13 June, 2012

That Girl: Jocelyn Musters of GOOD LUXE

13 June, 2012

This week’s That Girl is the jet-setting Jocelyn Musters, founder of awesome eco-conscious luxury hamper company GOOD LUXE. We love girls that are doing something just that little bit different and if there’s anyone out there to prove that ethical products don’t have to be boring, Jocelyn is your woman!

We chat to Jocelyn about her best eco-friendly finds in Hong Kong, her favourite travel destinations, her top tips for starting your own business and how to fit a big dining table into a small HK apartment!

Fill us in on your background and where you grew up. How did you end up in Hong Kong?
I was born in the US, raised in The Netherlands, with a stint in the UK and South America when I was younger. I’m now living in Hong Kong after a job opportunity presented itself 2 years ago.

Where do you live? How have you made your home your own?
I live in the Star Street neighbourhood of Hong Kong, on Sau Wa Fong; this is just off of St. Francis Street where the Monocle store and Kapok are. I love the area with all its greenery and hidden little stores.

One of the key things that makes our apartment feel like home is our green wall and rustic wooden dining table. As our apartment isn’t that big, the first thing people tend to ask is how we managed to get the dining table through the door. The answer is, we didn’t. We had to saw off parts of the legs to fit it in. But… it’s worth it!

How do you describe your personal style? How does it evolve and change?
I guess my personal style can be described as eclectic but fresh. I love the clean and colourful style of Tory Burch, but also like dressing down in the weekend with a tank top, a pair of shorts and my Ray-Bans.

I love nice heels and big jewellery, especially when combined with an understated outfit. I have a few signature pieces that remind me of travels that I’ve made or milestone celebrations.

Where do you shop in Hong Kong? Any secret finds you can let us in on?
I love natural materials, like silk and cotton (preferably cruelty free and organic of course!) Because of this, I like choosing my own fabrics and having things made. Tailors are one of the perks of living in Hong Kong and I am happy to make use of their crafty skills. It might not always turn out exactly how I want, but most of the time I am quite content with my one-of-a-kind designs.

Other Hong Kong boutiques I enjoy having a look about are Polkadot Boutique for their dresses and jewellery, and Attic Lifestyle and TREE for their homeware… Simply wish I could fit more into my small apartment!

What are your must-have beauty products? Where do you go for hair/nails/maintenance?
I never used to be into beauty products, until moving to Hong Kong two years back. To be completely honest, I don’t think I ever had a mani/pedi before moving to Hong Kong… how the times have changed!

For me, an ideal beauty product has to adhere to the same standards as all GOOD LUXE products. So ‘no hidden nasties’ as they say! In my bathroom you will find:

– Pearl coloured body lotion by Burt’s Bee’s
– Pure organic Argan oil by Amorocco
– Recently bought… the Sassy featured Eco-TAN as I am way too impatient to lie out in the sun all day
– Nail polish from SpaRitual and Organic Pharmacy
– BareMinerals Make-up
– Dr. Bronners and June Jacobs Spa Collection

For maintenance, I am fortunate to have received a gift package for facials at the Hyatt’s Plateau Spa; for nails et al, I go to my neighbourhood faves: Iyara or Cleopatra’s.

What is your favourite thing to do at the weekend?
My favourite part of the week is Saturday morning – I love to go out for coffee and spend the morning reading the papers. I’m very particular about my coffee… and I must say it’s not easy finding a good cuppa in Hong Kong! As far as taste goes, nothing beats Barista Jam in Sheung Wan, but if I’m looking for a little more ambiance, I’ll go to all-time favourite Oolaa.  Lucky enough, they are opening up a new Oolaa Petite in my ‘hood soon!

The rest of my ideal Saturday will involve a hike, a BBQ on the roof with friends and perhaps a little dancing afterwards. Sunday is all about yoga, dim sum and movies, leaving me all rested and revived for Monday morning.

What are your favourite restaurants/bars in Hong Kong?
Too many to mention! Let’s start with Posto Pubblico, my all time favourite, together with an al fresco table at Domani’s in Admiralty. And when the weather gets hot and sticky and you’d rather stay in an air-conditioned space all day, I go to ROKA and Thai Basil in Pacific Place – both are divine. For lunch, I can highly recommend the flat breads at MANA! And for desserts, you cannot top Caprice in the Four Seasons, where the celebrated chef, Marike van Beurden, rules the show.

