Indie Pioneers Podcast

PODCAST – Keeping traditions alive: Feniu founder on using beauty as a platform to showcase Tongan culture

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Indie Pioneers Podcast: Feniu founder on using beauty as a platform to showcase Tongan culture

Related tags: indie pioneers podcast, Indie beauty, Australia

On this episode of Indie Pioneers, we chat with Mele Olivetti, the founder of Tongan beauty brand Feniu, who is on a mission to use her brand as a platform to share the heritage and culture of a tiny island nation with the world.

Olivetti was born in Australia but grew up in a Tongan household which practised the use of coconut-infused oils in daily beauty rituals for the face, body, and hair.

“Coconut oil has played a really crucial part in my upbringing when it comes to beauty… It was the only product that is used to nourish the skin in tongue for your face and for your body, but also for your hair.”

Feniu was conceived to showcase the culture, heritage, and traditions of Tonga, as well as shine a spotlight on its local agricultural produce.

“The brand is a fusion of a heritage product but also paying respects and to modern-day knowledge. It's a fusion of the best of both worlds that I'm happy to present as T-beauty,” ​said Olivetti.

With the brand, Olivetti was also able to revive an age-old beauty secret that was once reserved for royalty.

“I've been able to revive the sandalwood-scented coconut oil, which is a heritage product and it's not really made anymore. It used to be known as the King’s oil. Only the royal family or the kings in Tonga could use sandalwood-scented coconut oil.”

“It's not only very good for your skin, it also is very significant to my country. And it's something that I was very excited to bring to the market and share with the rest of the world.”

The brand sources coconut oil and sandalwood oil directly from Tonga where it is harvested and processed using traditional methods by a Tongan youth group.

“It's our way of giving back to the community and supporting their initiatives because they are also focused on climate change and sustainability. We love that we have this connection with them,”​ said Olivetti.

To find out more about Mele and Feniu, check out the podcast episode above or on Spotify, Google Podcast, Apple Podcasts and more.

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