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BEAUTY & FASHION

Secrets of the Siren: Q&A with Leslie Mullin, Founder of Dirty Mermaid Beauty

Emily Allen

 

Founded by Leslie Mullin in the fall of 2015, Dirty Mermaid Beauty is a line of natural cosmetics including bath soaks, facemasks, and body wraps. Mullin runs her company with the ideology that women should take time to nurture their bodies through beauty rituals and embrace their inner sea goddesses. Here, Mullin discusses her business, her inspirations, and her favorite Dirty Mermaid products.

What inspired you to create your business? How did you get started?

I am a graphic/packaging designer by trade, and in that industry you spend a lot of time on the screen getting crossed-eyed over pixels. I wanted to create a business that would satisfy my love of design and give me more time “off screen.” Similar to other green beauty mavens and entrepreneurs, I was disappointed every time I flipped self-care products over to read the ingredients. I would immediately be put off by synthetic “fragrances” attempting to mimic scents from nature. I started mixing ingredients, playing with essential oils, testing on friends and family, and realized this was something I could do. I followed my curiosity and desire for greener products and my business was born. Luckily, my test subjects (my friends and family) have been very supportive and encouraging along the way.

What inspired the name “Dirty Mermaid”?

I’ve had a long-standing love for mermaid folklore and I wanted to create a brand that would be witty and easy to remember. The line is part of the larger green beauty movement, and it’s playful, not to be taken too seriously, and a little bit sexy. The brand also draws inspiration from the 1920s with various Art Deco patterns featured on each label. The Art Deco patterns of this romantic era often beautifully mimic mermaid scales. Dirty Mermaid also has a little bit of a glam, burlesque vibe but is rooted in earthy clays and natural ingredients from the sea. Dirty Mermaid is natural bath and beauty wrapped up in a pretty package.

Your customers are a part of the “Mermaid Squad.” How would you describe the squad and the quintessential Dirty Mermaid customer?

The Dirty Mermaid customer is a dynamic and bold woman (or merman), and you can’t really predict what they’ll do next! This is why I always like to come up with limited editions and new things for the Mermaid Squad to try out. The quintessential customer is someone who wants more agency over their own life, and wants to intentionally create moments to slow down and nourish themselves and their soul.

What is your favorite Dirty Mermaid product?

Perhaps this isn’t the fairest answer, but my favorite product hasn’t been launched just yet! Later this month, Dirty Mermaid will release the Citrus Summer Soak. It’s a lovely blend of grapefruit and bergamot essential oils, Dead Sea mineral salts, and organic red dulse seaweed pieces. I’ve been working on the blend the last month and have really fallen in love with the fresh and uplifting scent compilation.

Where do you see Dirty Mermaid heading in the future? Any exciting projects coming up?

What I love most is that the Dirty Mermaid story is still unfolding for me, as I only officially launched last fall. I am working on a business plan that will allow for sustainable growth. I currently hand blend all products in my Brooklyn studio, and would like to keep the line hand blended as it grows. Currently I am working on packaging items for spa settings, so hopefully soon you can use Dirty Mermaid Beauty masks and soaks as add-ons to your favorite spa treatments. I am always in product development mode trying out new blends, and always inspired by the vibrant sea and fabulous women!

By Kim Chmura

Photos Courtesy of Antonio De Lucci