in our formulations, from hydrating birch juice to centella asiatica, which has been used in Eastern medicine to treat conditions like burns and scars. Plus, we use a high amount of each ingredient to really make a difference in the skin. Instead of having product sit in a warehouse for more than a year, Monday Born has made an effort to reduce waste and give our customers a fresh product by only creating what we sell, which helps keep our products fresh and working to the best of their ability.”
How did your YouTube career guide you through your entrepreneurial endeavors?
“I think the biggest way it shaped the direction I went in with product is the community factor. Spending years connecting with people I would have otherwise never spoken to via comments and learning about their preferences and challenges—I started, over the years, getting more comfortable with opening up and people have started to reciprocate that—has really took me more towards an inclusive direction. Anyone who wants to come along for this ride can be as involved as possible. I mean, when we’re formulating, we ask our followers for their opinions on packaging and we actually go with what the majority ends up picking. Then, I will give people updates on delays, what we’re doing, and what our lab is telling us. Instead of showing a perfectly packaged final product at the end, we invite our consumers to come on the journey with us and see what goes into creating all of this. I wouldn’t be anywhere without these people.”
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