We had the opportunity to ask Monni, founder of Tea & Tonic Matakana and MONNI Label some questions in our most recent interview.
Monni is the kind of person who instills calmness and ease into any environment she enters, always choosing kindness and vulnerability.
We talked about her story, brand and listened to her wisdom.
What inspires you to be the best version of Monni?
When I think about what inspires me the most, straight up, it's nature: seasons, landscapes, colour palettes. It’s like us in so many ways because we too are nature. Yet non-human nature does not judge, it just is and allows and lets go, it’s wild.
I love how children remind me to be present, they really are a wonder gift to us adults.
Some of the people I am surrounded by and continue to meet, who have taken the time to teach me things I never knew. I have also seen them feel the fear or pain and do it anyway. I am inspired by people who take a good long look in the mirror, take the time to understand themselves, who take responsibility for their thoughts, feelings and actions, and honour themselves and their gifts. Business people who care about sustainability, who make their money in ways that have integrity whilst living in service and help make the world a better place.
And can we give it up for self-love or self-care daily rituals? There is so much more awareness and more tools out there. My daily rituals include creating space so I can enjoy quality sleep, meditation, my personal self-care rituals, moving my body and eating healthy.
I think having a sense of purpose bigger than oneself can be both motivating and inspiring. It pushes you to be the best version of yourself (and own it when you are not) and share openly your experiences. This could resonate with or help someone else.
Which of your greatest challenges have become your strengths?
Probably the trauma I went through in the early parts of life. It has given me empathy, understanding, some health issues, an interest in health in a holistic sense and the sharing of this knowledge.
I love and care deeply, I am sensitive and open which definitely has its challenges because you can feel so much and it can often be so painful and uncomfortable, yet imagine if the world had more open, sensitive people who cared and loved deeply. This is also a gift. A challenge I think for everyone is how we have been conditioned, good, bad, right, wrong, should, shouldn’t... Well, fuck that. Who was I before I let that become me? What do I truly stand for? How do I really feel? So learning to question, tune in to what feels true, and most importantly, to listen to this knowing.
Getting back in touch with your imagination, I recently asked myself the question what is the truest life I can imagine? You can use this for everything. What is the truest and most beautiful relationship between partners, friends, family I can imagine? What is the truest and most beautiful company, career, job I can imagine? What is the truest and most beautiful outcome to this situation I can imagine? You get me, right!?
What's your vision for a new earth?
It is a place we live, breathe, move and consume in tune with the seasons and nature. I am nature. We are nature. So why would we not look after it, see it, know it? It is a place where every single thing anyone creates is made in a circular way, meaning that just as it is made, it can also be disassembled, reused and recycled or composted. A place where self-care is taught, embodied and recognised as an integral part of society. A place where ALL people feel safe.
When I say all people, I’m going to make that clear: I mean all races, religions, genders and non-binary people. We don’t have time to discriminate against others. A place where all women are treasured, children respected, men cared for. A place where everyone has access to education. A place where we find it in ourselves to live in sympathetic joy for others. Sympathetic joy: having loving-kindness in the presence of another’s happiness. A place where we truly take responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions.
What are the founding principles of MONNI?
Love for ourselves, others and the world around us — not only in my businesses but in all areas of life. I try my best to make sure that everything involved in the making of a garment is upcycled material, for the mileage to be minimal, and for the way it is made to be ethical, respecting people and the environment.
I want to educate about issues in the fast fashion industry: how to shop, how to consume less and buy only what you need, how to go for quality over quantity. Did you know the fast fashion industry is the second biggest pollutant next to oil and gas? At Monni, we take some of the excess produced by this industry and make it into timeless elegant clothing that any person could feel beautiful in.
When you wake up in the morning what's the first thing you do?
I meditate. I feel more calm after I meditate than when I first wake up.
How do you like to be treated by other human beings?
