Jun Lee, Surfer and Ex-Muay Thai Fighter is the Coolest ‘Accidental Entrepreneur’ You’ll Ever Meet
We’re back with another Member Spotlight, because our members are always up to something awesome!
Last week we had a great chat with the infallibly ambitious Rachelle Robinett about how important a healthy, plant-based lifestyle can be to those of us living in our stressed-out city bubbles.
This week, we wanted to keep that theme of self-care going at least until it starts actually feeling like spring. So we give you our interview with Jun Lee, founder of the all-natural skincare brand, Eir NYC, and all-around athletic badass.
Check out our conversation below:
Tell us a little bit about the founding of Eir NYC.
I didn’t really have any desire to start my own company, or I never thought that I would, but I’ve always been an advocate of natural and holistic healing.
I used to be a competitive swimmer and Muay Thai fighter. I also surf. Basically, I’m a major athlete, so the way I started my company was totally accidental.
I tore my right shoulder surfing, but just kept using it without realizing it was injured. I finally got an MRI, and it turns out I had a torn labrum. When I finally had my surgery, I got really sick from all the meds they gave me. Then a few days later, I had to undergo a second operation. I was feeling all these severe side effects from all of this.
Since I grew up with all this holistic healing — my dad was an acupuncturist — I started making products that I felt would help me heal without the side effects. I started making all these balms, infusing them with various oils. I wanted to make stuff that felt nice, luxurious, and would make me feel better.
I was living in Montauk at the time, and people just started buying it out of my kitchen. That’s how the brand started, and now I have worldwide distribution.
So what was the first salable product?
Our Surf Mud.
I was living on the beach in Montauk, and random people that had heard I was doing this would come by and buy them by the case. All natural sunblock that was zinc and chocolate. It’s super clean, smells really delicious, and it stays on.
All the ingredients we use are things that you would find in your kitchen. You wouldn’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t ingest. Most of the products are made with flowers and dried herbs. It’s super pure, we don’t use any preservatives, so the products are to be treated like food, and some need to be preserved accordingly.
Do you have any new lines in the works?
We’re working on something coming up shortly, it’s a collab with a tattoo artist. It’s an after-care balm for tattoos. It smells so good! But you can really use it for anything. On your hands as a hand cream, if you snowboard put it on under your gloves; if you’re a runner, you can use it as an anti-chafing balm. We’re aiming for a summer release.
Who’s the tattoo artist?
I can’t tell you. She’s my neighbor. She uses my products and I love her tattoos. We’re both kind of witchy.
Are you noticing any new trends in the industry?
We’re definitely catering more to men of late. Like half of our clientele is male, even for our bath salts. Most of our sunscreens cater to men, face serums, even Mane Mend, that they’ll use on their beards.
This is how it begins — women buy it, men find it in their girlfriend’s bathrooms, and then want it for themselves.
In my experience, men who are in the sun a lot realize they get super wrinkly, so they want to take care of their skin.
And also it’s nice, it feels good to take care of your skin, your beard. It smells good and you have this great experience of treating yourself.
There you have it, it’s time to treat yourselves. Whether you need full-blown, Lazarus-levels of rejuvenation, or just a little pick-me-up in the form of a sweet Energizing Mist, Jun Lee and Eir NYC’s got it.
This piece is part of our Member Spotlight interview series — a weekly feature that lets us highlight all the amazing stuff The New Stand Members are working on. Got something you’d like to showcase? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org