Originally from France, Marie Amiand has spent the past 18 years living and working in Shanghai and Hong Kong. After spending a few years at a leading cosmetics company, she decided to branch out on her own in 2012 and founded Lu Ming Tang, a skincare brand based on the healing properties of tea. We caught up with her to find out the inspiration behind the concept, the journey of taking her China-born brand overseas and what the future holds for Lu Ming Tang.
What was the inspiration behind Lu Ming Tang and making skincare products with tea?
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with heavy metal poisoning as a result of long-term exposure to city pollution. Together with treatment, a doctor in Hong Kong recommended that I drink more green tea, and I learned that longjing was very concentrated in polyphenol, which is one of the most powerful antioxidants in nature. After a year of treatment and drinking tea, I regained my vitality and realized my skin quality was much better, too. So the story of Lu Ming Tang basically started as a result of my personal experience and background in the skincare industry.
What was the process of developing the Lu Ming Tang product line like?
We worked with Hangzhou’s national research center on tea and a leading Japanese lab to develop our products. Along with them, we developed the tea remedy complex based on the polyphenol of tea. It detoxifies and revives the luminosity of the ‘urban skin,’ which suffers from constant stress, lack of sleep, as well as exposure to pollutants and blue lights – things that accelerate the process of aging.
"People really appreciated that we have a lot of authentic stories around tea to share, as well as our expertise on tea science"
What are some of your most popular products?
It depends on seasonality, but the bestsellers include the Crème de Marie, a face moisturizer and radiance boost inspired by my breakfast recipe, featuring longjing tea, soymilk, red berries and hawthorn. Another one is the Miraculous Detox Paste that is used as a face mask, another nutritious formula that came from a tea recipe, which calls for five black ingredients: pu’er tea, black rice, sesame seeds, jujube and bamboo charcoal. Finally, our Jasmine Bliss and Rose Bliss lip balms made from silver needle white tea are also very popular. To be honest, it’s an extremely expensive product for us to produce, and it comes at a very affordable price. It’s a good embodiment of our values, because we see ourselves as an affordable, approachable form of luxury, and I think that’s what daily skincare rituals should be.
Do you have a favorite tea to drink?
I’m all about longjing. Besides its high levels of polyphenol, I also love the taste. If you go for ones harvested in the spring before Qingming, you can really taste these wonderful nutty, toasty notes. Making yourself a proper tea and taking a few minutes of your time just for yourself during a busy day is something that we all need.
Are there any new initiatives for the brand in 2019?
Last summer, Lu Ming Tang launched in Singapore at one of the biggest department stores there, and we have a counter on the first floor alongside many luxury brands. We’re already available in some in-flight magazines, so we’re going to continue to grow internationally. This year, we’re going to reinforce the Singapore market and we’re also launching in Hong Kong too.
How has the feedback been so far in Singapore?
It’s been very positive because the tea story and tea skincare products resonate. People really appreciated that we have a lot of authentic stories around tea to share, as well as our expertise on tea science, which is very unique to Lu Ming Tang.