Michelle Lui and Fatemah Hamidi left jobs in the corporate world to team up in pursuit of something slower. The end goal? A holistic, all-natural line of full-body care.
MIFA was born out of a love for ritual. Take time, breathe in, lather up. With a series of face and body products using 100% pure essential oils and other ingredients that are safe for the whole family, MIFA focuses on the quality and the sensory.
Below, Lui discusses their working relationship, their formulations, and their values.
You’re friends as well as business partners. What is that dynamic like? How do you problem-solve in tough situations to preserve your relationship?
Working with your real-life bestie has its pros, and our work relationship reflects that because we have never had a real argument before or truly been upset at each other (unless there’s something that Fatemah hasn’t told me!). Fatemah comes from an accounting background and I was in marketing, so luckily we complement each other skill-wise and personality-wise. We always joke that we’re basically a married couple. We do have more photos together than with our husbands, after all.
When we’re really feeling indecisive, we’ll lean on our mentors or team for their opinions as well. We always seem to compromise, lean on each other, play to our strengths, and most importantly, respect and value each other’s opinions.
In your eyes, how does a great body care product elevate the shower experience?
It has to do more than just give you great skin, because there are so many other products that can do that. We wanted to create a feeling that heals the mind and can transport you for even just a minute.
Our multi-use formulations nourish the body from head to toe, making your daily wellness ritual an energizing and balancing experience that awakens your senses. As mamas to young children, we wanted something that you could enjoy no matter how much or how little time you had. Each product was inspired by our personal experiences and our heritage; the goal was to offer a full-body wellness ritual.
Your products are 100% natural. Can you talk a bit about the ingredients you include (and don’t include)?
We are 100% natural, plant-based, vegan, and cruelty-free. Our products are only scented with pure essential oils. We use research-backed natural ingredients that are proven to help restore your skin barrier without the use of any synthetics. Each ingredient that we use has a purpose in the formulation, and we do not use filler ingredients. For example, we could use palm oil or add more water to reduce our costs significantly, but we choose not to.
Our versatile, multi-use formulations are made to simplify your routine and reduce the number of products you need to use. We believe that less is more, which is why we don’t have multiple products with multiple scents.
You both left corporate careers to launch MIFA. What have been your biggest learnings so far?
We worked together in corporate industries for eight years—and while that experience was helpful to get us started and stay organized, we had huge learnings ahead and still do each day.
- One big thing is that everything takes a lot longer than you think—especially when it comes to a new product. For us, it’s easily two years before something hits the shelf, but I imagined a year or less with my wishful thinking at the start of our journey.
- You can’t do it all, even though in your mind you think you can (because everyone has big goals they want to achieve). As a small business, you have limited resources and budget with an endless list of to-dos. It’s okay to say no and to take it one day at a time.
- You are not alone, so it’s really important to have mentors and other brand founders to lean on. Even if not for business fundamentals, for mental health and reassurance. Entrepreneurship can feel lonely at times, and I’m grateful each day that we have each other.
How does aromatherapy play into your products?
We only scent with 100% pure essential oils. It was on Fatemah’s trip to Bali that she discovered you can’t have a healthy body without a healthy mind. They infused Eucalyptus into the showers, and the calmness it instilled was magical. It was in that moment that she knew we needed to take a holistic approach with our body care. Our holistic approach to body care encourages self-care at the deepest level. This helps get to the true cause of skin challenges, no matter your skin type or concerns. We were set on creating a sensory experience through aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy has shown to have both physical and psychological health benefits, boosting mood, lowering stress levels, and inducing relaxation. We wanted to elevate that experience—our restorative formulas combine modern plant extracts that wake the senses, and skin-loving essential oils that make you encourage a daily connection to self, deep breathing, and relaxation. A ritual we can all get behind.
What does home mean to you?
A space where you can relax, connect, and feel safe and cozy.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.