We’ve long been intrigued by LHAMOUR’s founder, director and chief technologist, Khulan and had the opportunity to interview her on taking the road less traveled, particularly in the Mongolian beauty landscape. Let’s dive right into her extraordinary achievements and unique journey!
Hi Khulan! We’re so pleased to have you here with us today! Please introduce yourself and share with us how the brand came to be.
My name is Khulan Davaadorj. I am the founder, director and chief technologist of LHAMOUR, Mongolia’s first organic skincare brand.
In 2012, I came back to Mongolia to work for Mongolia’s first wind farm company after having lived in the States and Europe for many years. I slowly started to develop allergies due to the negative external effects such as air pollution, low water quality and extreme climate, which was a great shock to me because I’ve never had allergies and having skin rashes truly affected my daily life.
I consulted with dermatologists and they advised me that I should use mild natural products. However, it was close to impossible finding this in Mongolia as these products were either imported and really expensive or were lacking in quality and purity of ingredients.
That motivated me to start thinking about products in general, looking at ingredients lists, and understanding what it truly means when we speak about natural products.
“What started out as a solution regarding my own skin problems turned into a passion.”
What were the steps you took to learn how to formulate and eventually build your own brand?
I decided to pursue the formulation part of it professionally by enrolling with Formula Botanica, the world's leading accredited online Organic Cosmetics Science School, and eventually became a professional skin care product formulator. I moved on quickly to taking an advanced diploma in cosmetics chemistry and soon starting experimenting with different formulations using home-grown Mongolian ingredients, which I then distributed to friends and family who had similar skin problems to mine.
Thus began my journey of entrepreneurship, using the amazingly rich plant resources we have here in Mongolia.
We love your brand name! What does LHAMOUR mean?
LHAMOUR is partially named after my niece, whose name is LHAMO.
“I believe what we do today will affect the next generation and I have therefore been very intentional with the social impact that my company creates.”
The underlying mantra is to look after each other as well as the earth we’re living in.
Being a pioneer in anything is fraught with challenges. What were the big steps you took in order to establish yourself?
Even though the company is young (we’ve only been in existence for 5 years), I believe we have made great leaps in developing skincare products made in Mongolia, being environmentally and socially responsible and heling to develop other social entrepreneurs.
“We were the first store to introduce a zero waste corner where our customers can fill recyled packaging with our products as well as having a zero waste production line.”
I’m proud to say that we’ve been recognized in our efforts by being recently awarded “Most Responsible Small Medium Enterprise (SME) in Asia” and “Best Startup in Mongolia”. We were also most recently featured in Forbes.
What do you think makes manufacturing in Mongolia different?
Ingredients are the fundamental foundations of our brand. Mongolia has a rich history and culture, and a huge unique variety of plants and herbs.
“The fact that the country is 5 times bigger than Germany and yet has a population of only 3 million goes to show that there is still so much untapped natural resources.”
We use high quality, organic ingredients that are unique to Mongolia such as Sea Buckthorn, Rose Hip, Thyme and Nettle, and we work directly with local farmers and producers or harvest this ourselves. This enables us to achieve the purity that’s embodied within our brand’s identity as well as give local producers the ability to make additional income and hopefully to expand in the future.
Please share with our readers the struggles and obstacles you’ve had to face in your journey and how you overcame them!
I think the whole journey itself has been somewhat of a movie! Since we are Mongolia’s first organic skincare brand, everything truly has been a challenge. I started from home, alone, with no prior knowledge of running a business or even creating products. When I launched my first product in Mongolia, nobody even knew what natural, organic skincare meant.
“In 2014, I started my first office on September 1st and just 12 days later we were burgled. Everything was stolen…all my formulations, plans, everything.”
Then in 2015 when I officially launched, I had to face a wave of people doubting me, refusing to believe that a young woman could actually start her own business from home. Mongolia you see at that time was heavily invested in its mining activities and social entrepreneurship was nearly unheard of.
“In 2016, our production site flooded…twice! The water level was up to my knees and I had to go onto Facebook to ask for help. To my astonishment, our followers who were within 30 minutes of our site came in to help. That was an amazing moment and one which I will never forget.”
Now, years later, we still face constant challenges like new copycat brands, those intermittent financial issues, human resource planning issues, etc…
Is social media considered important in your distribution strategy?
Yes, we use social media as our main platform. Follow us here to receive the latest updates :
- Instagram North America :
- Facebook North America :
- Facebook Mongolia :
We’re so excited to be showcasing your Cold Pressed Flaxseed Oil in our July box! Let us know why yours is so different from other brands out there.
First of all, our organic Flaxseed is 100% sustainably grown and sourced in Mongolia, which we then cold press without any heating mechanisms that will destroy its incredible healing properties.
“Our Flaxseed Oil is considered a superfood and can also be taken orally. When applied to the face, it plumps up the skin and helps to repair skin cells dermally, showing a marked improvement in elasticity, firmness, tone and texture in a very short amount of time.”
Due to the high content of Omega-3 in the Flaxseed that we source, make sure you massage it deeply into skin to activate its anti-inflammatory properties.
Do you support any charities or movements?
“We are a business that focuses on creating social responsibility and do support many existing charities and movements, but more importantly, we create our own.”
We initiated a mentorship program called “Finding Your Passion” for teenagers aged 14-16 years old, which guides them towards finding a sustainable career path. We also did a “Girls in STEM” program to encourage girls to take a stronger lead in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field.
We also initiated numerous other programs for children, such as going to the suburbs and providing free dental care services for public school kids, renovating the children’s section in public hospitals and distributing products to kids with disabilities.
“We genuinely believe that other than focusing on profits, companies can become game-changers by acting on positive social values from the beginning. It’s this holistic approach that allows me to create a company that’s both about value as well as social impact.”
What are your plans going forward?
LHAMOUR is launching our face care series in 2020! We have also just acquired a land to expand our production and grow our own raw material. To date, we have managed to expand our team to 50+ people, which also recently contributed to us winning the title of being the best “SME Female-Led Company of 2019 in Mongolia”!