Health 31 August 2018
Motherhood is as beautiful and precious as the earth itself, but it is also incredibly taxing. New moms lose countless hours of sleep caring for their babies; they put themselves last. Majka is a nutrition brand that recognizes that the selflessness of many mothers can be detrimental to their overall well-being. With all-natural, vegan bites and protein powders that aid optimal lactation and proper nutrition for both a mother and their child, Majka promotes a wholesome motherhood—and does it deliciously.
“Our society needs to understand and get behind the fact that the better the mom feels, the better care she will be able to provide for her child."
Founders, Majo Mansour and Lorena Garcia, started Majka to combat what they found to be an unfortunate paucity of postnatal resources, much of the market hyper-focused on stocking their shelves with products to support the pregnancy stage, rather than the journey that follows. Mansour and Garcia can attest to the difficulties of that journey, both new moms themselves. “After becoming moms, we quickly realized that motherhood was much more challenging than expected," they admit. “We went back to work shortly after having our children, and with work and the pressures of new motherhood, we quickly saw our health and energy decline. It's really hard to make the right food choices when you are focused on learning how to be a mom."
Founders Majo Mansour and Lorena Garcia. "The better the mom feels, the better care she will be able to provide for her child"
As pioneers of the #fuelingmotherhood movement, Mansour and Garcia believe that how you feel is a reflection of what you put into your body. Thus it is crucial that mothers eat well in order to feel healthy and strong enough to care for their babies. Not finding the right fuel in grocery stores and sick of scrutinizing every product label for clean ingredients, Mansour and Garcia took matters into their own capable hands. This past April, just two years after deciding to fill the gap in the motherhood market, they launched their products, bites and protein powder just the beginning of their mission: “love yourself, love motherhood."
Majka is self-funded by Mansour and Garcia, who teamed up with a group of professional nutritionists to ensure their products would truly benefit mothers and their babies. “We understand nutritional challenges we all face as new moms and we help address them with our products," Mansour and Garcia explain. “Our Nourishing Lactation Protein Powder is not just an amazing source of nourishment, but it's also anti-inflammatory, energizing, alkalizing, and hormone balancing. It is perfect to help new moms restore and replenish their bodies." Their protein powder can simply be blended with milk (coconut, oat, almond, etc.) or another liquid, and can also be added as a bonus to baked goods or smoothies. Healthy can be tasty, even though some are reluctant to stand by such a claim.
Moms get hungry too, craving more than a protein drink, especially when they're expending a gargantuan amount of energy doting on their little one(s). With four per pack, Majka's Lactation Bites are a healthy on-the-go snack—and when are moms ever not on the go? The key ingredients in each bite that you've probably heard of are turmeric, coconut, chia seeds, oats, flaxseed, and black sesame seeds. The key ingredients that might not ring any bells are fenugreek and glossostemon bruguieri, both specialized in lactation aid. Even moms who are not currently breastfeeding can incorporate their products into their everyday lives to reap the health benefits. The bites look like little, golden nuggets crafted by health food fairies. Who knows? Maybe Mansour and Garcia do have some motherly magic up their sleeves, their products able to work wonders for the mothers their brand is named for; yes, majka does indeed mean “mother."
“We really wanted our name to be a word that had a meaning related to motherhood and after a lot of research we discovered the word Majka. We both loved it! It means mother in Serbian."
Champions of bolstering support for new mothers and lending a voice to the various challenges they face, Mansour and Garcia say that they “want to help change how our society sees motherhood and make sure that it recognizes the 4th trimester as a critical stage that will profoundly impact the mom and baby for years to come."
Mansour and Garcia have had to learn to balance their own babies with their business baby, and that's not an easy feat. “It is a huge challenge to be able to accomplish both your role as a new mother and your role as a leader and entrepreneur," they say. “Normal day to day responsibilities do not stop when you become a mom. Some people sacrifice their career for motherhood, and we wanted to make sure we did not have to choose one or the other."
Lorena Garcia with Majka's Lactation Protein Powder
What's next for these supermoms? Exciting expansion. Mansour and Garcia revealed, with much zeal, that Majka has a few new products coming out later this year, so moms-to-be or those who've just joining the motherhood scene should all be on the lookout.
