From Tonga to the world: Feniu aiming to elevate Tongan beauty rituals to the world stage

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Feniu on a mission to introduce T-beauty to a global audience. [Feniu]
Feniu on a mission to introduce T-beauty to a global audience. [Feniu]

Related tags Coconut sandalwood Skin care

The Tongan-Australian founder of a skin care brand that uses Tongan coconut oil and sandalwood is on a mission to introduce T-beauty, or Tongan beauty, to a global audience.

Launched in August 2020, Feniu is an Australian skin care brand that draws on the beauty secrets and culture of the Tongan people.

Founder Mele Feniu Olivetti told CosmeticsDesign-Asia ​that she conceived Feniu as a platform to showcase Tonga as a producer of high-quality ingredients such as vanilla bean oil and coconut oil.

“Tonga is best known for producing really high-quality agriculture. Never before have these been manufactured in a cosmetics line. It’s my dream to share our resources, our story, our culture and our history with the rest of the world.”

The brand uses ingredients such as coconut oil and sandalwood oil sourced directly from Tonga and is traditionally harvested and processed by a local Tongan youth organisation.

Through our collaborative work with this youth organisation, we have been able to ethically and sustainably source the natural ingredients found in Feniu, whilst helping to provide Tongan youth with consistent employment and independence,”​ said Olivetti.

Coconut infused oil is a beauty staple for the Tongan household and is used traditionally as a moisturiser for face, body and hair. The native sandalwood, on the other hand, is a culturally rich resource once reserved only for the Tongan kings.

T-beauty ambitions

Olivetti’s ultimate goal is to elevate Tongan beauty, which she has dubbed T-beauty, to a global stage.

“I would describe T-beauty as natural, organic and luxurious. Yet, it’s simple. It’s a timeless routine of maintaining and caring for yourself with luxurious products that don’t require a lot of effort,” ​she said.

This global ambition is reflected in the formulation of Feniu’s products, which was designed to be “universal”​ and appeal to a wide range of consumers living in different environments, said Olivetti.

Despite launching the brand in the middle of a pandemic, Feniu has experienced moderate success, said Olivetti.

“We've been so blessed that our business has been thriving. I think a lot of people at home, they're on their phones and people are wanting to take care of themselves. Through our social media, we've been able to use this opportunity to do some storytelling.”

One of the brand’s most exciting achievements to date is catching the attention of the Tongan royal family.

“I was so surprised to be invited to meet Her Royal Highness the Princess of Tonga and discuss my journey with Feniu. A lot of effort had gone into creating this brand so the reception of not just the people but also of our esteemed royal family was amazing for us,” ​Olivetti said.

She added that the royal family have also exposed the brand to more opportunities through its network.

This had led to the company being invited to showcase the brand at the World Expo in Dubai next year.

“This gives us a great opportunity to meet some potential buyers and introduce our brand. Hopefully, we will see Feniu stocked on the shelves of the luxury retail stores in the Middle East soon,” ​said Olivetti.

For the company, 2022 is the year it plans to push its brand internationally not just through digital marketing but by also attending more trade shows which it has not been able to do because of the pandemic.

“The vision for me has always been a global one for Feniu. I look forward to sharing the amazing resources of our tiny island kingdom throughout the world in Europe, the Middle East and Asia as well.”

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