Interview with Maleka Dattu, founder of MERUMAYA®

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When I first started out as a Beauty Editor one of the first Indie brands I was introduced to was MERUMAYA® back in early 2013 or around that time and I instantly fell in love with the Cleansing Melting Balm. Why? Because it literally does exactly what it says on the tin. And, that’s another reason I love MERUMAYA® products, there’s no hiding behind long scientific words or vague statements – it speaks to its customers in a real and honest way. The brand was created by Maleka Dattu who previously worked in various high profile jobs at Estee Lauder. Like her brand, Maleka is hypnotic, you’re instantly drawn into what she has to say, her product knowledge is powerful but most importantly she’s just 100% real, just like the products she creates.

Here Maleka tells us more about herself and the brand.

[Sarah Sian] What inspired you to start the MERUMAYA® brand? 
[Maleka Dattu] I wanted to create a brand that properly connects to the customer and helps to raise women’s confidence through total transparency and education of things like ingredients for instance. I wanted a brand that doesn’t define women by their age but actually celebrates it which actually is at the very core of the brand’s DNA. It’s a real honest brand. It’s funny because you hear about brands being diverse and inclusive these days, well that was already part of my brand all those years ago. 

[SS] How did the name MERUMAYA® come about? What does it mean
[MD] Interesting story, well MERUMAYA® is a totally made up name, so feel free to pronounce it how you like. But the name MERUMAYA® is made from the first two letters of the names of my father, mother, myself and my sister (now daughter too). It is the name my father would have called his own business if he’d had the courage to pursue that dream. Instead, he chose to remain in his secure job, in the Control Tower at Heathrow Airport in order to protect his family and the future of his children. So by naming my brand MERUMAYA® it helps me to keep his dreams alive, as well as mine.

[SS] How do you deal with stress as an entrepreneur? 
[MD] I’ve had challenging jobs before when I worked at Estee Lauder, it was really tough and challenging so I know now how to deal with stress. However, of course, you have days when you’re more stressed than others, we all do but the most important thing is to not let things overwhelm you. Just sit back and really put things into perspective, breathe and deflate and learn to let things go. It won’t happen overnight, but once you start to do this you’ll feel less anxious and stressed. Remember we’re all human and we can’t do everything. 

[SS] What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a business? 
[MD] Underestimate your sales and overestimate your costs – this is one top tip I will share with anyone through my own experience. By overestimating it can’t lead to disappointment especially early on in new businesses. Have passion and big dreams of course but underestimate sales projections and hopefully you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Also, be sure of what your story is as a brand. I once was in a meeting with the main RND person from Boots and we had to pitch our brand to him. I remember pitching MERUMAYA® to him and he just went all quiet for what felt like ages. I remember getting that sick, disappointed feeling and then he just said a few words that really stuck – you have a powerful brand story. And, that was it, I knew then I was onto something. So, identifying your brand story is key. 

[SS] How do you maintain a good work/life balance? 
[MD] Simple make it work for you, make sure you’re there to do the school runs, take kids to activities and you’re there for supper. Focus on the important parts of the day and work around that. Also, and it’s something I should do more of is to switch off, that email that pinged through late at night does not need to be answered straight away, it will still be there in the morning so learn to leave things. 

[SS] If someone is new to your brand, what products would you recommend and why? 
Intensely Youthful Eye Cream – everyone needs a good eye cream. It’s the most delicate area of the face. The Intensely Youthful Eye Cream is insanely effective as it’s loaded with anti-inflammatories, Omega 3, Hyaluronic Acid, Euchium Oil that has calming properties and Adaptogenic herbs that reduce eye bags and puffiness. You get all that from one eye cream. 

Melting Cleansing Balm
I know this is one your favourite’s Sarah but for those who haven’t tried it, it is full of natural Sweet Almond Oil and enriched with Vitamin E so it literally melts from a balm to oil texture instantly making it easier to thoroughly remove makeup even stubborn waterproof makeup, gets rid of daily grime and leave skin feeling incredibly soft, smooth squeaky clean with a healthy glow. 

Iconic Youth Serum
If you want results in 28 days this is a real skincare must-have because of its packed with skin-loving ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid that provides skin with intense hydration that builds collagen and improves skin’s elasticity to target the most common skincare concerns like fine lines and wrinkles. Literally take a picture before you use it and you’ll see the results in 28 days. 

[SS] Can you give us a rundown of your ultimate skincare routine? 
[MD] So twice daily without fail – day and night. 

For the day it’s…

Mineral Cleansing Paste 
Treatment Toner with Vitamin C
Intensely Youthful Eye Cream 
Iconic Youth Serum
Youth Preservation Moisturiser 

For the night it’s…

Luxury Facial Wash
Melting Cleansing Balm
Intensely Youthful Eye Cream 
Youth Preservation Moisturiser 

But, you have to stick to it. No point in doing it some weeks and not others, you just don’t get or see the benefits.  I hear so many women saying that products didn’t work for them but when you ask them about their skincare routines it’s just not consistent – you simply have to put the work in to see the results.

[SS] Can you share any insider skincare tips and tricks? 
[MD] Use minimum but effective products in the shortest time possible is my philosophy. And, stop obsessing over everything and live your life.

[SS] Complete the sentence… ‘A woman is at her most confident when…?’ 
[MD] …when she stops listening to bullshit.



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