I feel we treat others how we like to be treated, or how we are feeling. I love the humans around me to be conscious of self-care because when I see them loving and looking after themselves I also notice that I feel good when I am around them. Around my core people who I am drawn to, I feel safe and I feel free. To feel this way, I am treated with sovereignty, kindness, love and patience. I feel heard, my needs and boundaries are respected and cared for, I am given space when needed and I am trusted deeply.
What would you like to share with someone who is in a really difficult time or crisis in their life?
As soon as we accept life is difficult, this is a great truth. Once we can see this, we can transcend it. There cannot be light without dark. An important question to ask is: how is this difficult time serving me? What am I learning? How do I want to feel?
Find your mantras. I use “This feeling will pass”, “I am loved, I am safe”, “I am enough”. See that we are responsible for our thoughts and feelings. As soon as we take responsibility, we are empowered to create the change. Know that for everything that brings you down, there will be something that brings you up. This is the balance.
Some of the best advice you've been given?
Well, recently it’s been to stop, observe and listen, then work out your strategy. We are so in the head at times. Be conscious and catch yourself when you're there. Drop down into the heart, deeper and deeper until you find your truth. The key is listening to this deep knowing and taking action from there. To let go of the "should," "shouldn’t," "good," "bad," and ask: what is the most true and beautiful situation I can imagine?
Three words that could heal the world are:
Hmmmm... sometimes I’m not sure if words mean anything, so I am going to go with actions. After all, someone can say “I love you more than anything,” then in the same breath not listen to you or respect your basic boundaries. So the first action that could heal the world would be displaying gratitude. A truly grateful person is not hating on or hurting others. That's not their vibration. They are in flow and purpose. Self-love in action can also heal. When someone truly loves themselves, they take care of their mental, emotional, physical, spiritual well-being. And they are better for the world around them.
What would you like to speak to that you don't often get asked about?
- Essential diet and wellbeing tips: I feel this is very simple. Whole foods, in season, local, spray-free or organic. I avoid processed foods with any numbers or ingredients that are not an actual whole food. I am a huge fan of organic bone broth — it feels so grounding, soothing for my tummy, and it's mineral and nutrient-rich. I like making broth because I am using something that is a by-product.
- Drink filtered water at least 2 litres a day.
- Move your body in ways that feel pleasurable to you. And the cheapest medicine of all is getting good quality sleep. I do have a Naturopath that I see regularly and a cranial osteopath.
- Daily rituals for beauty and self-care: I have mentioned my daily self-care rituals above. Some of my personal ones are in how I start my day:
- I oil pull and tongue scrape, meditate, move my body, dry skin brush and bathe.
- When I bathe, I use Aleppo soap to wash, my CaliWoods Lifetime Razor to shave, and the Maryse Enzyme Refine Cleansing Balm to cleanse my face.
- Once a week I exfoliate my face with Maryse Manuka Leaf Exfoliating Polish.
- After I bathe, I love to smooth Maryse Multi-Vitamin Body Oil on my damp skin to lock in moisture.
- On my face, I use the Maryse Bio-boost Antioxidant Serum under my eyes and across my lips. Then I use Country Kitchen Rose and Marshmallow Face Cream.
- At night time I press 2 drops of Maryse Bio-Nutrient Face oil over the top of my moisturiser.
- The scent I am currently enjoying is Cobalt Amber by Abel.
- I have experienced a little heartache recently so I have been burning palo santo and dropping Geranium Rose blend by Absolute Essential on my heart.
- If all else fails....make a cup of tea and eat dark chocolate.
Three Monni must items to have and why:
The jumpsuit because it’s the go-to when you don’t know what to wear. It’s so comfortable and it feels elegant and fun.
The Bias slip because everyone needs that sexy dress that can transition from day to night. It’s a classic.
The kimono because it can be your cape of protection. Wear it around and feel invincible. It’s the perfect layering piece and will look good over almost anything.
Thank-you Monni for shining once again.