What’s your favourite place in Hong Kong?
Without a doubt my rooftop. It’s green, open and quiet – at least in the evening when the construction work is over! We have a big table for dinner with friends and enough home-grown veggies to feed them all! My boyfriend is the gardener, so I must give him the credit for this.

What inspired you to start GOOD LUXE? Tell us how you came up with the idea behind it?
Working on various projects as a strategy consultant, I had the good fortune to meet a number of fascinating and successful entrepreneurs that inspired me to start my own business.

I have always been a big fan of the one-for-one concept, e.g. Tom shoes, and eco-conscious and fair trade products. However, it was a challenge to find attractive and luxury items in this category, especially in Hong Kong.

Last year at Mid-Autumn Festival, a friend asked me to create corporate gift hampers with these types of ethical products. When a number of the recipients came back with an order for Christmas, I knew I was on to something and decided to give it a real shot.

How do you source items and brands for GOOD LUXE? Has it been challenging?
Sourcing is the fun part. Of course it can be challenging to find ‘the perfect product’, as they all have to adhere to the highest standards, ticking at least one – and preferably more – of the following boxes: ecologically conscious, socially fair and/or of local craftsmanship.

There is an abundance of eco or fair trade products; however, not that many that raise the bar and focus on both people and planet.  Another challenge is the design – great products often lack the aesthetics.

Meeting these challenges and discovering a true gem (like one of my favourite new products, the handmade soaps of The Bird Project) is quite rewarding! The Bird Project is a black bird-shaped soap containing a handmade ceramic bird made from Louisiana Clay, which remains as your keepsake once the outer soap has washed away. 50% of the profits go to Gulf Restoration Network and International Bird Rescue to restore and recover the coast after BP’s Oil Spill; I think it’s a perfect memento to give to your wedding guests, or to your clients to emphasise your companies’ CSR (corporate social responsibility) policy.

How do you think Hong Kong is coming along in terms of being eco-conscious? Are there any other places/shops you’d recommend in HK or online with a similar ethos?
In terms of eco-conscious, it depends on what we compare Hong Kong to I guess. In comparison to Europe and the US, we still have a way to go. But I think we’ll get there a lot faster than they once did. There are a lot of grass root initiatives in Hong Kong; the key challenge now is to create more collaboration between the various initiatives.

There are a number of places to shop in Hong Kong. Just Green, Homegrown Foods and the Star Ferry terminal’s Sunday farmers market are good for food shopping. HK Honey, a wonderful local initiative, sell their products online. Check out Burnt Oringe for luxury eco linen, Shokay for soft yak products, Organic Pharmacy for nice skincare products and make-up, and so on…

What are your favourite travel destinations?
So difficult to choose… My number one passion/hobby/joy in life is travelling. I daydream about travelling the world; sometimes I don’t even need to do the actual traveling, just imagining that I am eating tapas in Barcelona or walking over the Brooklyn Bridge can lighten my day!

But if I have to pick a top 3 favourite travel destinations, it would have to be Australia for the laid-back attitude and the beaches, Argentina for the landscape and the passionate ‘portenos’ and number 3, to keep it closer to home, I’ll say Shanghai, for the city buzz and the amazing food it has to offer.

What are your suitcase essentials?
I like to travel light. However, at the airport, all bets are off and I usually pack up on all my favourite magazines, ranging from Monocle to Fast Company and the fashion glossies. Hanging around in airport bookstores is probably one of my favourite pastimes, although it gets my boyfriend quite on edge, as I lose track of time and nearly missed my flight once!

Do you have any tips for other girls wanting to start their own business?
Of course there are a million tips that I could give ranging from ‘just do it’ to ‘do your research, make a business plan’ yada-yada. But I’m assuming if you are serious about starting a business, you are well aware of this. So, in an attempt to give a less prevailing answer, I would say: find a support system in the form of business partner, shared office space, a coach, friends and family, anything or everything that will help you get through the hurdles of starting for yourself.

SASSY GIVEAWAY: We have a $1000 GOOD LUXE voucher up for grabs, for you to choose your fave foods, drinks, bath goodies and cooking ingredients and build your very own eco-friendly GOOD LUXE hamper. To be in with a chance of winning, simply LIKE both GOOD LUXE and Sassy on Facebook (thumbs up if you like us both already) and then drop your deets in the form below. The competition closes on Monday 18 June and the winner will be notified on email on 19 June.

Fill out my online form.

Check out the rest of our That Girls here!

All photos in the That Girl article above were taken by the hugely-talented Sabrina Sikora of Sabrina Sikora Photography – get in touch with her at [email protected].

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