We feel extremely fortunate to be able to introduce you to our guest blogger – Khulan Davaadorj. Khulan is on a very exciting journey as Mongolia’s first Organic Skincare Entrepreneur. She launched her business this year and has agreed to come and regularly update us to share her experiences here with us.
My name is Khulan Davaadorj and I come from Mongolia – the land of the blue sky. I grew up in Europe for around 15 years, mainly in Germany and did my Master’s degree in the United States. I was lucky to have had all these opportunities because of my parents, who always gave everything they had to their children, knowing that they never had the chance themselves. I think that parents are the most important elements in forming your path, because through their hard work and honest ways, you get a sense of not what you want to do but definitely what kind of person you would want to be when you grow up.
I was always very ambitious but never really knew what I wanted to do other than something amazing and valuable, which is of course everyone’s wish. My biggest accomplishments must have been my selection for a full scholarship to study at Columbia University and an acceptance for an internship at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Those two things happened just within a few days apart and it was the most exciting news I had ever heard in my life.
It was an incredible journey and my first day I remembered I was so lost in the concrete jungle that I felt like in a movie. I started to realize that I wanted to do something that is valuable in the sense that it will leave a positive and long-lasting effect on the people, for now and when I am gone too. Having this opportunity to study and work at these amazing places, I realized I am never going to let myself be a failure in anything I do. I have to be the person that these people as well as my parents trusted me to be and I had to prove myself I was worth it.
I still did not really know what my area would be but I was really interested in energy. Energy is one of our key factors of life. Without it we cannot exist. But at what price do we want to live and grow now and leave the earth at risk? I chose to get into the renewable energy sector and left all my opportunities in the States, my relationship, my everything, to go back to Mongolia to join the establishment of Mongolia’s first wind farm. I worked for a year and saw the amazing construction and took part at the opening ceremony. It was really incredible and motivated me a lot. Nevertheless, sometimes when you work for a big corporation and management changes constantly, the vision does not fully reflect what you do on a fully basis.
In the meantime I struggled a lot living in Mongolia alone; away from my family who was in Germany at that time, away from my friends from all around the world and away from my relationship, which was really always key for my constant push for achievements too. It was a struggle because I couldn’t cope with the mentality of the people, the daily stress and everything was just totally different. I sometimes felt like a stranger in my own home country. I needed to really get into the traditional system to understand and be a part of it.
I thus wanted to get a feel of what it is working for the government. I worked for a year on a project that initiated Mongolia’s first coal-to-liquid plant. Mongolia is now fully dependent on fuel from outside and this project would have been a major leap towards independence and having our own fuel. As everyone knows, the dependence on others for sources of energy is a huge drawback for any economy since fuel prices directly affect every day lives of the citizens.
Nevertheless, working for the government was very tough and I must say ruined a lot of things I had. You barely get paid anything, you work overtime all the time and at the end, in a developing country especially, you get exchanged by a random person as easy as changing clothes. So, after all my energy and commitment into that project, I was exchanged by someone without even receiving a notice, with no compensation, no goodbye and no thank you. So, I was kind of perplexed by all my experiences and just couldn’t understand where I stand in this world. I felt confused, lost and felt like I did not belong anywhere. I was a citizen of no place. I was thinking of maybe going somewhere. Back to Germany, maybe New York. But somehow I felt like that would mean I am running away. I wanted to seriously leave but something inside me was pushing me to stay and fight hard.
I literally locked myself at home for about 2 months to try and figure it out. I needed to figure out something. My parents had come back to Mongolia to settle down and were both retiring now. I could not let them down, since I am responsible of taking care of them now and I want them to live a happy life. Plus, I had been working my ass off in every single situation throughout my 27 years not to end up like this.
I drew graphs on a piece of paper. It is crazy but true. I started with the top. A dream. So, my dream was to create something valuable. My vision was that that something would have a positive effect on people around me and anywhere in the world and would be long lasting and also not harming the environment. I started to think what is essential for everyone around me – energy and food. But how can I create something totally new and valuable in those two areas?
I did not want to work for a huge corporation nor the government anymore. I wanted to finally use everything I had learnt from all my past experiences to create something myself. I was afraid since there are no entrepreneurs in my family nor do we have any business or anyone supporting me directly. I was afraid to maybe lose all my savings (that I had from working as coffee shop waitress to English tutor to essay writer and restaurant waitress every single weekend) just to be another failure.
But then again, I thought, I lost many things anyways along the way. I guess once you feel like it is always a lesson learnt to make you stronger and better, then you just start letting go of fear.
So, I established my company called Natural Essentials LLC without really knowing what to do exactly, but knowing that I wanted to tap into something that is essential to every single person around me.
In the meantime I had been researching for a while about skincare mainly because my skin was changing and I couldn’t figure out why and the expensive products I was used to putting on my skin in New York were just not fitting anymore. That is why I started taking Formula Botanica classes and I really enjoyed every single one of them and when I finished the diploma, I was so amazed and excited. I was never the girly girl. I had always worked in a male dominated environment. But I started thinking – skincare is super essential and natural skincare is the way to go!
And all this talk about organic and natural skincare is so fitting for Mongolia because we are a country 5 times bigger than Germany but with only 3 million people, making our landscape one of the most natural and beautiful ones ever. I started thinking why I cannot use Mongolian grown herbs and plants for my own skin and actually started researching even more. And then I found amazing insights more and more each day on what I had right in front of my eyes all along.
THIS HAD TO BE IT! I wanted to be the first official Mongolian organic skincare company. So, it was set. My goal is to create a globally known unique and young Mongolian organic skincare brand that uses rich natural resources and gives the skin the natural and true nourishment, as it should deserve. I want to also educate Mongolians about the importance of using natural skincare products and show them that it is possible to create something amazing locally and not just import high cost products.
I invested all my savings and started renting out an office, employing my first team members and renting out a small production facility. I am starting off with bath products since there are none in Mongolia with patented ingredients and local packaging. My brand is called “LHAMOUR” which is a combination of LHAMO – the name of my brother’s daughter and AMOUR – representing love. I believe that everything is based on love, the love for your parents, the love for your environment and the love for yourself. If you feel this love inside you, you will definitely love my brand and our products.
Since I am very young and just starting, there are many challenges already occurring on a daily basis. I am trying to share my journey through a blog www.hulancka.com, which hopefully will empower other young women, especially in developing countries or just any other entrepreneurs who have passion and want to know that there are others just like you too.
So, where I am now and what I will do for the rest of my life is to work hard to achieve my dream of producing incredible skincare products that will create long lasting value, hoping that everyone will feel the passion and love that is being put in every day just to establish that.
Thank you to Khulan for sharing her journey in starting up her exciting Mongolian organic skincare business! Make sure you check out Lhamour at http://www.lhamour.mn and Khulan’s blog over at http://www.hulancka.com and stay tuned for more updates from the first Mongolian Organic Skincare Entrepreneur.
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Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Environmental Scientist and the Director of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.