From startup to success, Monique Kaminski

Jeuneora skincare and supplement company founder Monique Kaminski navigated her startup to provide solutions and cultivate a community. Looking back on a now multi-million dollar company is nostalgic, the Christchurch businesswoman tells Metropol Deputy Editor Nina Tucker.

Monique is her own boss. She has the freedom to set her course, driving decisions that directly impact the business. “It’s always a rush, especially when you see something you’ve worked hard on come to life and resonate with people,” she reflects.

The constant hustle is made easier with a strong network. Every Friday morning, Monique and around 10 other Kiwi females get together to share knowledge in their business ventures. Led by tech entrepreneur Claudia Batten, Monique explains that for four years, it has been an indispensable tool in gaining support and trust through the growth and changes of entrepreneurship. “I’ve been lucky to meet so many inspiring women in business.”

Monique saw the opportunity to start a business when the publicly-known benefits of marine collagen were few and far between. She founded Jeuneora in 2016 “with a single marine collagen product and the ambition to build an online business”. A background in design and branding helped Monique launch her website, and her close friend Meg joining the company was another boost to the brand’s development.

Leaving her job to prioritise Jeuneora full-time, Monique expanded into marine collagen supplements for hair, skin, and nails, wellness supplements for sleep, digestion, and brain function, a skincare range in 2021, and added more team members. “Learning everything about a new industry was tough but so exciting,” she says.

In the beginning, the business skyrocketed. “Our growth was extremely quick, and I naively thought it would continue forever.” Monique’s experience is that success is not linear, and each stage is a learning curve, “it’s more like a squiggly line”.

However, Monique’s idea of success isn’t what you might expect. “Success isn’t just about profits, it’s also about how much good we can do.” One dollar from every purchase is donated to one of three charities the Jeuneora team hold close to their hearts.

This generosity has collectively raised $13,305 for World Wildlife Fund, $12,643 for Hagar NZ, $11,395 for SPCA, $12,763 for Women’s Refuge, and $29,993 for KidsCan since the Jeuneora Giving programme launched in 2021. In 2023, Jeuneora was a gold sponsor of the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ, donating $5 from every container of the limited edition Pink Renew+ product, a donation totalling $20,000.

The Jeuneora tagline is “makes a big difference”, which its products do for those who use them, but also reflects the philanthropy the brand engages in. “Giving back has always been a big part of who we are. It’s a cycle of positivity we love being a part of.”

Making her wellbeing a receiver of positivity is paramount too, Monique explains. “You need to take time for yourself, to fill your cup so you can give to others.” With her husband Steve, a passionate golfer, Monique began playing too, prioritising this quality time with Steve in stunning surroundings and seeing progress through practice, a break from the business hum.

Emphasising healthy wellbeing is essential because the road is not always smooth. Perfecting the packaging was a journey, Monique remembers, of manufacturing disruptions and design pushback. “Our perseverance paid off,” she explains.

So much time, energy, and exploration goes into building a business, especially one that holds a key to confidence. Expert formulators and chemists ensure product development is perfect, stability and dermatologist testing are vital to skincare releases, and extensive research goes into every product vision.

Most often, these link back to ideas that came up during the annual Jeuneora staff retreat. Working with customer feedback or problems the team see becoming increasingly common, solutions are brainstormed, alongside promotions and campaigns for the year. “Seeing everyone’s contributions shape the outcome is really rewarding.”

If a yearly escape isn’t enough to make you want to work in her team, let it be the caring, family-like bond within the company culture. “I’m so fortunate to have an incredible team. I wouldn’t be here today without them.”

Monique knew when dissecting the pillars of what her brand would become, that community would be at the forefront. “We’ve built an empowered community by staying deeply connected with our customers and actively listening to their feedback,” Monique says. Engagement on social media, their community Facebook group, surveys to gain valuable feedback, and a brand committed to solutions-based products are what make up the connection and strength you will find in her community. “I have read every review,” she confirms.

It makes sense, having grown up in a warm home environment with a family she remains “super close with”. “You were never alone,” she says, with four siblings that helped her build resilience. “You learn to speak your mind loudly.”

New Zealand will remain their most special market, although Monique plans to spread her business wings worldwide and to navigate new pathways. Gaining the globally-recognised B Corp certification for social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability, a Toitū carbon reduce certification, and the recent launch into the world’s third-largest retailer,, alongside brands such as Estée Lauder, make it look like it’s only up from here. “It’s a mix of challenges and rewards, but overall, the best part is the journey of building something you believe in and seeing it grow.”

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