“I was basically Willy Wonka, truly, for nine years,” Elizabeth Ashmun says with a smile. Between sips of her latte at Destroyer cafe in Culver City, she recalls her tenure working at Nestle in the sugar confectionery—including helping create the beloved candy Nerds Rope. “I have a childhood affinity for the brand,” she continues, “and that was a really fun experience.”
It may have been a very enjoyable job for her, but those who know Ashmun will surely agree that her current role as president of Los Angeles-based Moon Juice is more aligned with her own interests than anything she’s ever done before.
“When I met [Moon Juice founder] Amanda [Chantal Bacon], I was very impressed with her. And her values were quite aligned with mine in terms of wellness,” Ashmun explains. “Her knowledge and her expertise were just so deep and so intelligent, and that was very, very attractive. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 19; I grew up in Arkansas, so that’s not the norm. I was a devoted yogi, and I thought that I really embraced wellness. And then when I met Amanda, I realized there was this whole other world to learn and think about in terms of how you can bring the more functional benefits of plants into your life.”
Moon Juice began as a cold-pressed juice company with a modest cafe on Venice’s Rose Avenue (that location still exists today, along with two others in Los Angeles). But over the years the brand has morphed into so much more—namely by harnessing the power of adaptogens through powders and pills, and even delving into skincare (thanks in large part to Ashmun, who sharpened her skills at beauty companies Kate Somerville and Murad in between Nestle and Moon Juice). The company today is one of full-fledged wellness, focusing on pure and potent adaptogens in multiple forms—whether that’s to mix into your smoothie or apply to your face.
The word “adaptogen” is unquestionably one of the buzziest in the wellness world today, and for good reason: many of us know that they’re supposed to be good for us without really understanding what they are. But that’s where Moon Juice comes in as an authority, an educator, and a trusted provider. “This is how we define it: adaptogens are a class of super-herbs and super-mushrooms that help combat your body’s stress on a cellular level,” Ashmun explains, adding that they can come from a plant’s stem, fruit, or resin. “It’s just so important to understand the origin of the product. And for us it’s making sure that it’s coming from its native region and it’s harvested at its peak of potency—and we’re making sure that we’re triple-testing it for identity, for potency, for purity.”
Moon Juice blends like Spirit Dust and the new Magnesi-Om work internally to target specific outcomes (mood-boosting and chilling out, respectively), while beauty items such as the Plumping Jelly Serum focus on outward appearance. For Ashmun, the leap from ingestible adaptogens to topical ones made perfect sense.
“We don’t think of it as skincare; for us it’s just self-care. When you really are building relationships with these plants, you are understanding the power of them,” she explains. “You see the benefits of them not only internally but also topically. I still believe, and we all do, that the majority of beauty is from the inside, so what you’re putting in your body is what’s most important—but if you’re caring for what you’re doing on the inside, you want to make sure that you’re also doing that on the outside. We all know your skin is your largest organ, so it’s important to bring that benefit topically as well.”
At the end of the day, well being isn’t just one thing, anyways. Since Moon Juice is a brand that people know and trust, why shouldn’t it expand into other product lines that serve its mission?
That mission, at its core, is to provide people with the tools they need to live better. Which goes for its own staff, as well. “I’m a big believer in balance. That’s the company culture, too,” says Ashmun. “Everyone comes in, they work very hard and we do a lot, the bandwidth is great—but you’re there to work, there’s no bureaucracy, it’s not wasted time in meetings. And then you go home. You get to go spend time with your loved ones, go to yoga, do whatever you need to do to recharge so that you can show up the next day.” Might that include some Dream Dust or Power Dust? Adaptogens aren’t exactly ubiquitous just yet, but those looking to try them out will definitely find a friend in Moon Juice.