Emmanuel Rey and Suzanne Dawson want to help you sustain your yogic afterglow long after savasana has ended.
The creators of natural self-care line, Yuni—designed to enhance yoga practice and prolong its effects—bring a broad worldview and notable beauty experience to the table: French-born Rey studied agricultural engineering before working as a cocoa and coffee-buyer in the West African bush. That’s when he began to develop the notion of a “win-win-win” business model that benefits all involved and the world. He went on to work in commodities, earn his MBA and then hone his experience with major beauty players like L’Oreal, Aveda, Bumble & Bumble and Darphin.
Meanwhile, India-born and Australia-educated Dawson was cutting her teeth internationally for companies like Aveda, Murad and OleHenriksen (LVMH), growing their businesses and even starting her own natural beauty brand (among other entrepreneurial endeavors).
In each other, the two recognized a shared love of nature and an appreciation for the marriage of profit and purpose. As partners in work and life, the two became certified yoga instructors. Now, the Hermosa Beach-based couple has launched their Yuni product line in hopes of prolonging the positive effects of yoga practice.
Here, Emmanuel Rey discusses the importance of being anchored in the moment:
Live The Process: What shaped your respective consciousness about holistic living and sustainable business?
Emmanuel Rey: We come from different cultures (India and France) and upbringings, but we share common values: respect for self, each other and the planet. Both of us have always had a deep love of nature and are happiest when we’re surrounded by it. Our early career choices involved nature (tropical agriculture, essential oils, naturals).
In different intuitive ways, we understood that we are part of a whole and that our actions have consequences. When we began our careers in the 1980s, business was very much a rat race with winners and losers. Discovering the concept and model of sustainability definitely shaped our view that business could be a force for good. We saw that doing business could create value and profit, but did not have to be at the expense of others, our health or the environment.
The other blessing is that we both lived and worked in many countries, which taught us to accept and to appreciate differences in others. One quickly becomes mesmerized by the beauty of the world and the diversity of human beings. It removes the fear of the foreign and triggers the desire to know more.
LTP: How did your previous career experience inform the creation of Yuni?
ER: We were fortunate enough to have worked for fantastic people and companies that allowed us to grow, develop and make a true difference in the world. We knew what we wanted to cultivate and deepen in our own green beauty company. We also understood that the consumer is changing: People don’t care if you want to focus on a category or distribution channel because it makes business sense. They want brands to embody their values and fit seamlessly into their lives, wherever they live it. This is how we live our lives, holistically, and we’re energized by this, even though it can be more complicated. With Yuni, we focus on yoga, which is community-driven, values-based and healthy. We used our experience to solve real beauty challenges for yogis, to make unique, sensorial and high-performing products with true experts in the natural industry.
LTP: What inspired you both to become certified yoga teachers?
ER: Yoga has been our shared passion since we met. In 2012, we had been practicing yoga for almost 10 years, but we never had enough time to deepen our knowledge and practice or actually complete an Ashtanga Teacher Training. When we both left our jobs at Aveda, we took some time off to travel, and we were fortunate enough to do our training on a beautiful Greek Island called Amorgos. Doing it together made the experience even sweeter—look where it’s brought us!
LTP: What about that experience inspired you to launch Yuni?
ER: Living as international yogis for a month allowed us to learn from people of all cultures, ages and social backgrounds. We were also stress testing our [self-care] routines on this isolated island, studying and practicing yoga all day.
We came back with a few clear learnings about yogis:
1. They would like to practice more often, but sometimes can’t due to lack of time.
2. They would like to enhance the yoga practice and prolong its benefits.
3. They would like to be able to recall the practice’s sensations.
We also recognized that yoga is very much a personal ritual, a time to focus on oneself, away from the world. In the same sense, so is beauty.
Connecting these two rituals so that they reinforce each other is our quest.
LTP: What personal wellness rituals keep you balanced and clearheaded?
ER: We start every day meditating alongside each other. The yoga practice is a central part of our way of life, but we also love being outdoors (hiking, swimming, running). We use all of our healthy Yuni products in rituals throughout the day. A key ritual is what we call our “pocket savasana,” Yuni Aroma Concentrate roller-ball. We use it during savasana and then take it everywhere with us to recall our savasana moment (especially in LA traffic).
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
ER: Deep question that has many answers! For us, happiness is gratitude for the present moment and a deep-felt surrendering love for the joys and lessons of that moment. (A good bottle of wine also helps!).
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how do you do that every day?
ER: “Seekers of Good” is not just our company tagline; it’s how we “Live The Process.” Our life is a shimmering sequence of moments. We try to spend as many of them being fully present in order to cultivate goodness for ourselves and for each other.