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EBRD supports Mongolia’s first natural skincare brand

By Nick Thompson

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The EBRD and We-Fi help Lhamour LLC prepare for global expansion

Founded in 2014, Lhamour is a natural skincare brand with green credentials ­­– the first of its kind in Mongolia. The company recently benefited from EBRD support and funding from the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) to improve its HR management processes, allowing founder and CEO Khulan Davaadorj, to step back from running the day-to-day business and focus more on strategic goals.

Lhamour started as a home business and Khulan had found herself responsible for marketing, design and branding, social media and even accounting. After seven years of managing everything, she sensed it was the right time to divert her attention to other areas and approached the EBRD’s Women in Business programme for assistance.

The EBRD matched the company with consultants, who conducted an HR audit leading to the implementation of a KPI and bonus scheme within the company. These targets and incentives improved productivity, and allowed roles to become better defined and employees to step up into management positions. For Khulan, it was essential that the company culture she had spent years fostering remained and thrived along with the changes.

Inception: evolving a passion project into a viable business

A self-confessed nomad and entrepreneur, following her return to Mongolia in 2012 after many years abroad, the seeds of Khulan’s business idea were sown when she began to suffer from skin rashes. Her GP suspected that the cause was a combination of the local air pollution, water quality and extreme climate, so Khulan sought out mild, natural skincare products that would help alleviate the itching without causing further inflammation.

However, there was nothing she could find. The products on the market were either imported – and not genuinely natural – or low quality. She was inspired to learn about our skin and the effects that chemical-based products can have on it and enrolled in Formula Botanica – the world's leading online organic cosmetic science school – and became an accredited skincare product formulator.

Khulan was soon making products at home using Mongolian ingredients. The business grew from there, launching as Lhamour, in 2014. The name is a combination ofLhamo’, her niece, and ‘amour’, the French word for love, and now has 34 employees producing over 40 handmade skincare products and accessories using many locally sourced ingredients, such as yak milk. Today, Lhamour officially sells its products in 10 countries.

Lhamour is truly setting the pace for eco-friendly business in Mongolia, providing natural skincare products through a zero waste production method and using unique local ingredients for the health-conscious and socially responsible consumer.

The company had a setback in 2015 when the basement of its factory was flooded and everything was destroyed. Khulan reached out to her Facebook followers for help and was moved when 10 young volunteers she had previously mentored turned up to help remove the water – which was knee-deep – and dry out whatever they could.

Because Lhamour had loyal customers and employees who shared in Khulan’s vision, it prevailed, despite the challenges of getting production going again. Fast-forward to today and the company is planning to expand, focusing on establishing new commercial ties and opportunities in the EU, the USA and Japan in the very near future.

With a strong brand identity, a great company culture and a commitment to sustainable business practices, Lhamour’s continued growth seems all but assured.

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