In many ways I am a shining example of the American Dream. I was born in Hungary during the Communist era, and my family fled to Israel before coming to the U.S. in pursuit of freedom and safety. When we arrived, I was just a young, shy girl who couldn't speak English. After my childhood in Hungary, New York City was a marvel; I couldn't believe that such a lively, rich place existed. Even a simple thing like going to the market and seeing all the bright, colorful produce and having so many choices was new to me. I'll never take that for granted. I think it's where my love affair with color truly began.
One thing I had was a strong work ethic. I worked hard in school, to learn English, and at jobs including my first job at Dairy Queen -- which I loved! Ice cream is easily my favorite food. From there, I moved into the garment district where my brother-in-law's family had a business. During this time, I was able to see how a business was run and began to hone in on my eye for aesthetics and willingness to work hard at any task I was given.
Eventually, my brother-in-law bought a dental supply company in Los Angeles and asked me to join him. LA, a place with 365-days of sunshine. How could I say no? The company started as Odontorium Products Inc. During the acrylic movement of the 1980s, we realized that nail technicians were buying our product, and that the same components used for dentures were used for artificial nails. We saw a potential opening in the market, and we seized it. OPI began dropping off the "rubber band special" at every salon on Ventura Blvd. in Los Angeles. A jar of powder, liquid and primer – rubber-banded together – became the OPI Traditional Acrylic System and was a huge hit, giving OPI its start in the professional nail industry. It was 1981 when OPI first opened its doors. I couldn't have predicted our success, but I knew that hard work and faith in myself would be key in transforming a new business into a company with global reach.
When we started OPI, what we were doing was something new. Before OPI came on the scene, the generic, utilitarian nail polish names already on the market – like Red No. 4, Pink No. 2 – were completely forgettable. We rebranded the category with catchy names that we knew women could relate to and would remember. The industry was stale and boring, so we made it more fun and sexy. We started creating color collections. I carefully developed 30 groundbreaking colors for the debut collection -- many of which are still beloved bestsellers today, including Malaga Wine, Alpine Snow and Kyoto Pearl.
There is no other nail color brand in the world that touches the totality of industries the way OPI does.
With deep roots in Tinseltown, we eventually started collaborating with Hollywood. Our decision to collaborate with the entertainment industry also propelled OPI forward in another way, ultimately leading us to finding a way to connect with women beyond the world of beauty, relating our products to the beverages they drink, the cars they drive, the movies they watch, the clothes they wear – even the shade they use to paint their living room walls! There is no other nail color brand in the world that touches the totality of industries the way OPI does. It also propelled my growth as a businessperson forward. I found myself sitting in meetings with executives from some of the top companies in the world. I didn't have a fancy presentation. I didn't have a Harvard business degree. I realized that what I had was passion. I had a passion for what we were doing, and I had my own unique story that no one else could replicate.
Discipline, hard work, and passion gave me the confidence to grow from that shy immigrant girl to become the person that I am today
Bit by bit, I grew up with the business. Discipline, hard work, and passion gave me the confidence to grow from that shy immigrant girl to become the person that I am today -- an author, public speaker, and co-founder of OPI, the world's #1 professional nail brand.
I learned quickly that one can be an expert at many things, but not everything. Running a business is very hard work. Luckily, I had someone I could collaborate with who brought something new to the table and complemented my talents, my brother-in-law George Schaeffer. My business "superpower," or the ability to make decisions quickly and confidently, kept me ahead of trends and competition.
Another key to my success in building this brand and in growing in business was being authentic. Authenticity is so important to brands and maybe even more so now in the time of social media when you can speak directly to your consumers. I realized even then that I could only be me. I was a woman who knew what I wanted. I looked at my mother and daughter and wanted to create products that would excite and empower them.
There's often an expectation placed on women in charge that they need to be cutthroat to be competitive, but that's not true. Rather than focusing on my gender or any implied limitations I might bring to the job as a female and a mother, I always focused instead on my vision. I deliberately fostered an environment at OPI filled with warmth. After all, at the end of the day, your organization is only as good as its people. I've always found that being nice, being humble, and listening to others has served me well. Instead of pushing others down to get to the top, inspire them and bring them along on the journey.
You can read more about my personal and professional journey in my new memoir out now, I'm Not Really a Waitress: How One Woman Took Over the Beauty Industry One Color at a Time.