Stephen Letourneau, General Manager / Chief Brand Officer for CANNUKA

Hi there, it’s so great to meet you, I’m a huge fan of your products, so talk us through…

What is your personal favourite Cannuka  product?

While some people have a hard time choosing, I do not! I’m obsessed with our Calming Eye Balm (RRP £35).  Aside from reducing the appearance of puffiness and dark circles it contains Hyaluronic Acid and feels like a shot of water to wake up the whole eye area. If it’s been a long week of travel, this is my go to for looking alert and refreshed.  You need at least 7 in your house at all times!

A day in the life of Cannuka…

Between catching up with our national retail partners to connecting with customers Cannuka is Non-Stop (and we wouldn’t have it any other way).  We are constantly sourcing what’s happening in the world of wellness and looking for the next skin concern, new ingredient and next opportunity to chat about healthy skin NOT perfect skin.  Every day is different and really challenges the way we think, not only about skincare but the world we are living in and how do we leave it better.

The inspiration behind the name.

Our two hero ingredients Cannabis + Manuka Honey = Cannuka.  We wanted to help take the stigma out of Cannabis and give Manuka Honey the due it deserves.

Is this your dream job?

I know I’m supposed to say I have it (and basically I do) but in my next life I want to be the Chief Giving Officer.  I am one of 5 kids and our parents exemplified community over self.  In my dream world I am helping beauty evolve and directing all of the skincare brands into a massive charitable fund that focuses on solving a problem within a decade (homelessness first / clean energy for school systems next).  That said my current gig is pretty amazing!

What is your favourite ingredient to use in a skincare product?

The unique combination of Hemp derived CBD + Manuka Honey truly is my favourite ingredient.  Together there are endless applications.  Let’s be honest over 90% of skin issues are the result of inflammation or dehydration.  So soothing the skin and adding a natural Humectant are a pretty good base line.

As a busy mum & Stylist, whenever I’m stressed (hello global pandemic!) my skin always takes the hit…as one of our organs do you agree we don’t look after it enough?

Absolutely!  Our entire collection was built based on the busy mum.  We knew that mums don’t have a 2 hour wellness routine so if we could give you just 2 whole minutes of self-care we called it a win.  So for instance, the Eye Balm has a large mouth opening, because who has time for something so tiny! The Face Cream comes out in metered doses so you don’t have a big pump that just ends up all over you (or if your lil’ angels gets hold of it they can only squirt out so much in 5 mins; We tested it).  While Sleep is the dream for all of our mums, hydrating your skin so you can focus on being the total warrior that you are is what we are all about!

We are all wearing masks now &  it is wrecking havoc with our skin. What advice would you give in terms of skincare under a mask?

I would say step one after the mask is off, say one nice thing about your skin (you would never let someone talk bad to your friend or child so we don’t let you do that to yourself).

Next step, cleanse and hang out make-up free to let you skin just breathe, our Purifying Gel Balm Cleanser (RRP £29) with Sea Buckthorn will help you reset your skin ready to moisturise. So whether you’re cocooning your skin overnight with the Healing Skin Balm (RRP £49) or just living off the luscious Harmonizing Face Cream (RRP £49) just take care of you!

As a successful business.. What advice would you give to other start ups?

We had zero ego, so we took all of the amazing advice (at the same time) and I would say learn that first, there will always be another major retailer moment or must-have influencer.  Just keep working your plan and moving forward.  We say fail fast and learn faster!  I am learning every day.  Also, Give Back!

I mentor other start-up brands and do my best to paint a real picture and discuss our mistakes far more often than our success.  We are all in this together so just know that today’s tragedy is tomorrows old news.  Have fun and ask all the questions.  We live in a world where everyone is supposed to know everything – insider info, even the largest beauty brands are still running like 1 year old start-ups so relax.

Who or what inspires you in your everyday life?

I am blown away by my two sisters, both have amazing jobs. One runs Payroll for a boutique ice cream company Jeni’s and the other a centre for the prevention of child sexual abuse at John’s Hopkins University while raising two kids each.  I mean I LOVE being an uncle and help out as often as we can but man its exhausting, we babysat for a couple of hours at the weekend and I had to take nap! I run marathons but 3 hours with a 2 year old and 5 month old, OMG.

So the fact that they do everything that they do, are the best mums ever, get dressed every day and are incredibly kind to everyone – literally I can’t even fathom how they do it.

It makes me think about everything; Our components (are they quick and easy to use), how quickly our creams absorb (lightning fast so you can apply make-up or get dressed immediately), are these ingredients that consumers want to see, or are they on a no-no list… Literally everything we build starts with “would this fit into a micro moment of self-care for mums?”

Clearly I am super proud – they make me better.

Thanks so much X

Cannuka will launch with six bestselling US products in the UK:

Available online  / Instagram @cannuka

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