Multipreneur Michelle Koesnadi Shares Career Advice & Acne Favourites
It’s hard to believe that at 29, Michelle Koesnadi is a mum of two sons with a clothing line (swim and resortwear brand Kerokoo) and a skincare line (named TULUS). Another fun fact: she also owns Studio 20, a house turned photo studio.
“Growing up in Jakarta, this big, bustling, metropolitan city, I guess it made me enjoy being busy and productive, which explains my multiple ventures,” says Michelle. “But I’m also learning that slowing down and taking breaks are equally important. My recent hobby in yoga has also helped me with that!”
The Indonesian entrepreneur has a candid personality that we can’t help but admire. Which leads us to this point: if you ever find yourself in need of skincare recommendations, you can pop over to Instagram and find Michelle’s BS-free skincare tips under #MKoesnadirecommends.
Ahead, get to know this multipreneur as she talks about her career journey—from her fashion blogging days to being featured on Teen Vogue back then, as well as her skincare picks for her acne-prone skin.
Tell us more about your career journey. Are there any highlights so far?
I began fashion blogging in 2009 while I was in college. I studied day and night and maintained my blog usually from 9 pm onwards. I definitely didn’t have good sleep then but somehow I managed! I don’t think I could do that anymore now though (laughs).
Blogging led me to a lot of things, like photography, styling, and then to fashion consulting. It’s also where I met my business partners for TULUS & Kerokoo, so thanks, Internet!
Although I no longer blog now due to time constraints, it’s still very much a part of my career journey. Some highlights include being featured on Teen Vogue and then receiving the ELLE Style Awards!
What was your first job? What is the best career advice you can offer to someone who wants to pursue their dream job?
I’ve never actually worked in a 9-to-5, corporate environment. My very first paid job was actually being a piano teacher (laughs)! It was funny because my friend was sick and she needed an urgent substitute teacher, so I helped her out.
This may sound cliché, but it’s important to work really hard and be passionate about what you do. You might have a day job that pays for your needs while having a freelance job that feeds your passion. Hopefully, with time and dedication, you might just be able to make the switch! It will be exhausting but it will be worth it.
Can you share on what projects you are working on right now?
I am focusing on TULUS and Kerokoo for the most part right now. We are working on expanding the brand offerings; with Kerokoo, instead of just swimsuits and resortwear, the pandemic has inspired us to add activewear to our merchandise timeline—think yoga mats and sports bras!
How did your love for fashion begin? Were there women in your life who had a deep impact on you discovering your love for fashion?
My mother had great taste in clothes and she has always taught me to splurge on classics and save on trends. She always dressed according to her body type; knowing what works and what doesn’t for her. Eventually, I adopted the same approach—buying good quality classics most of the time rather than keeping up with trending pieces! It honestly has helped me save money because I’m not buying things that are only used once or twice.
What’s your go-to look for the day ahead? Do you plan your outfits ahead or pick randomly?
Anything with an oversized blazer works for me, be it girly dresses, jeans or shorts. I do a bit of planning and random outfits, I would say. If I’m on a tight schedule for the next day, then I usually lay out what I plan to wear to avoid indecisiveness in the morning.
Talk us through your skincare routine and your holy-grail beauty products.
I start by cleansing with TULUS’ Balanced Gel Cleanser. At night, I will start with double-cleansing, which is a must regardless of whether I go out or not. If I am not on a time crunch, I will put the Dr Dennis Gross LED mask on. This helps my acne so much; I can feel the difference in my skin when I don’t use it for some time.
After that my routine usually changes from day to day, depending on how my skin feels. If my acne is rather out of control, I usually reach for exfoliating products. My favourites include Sunday Riley’s UFO, Biologique Recherche’s P50 PIGM 400 and Eve Lom’s Rescue Mask.
In the morning, I like to include vitamin C as part of my routine. I layer with niacinamide and top off with SPF, of course! I love Skinceuticals’ Serum 10, and my favourite SPF is Tatcha’s pore perfecting one. It is one of the few sunscreens that don’t give me breakouts.
How did you develop the routine that works for your skin?
Trial and error, and lots of research! Skincare reviews on Instagram and Youtube reviews are my besties. My skin is super acne-prone, it gets easily clogged and to top it off, it’s also very sensitive. It gets easily inflamed when I don’t properly take care of it. I used to try out a lot more skincare products but not so much anymore since I have my key products!
What is the most exciting beauty purchase you’ve made recently and why?
Naturium’s Niacinamide serum! It’s very affordable and works great.
What is your favourite beauty activity to treat yourself?
Facials and massages! I haven’t had a facial since last year due to the pandemic. My mind and skin definitely miss that level of pampering.
What is most important to you: comfort, beauty, or innovation?
Is it greedy if I say all three (laughs)? But really, I believe in balance. I seek comfort but I also like trying new things to see if I can come up with something innovative, and yet I want it to look as beautiful too.. It’s all about that sweet spot in the middle! It’s tough but I enjoy the whole process.
What are your plans for the future? What would you like to have accomplished in the next five years?
I’m the wrong person to ask about long-term goals (laughs)! I like short-term targets, which are usually more realistic and achievable for me. This helps me keep up instead of being disappointed in the long run. I love my work and my life as it is, so I wish nothing more than being able to continue working on the things I already am. Slow and steady wins the race!
Michelle’s Beauty Picks
TULUS Balanced Gel Cleanser, IDR189,000
Dr Dennis Gross Spectralite Faceware Pro, SGD709
Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil, SGD54
Biologique Recherche P50 PIGM 400, SGD155
Eve Lom Rescue Mask, SGD89
Skinceuticals Serum 10, SGD178
Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 PA+++, SGD95
Naturium Niacinamide Serum 12% Plus Zinc 2%, SGD31.90
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