Hi, I’m Mabel, founder of Ulan. Now 37 years old, this is my story.
I grew up watching my older sisters obsess about their skin. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about until I hit my teens. My hormones changed, and my baby skin was a thing of the past. Here began my lifelong fascination with the mechanisms behind beautiful complexions.
I didn’t find my skincare saviour overnight. But mistakes are how we learn.
The first lightbulb moment was realising I had never understood my own skin type, meaning I spent years buying completely incompatible products. My second big revelation was that not all skincare products are made equal. I never thought to check or understand their formulations. The younger me didn’t think it made much difference. Another great way to waste money!
My final big learning curve was realising the crucial importance of moisture. For too long, I thought moisturising serums were for the elderly! I know now that moisture should be a pillar of every skincare routine, whatever your age.
In my younger years, I devoted so much of my time to the fundamentals of skincare, that friends and family began to come to me for advice. This is where my passion really ignited. I would happily go home and spend a few hours researching in order to make a considered recommendation for my friends’ skin concerns. The only problem was the products available in the shops at the time. Most contained ingredients and chemicals that my research had urged me to avoid. This meant my options became very small.
But there was another, largely unexplored source of knowledge that I could draw from to connect people with truly healthy, effective skincare. Let me explain.
I live in New Zealand. We are made up of many cultures that contribute to our patrimony. One culture in particular has always intrigued me: the indigenous Maori people. Thanks to their ancestral culture, the Maori carry thousands of years of accumulated wisdom that is applied to all aspects of their lives - including how to keep skin looking healthy and youthful. They never used synthetic materials - just the native botanicals they harvested from the land.
I have had the great privilege of speaking with and learning from the Maori people - witnessing their craft firsthand. I also have the immense luck of teaming up with one of New Zealand’s most well-known formulators with over 33 years’ experience in the industry. This is how, in 2016, Ulan was born.
We have since sponsored famous models such as Miss World Oceania 2018 and Miss World New Zealand Jessica Tyson (and both still use our products every day!).
I’ve bought so many unnecessary and useless products in my life - but you don’t have to.
I firmly believe that if there’s no solution out there to meet your needs, the best thing to do is create your own.
Whenever people ask me why I chose to pursue skincare, I always tell them, ‘skincare chose me, not the other way around!’