Switching from corporate careers in America to launching an ethical beauty brand in Malaysia isn’t for the faint-hearted. Meet Carmen Khor and Jeremy Andrus, the daring duo behind Libra Wellness.

From public relations professionals to bold entrepreneurs, Carmen and Jeremy’s journey is a crash course in resilience and grit. Their mantra? Remember, celebrate, and care.

Remember… When the going got tough, they remembered their why: providing ethically-produced, sustainable, sensitive skin-friendly products.

Celebrate… They made sure to celebrate every win, big or small. “Pause the hustle, acknowledge your small victories, and keep pushing forward,” they stress.

Care… Understanding that they are the driving force behind their venture, they prioritised self-care. “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” they remind us.

Join us as we dive into Carmen and Jeremy’s inspiring journey of building Libra Wellness from scratch, overcoming obstacles, and redefining success.

Interview with Carmen and Jeremy, Co-Founders of Libra Wellness

Transitioning from your corporate gigs in the States to entrepreneurship in Malaysia sounds like quite the adventure! What motivated this bold move, and how did your American experiences shape the founding spirit of Libra Wellness? And why Malaysia?

When COVID-19 was at its peak, we were sequestered for about half a year while living and working in Chicago, and decided then that we should take a leap of faith and make a drastic change. And since Carmen is born and raised in Malaysia, relocating here, and starting our business just made perfect sense! 

While living in the US during the height of the pandemic, we observed an unprecedented shift in work culture and growing emphasis on individual wellness, work-life balance, and self-care. When we started Libra Wellness, we knew that “balance” is the core principle that will guide us through our entrepreneurial journey from day-to-day operations to product design. 

Sustainability is a big deal at Libra Wellness. Could you share some stories about the ups and downs of weaving eco-friendly practices into your business model, especially in the vibrant Malaysian market?

At Libra Wellness, we believe that personal indulgence does not need to come at the expense of caring for the world around us, especially our environment. Since the inception of our brand, we insisted on minimising the use of plastic in our product packaging and this goal alone set us off on a rigorous hunt for a sustainable alternative and were quickly faced with a multitude of challenges.  Non-plastic packaging materials harder to come by and are often more costly. We also eventually learned, through a series of failed tests, that many eco materials lacked durability, which means that they are not suited for commercial product. Though the journey took longer than expected, we’re happy to have found something that is the best of both worlds. 

Libra Wellness is all about keeping both our skin and the planet happy. How do you make sure your products not only make us glow but also play nice with Mother Earth?

One of our primary goals during the product development process is to limit the use of plastic when it comes to packaging. Plastic can only be recycled on average 2-3 times before losing material integrity and ending up in landfills. This is why we’ve decided to bottle our products in aluminium instead. Aluminium is more commonly recycled and can be broken down and reused infinitely, which makes it a more environmentally sustainable compared to plastic. Like most things, we are a work-in-progress; we’re imperfect and are constantly striving to do better whenever possible.

Making your products accessible to everyone is super cool! How have you made sure Libra Wellness goodies are within reach for all sorts of folks in Malaysia, considering their different lifestyles and needs?

Inclusivity is important to us at Libra Wellness. We set out to create products are inclusive to the greatest number of people. Our formulas are free from sulfates, parabens, and many common irritants as we seek to accommodate those with dry, sensitive skin. They are gentle yet effective and are purposefully designed to work on all skin and hair types. Our products are vegan, cruelty-free, and Halal certified. We also developed our signature botanical scent, which is a refreshing, neutral scent that is suitable for women and men. No matter your gender or lifestyle, we hope you’ll find your next everyday essential amongst our collection. 

So, Libra Wellness is more than just lotions and potions, right? How do you weave that whole “feel-good, look-good” vibe into everything you do?

We believe that truly caring for yourself, or self-care, is more than skin-deep. And We’re on a mission to set a new standard for self-care. A practice that is rooted in balance, whereby personal indulgence does not need to come at the expense of caring for the world around us. As a small business in its infancy stage, we understand that we can’t do it alone. Therefore, we’re actively working with other experts in the wellness space and other homegrown brands with similar values to create meaningful partnerships to amplify a holistic, balanced approach to health and wellbeing.

Mental health is mega-important, especially when you’re rocking the entrepreneurship rollercoaster. How do you guys keep your spirits up at Libra Wellness, and any tips for fellow hustlers dealing with the tough stuff?

Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster ride and sometimes it can feel isolating. Throughout our journey, we found that it helps to lean on each other and on our team. We’re also learning that it is perfectly fine to ask others for help and confide in mentors and other fellow entrepreneurs and business owners. Starting a business is a stressful and taxing process, so we find that it is important to incorporate practices of self-care for maintaining good mental health. 

Sticking to your values is like having a compass in a storm. How do you stay true to what matters most at Libra Wellness, and how does that keep your brand shining bright?

We started Libra Wellness to create everyday essentials that are kinder to skin and planet, and we weave this founding principle into everything that we do, and let it guide us through continued growth and improvement. The mindset of “balance” often comes into play here and we often challenge ourselves and our team to put the needs of our customers at the forefront of any decision-making process and consider the potential environment impact before moving forward. 

Keeping things fresh and funky is key in the beauty biz. What’s the wildest thing you’ve cooked up at Libra Wellness to keep us all on our toes?

We have a new product slated to launch in the latter half of 2024, which we think will be a nice addition to our existing botanical scented collection. And it’s finally a product that you apply and do not need to rinse off!

Being pioneers must’ve had its fair share of challenges. What were some of the bumps in the road when you were getting Libra Wellness off the ground, and how did you smooth ’em out?

Since we founded Libra Wellness during the tail end of COVID-19, In addition to regular challenges you would expect with building a start-up, we were also faced with unprecedented barriers and hardship that came with a global pandemic. There were mass suspensions in almost every stage of the supply chain, and indefinite delays from regulatory approvals to order fulfilment. The tumultuous start to our journey taught us an invaluable lesson on resilience and agility, and to exercise creativity while navigating uncharted waters in entrepreneurship. We capitalized on e-commerce platforms to jumpstart business-to-consumer sales and pivoted to manufacturing locally with more manageable lead times, all while prioritizing the consumer experience and making sure we deliver a quality product.

In a sea of skincare options, why should we choose Libra Wellness? And what’s your vision for where the brand’s headed next?

Libra Wellness has a little bit of everything for everyone, and they are the perfect products to build a foundation for your self-care routine. This year, we’re working diligently to expand our distribution to reach more customers and make our products more easily accessible, both on online platforms and brick-and-mortar stores. In addition, we’ll also be focusing on building a platform that advocates for the importance of mindfulness, self-care, and holistic wellness.