To mark Karmameju's 25th anniversary and Mette Skjærbæk's 50th birthday, we present this extensive interview with our founder.

Learn more about the person who kicked it all off 25 years ago, sharing reflections on everything from passion and product development to the future and the past.


Mette, in honour of your anniversary, you've been touring the country with your latest talk ‘Can the mind do cartwheels?’ - can you tell us a little about the title? 

My most important job is create balance in people's skin and improve it. If I can also inspire people to make the best of everyday life, even on the grey, rainy days, then that's something that makes me proud. I love it when people inspire each other and ‘Can the mind do cartwheels?’ is all about that. It's an honest story about my very imperfect life and how the ups and downs in life can be transformed into a driving force and love for life if we choose to put the right words to our thoughts.

Can you tell us a bit more about putting the ‘right words to our thoughts’?

I'm interested in the dialogue we have with ourselves and often refer to the ‘girl or boy in the mirror’... What dialogue do we have with ourselves and about ourselves? Do we speak nicely to ourselves or are we not very kind in our thoughts? In a podcast, I heard a doctor say: “I prescribe words to my patients”, and I just love that because we become the words we think. So let's make the words loving, warm, forgiving and understanding.

I have lost many dear ones at too early an age, including my father and my brother, so my desire to make the most of life, while I have it, is a very strong driver within me. I believe that most of how we experience life is through the words we have in our minds. For example, this morning, I was in a bit of a hurry and spilled a cup of coffee all over my bed, walls and slippers. Do I rage in my mind about it? Or do I think: oh dear, good thing the cup didn't break because my daughter bought it for me in Japan and I'm so fond of it!

Life happens in our thoughts, and we must take responsibility for training our thoughts if we prefer to be joyful, just as we train muscles or knowledge, for example.

Why is improving people's skin condition important to you?

Skincare is important, it is not vanity. On the contrary, it's self-care and an important element of staying healthy. Research shows that weathered or unhealthy skin is a risk factor for almost every age-related disease, from Parkinson's to type 2 diabetes. Mao-Qiang Man, a researcher at the University of California San Francisco, says: 'Recent research suggests that wrinkled, diseased or damaged skin becomes part of an inflammatory system and releases a chemical cocktail that leads to further damage and inflammation.' He continues: 'Chronologically aged skin shows higher expression levels of a whole panel of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, as does photoaged skin.

In other words, as your skin ages, it starts to show more signs of inflammation. This is true for both normal age-related skin and skin that has been exposed to a lot of sunlight (The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging).

So that's one reason I want to improve people's skin condition: it's part of holistic health, the belief in taking care of the whole person, this includes keeping skin in good condition.

The other reason is that people often feel better mentally if they look in the mirror and see themselves ‘in balance’ and are happy with how they look. I want people to feel as good as possible. A lot of people close to me are nurses, and I think the caring gene is a big part of me. When we combine skincare with aromatherapy, it's again about both skin and mind. Everything I do is about skin, mind and overall health.

 How does it feel to celebrate the 25th anniversary of your company? 

It's very touching, and I'm actually a bit surprised by how emotional I am. Because 24 years is also big, but I think maybe it's because I'm turning 50 at the same time. Two very big numbers that in a way that testifies a life lived, and fortunately, a life that I feel is well lived.

I'm more calm and balanced than ever before, and therefore, I think I can take it all in better. I am very grateful these days, most of all to all the people who have been on the journey with me: consumers, retailers, the social media community,  press, colleagues, family and friends. I have a feeling that there is so much 'care in the air' these days.

Yes, it's just a great time that I'm trying to 'bottle' in my memories so that I can open them in the years to come and reminisce on this very special time every once in a while.

Can you tell us some more about your product development? 

One of our very first products was the MOUNT EVEREST bathrobe, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary with me. My product development almost always comes from a need or a gap I've discovered, something that I am missing and does not exist or something that I feel I can make even better. Hence our tagline: REDEFINING WELLNESS. The bathrobe was one of our first products, and it is still a big favorite of mine. Making “evergreens” is very satisfying. 

A product like HERO pH solution didn't exist on the market when we invented it, and I think innovation is so important in our industry. HERO's number one job is to make sure the skin’s pH is in balance, which is integral for the skin’s microbiome. HERO helps so many people and that just makes me so happy. 

Making dry brushing sexy and cool again is also a big achievement for me. It's some of the finest skincare rituals we can do. Every product in Karmameju's history has had a big and important WHY behind it, and that's crucial for me in my product development.


Why celebrate an anniversary with a perfume? 

I've known for a long time that a perfume would be the anniversary product. Perfume to me is a decadent, accessible luxury that adds extra sensorial pleasure to everyday life. Perfume is the ultimate ‘communication’ in aromatherapy; it's where we go all in with the finest natural fragrances, to honour the ancient art of perfumery. I wanted to create an uncomplicated, light and loving fragrance. A fragrance that instills both calmness and positivity. We live in a complicated world, and the more we can create uncomplicated emotions within us, the better.

STORYTELLER is the first fragrance across all Karmameju products where I have yet to meet a person who doesn't like the fragrance. On the contrary, everyone gets a special light in their eyes when they smell STORYTELLER. I wanted to tell nature's story, my story, Karmameju's story, and in a way I feel that I have succeeded. I'm very grateful to have the feeling of really hitting the spot with our anniversary product. It could have been any time and any place to have hit the spot because product development is unpredictable, you never know what others will love.

Our unique collaboration with master perfumer Richard in England, who has a great and rare love for aromatherapy, the use of 100% natural fragrances, is what allows me to fulfil my dreams of fragrance and what I want to give to people. Usually people have many different opinions about a fragrance, however STORYTELLER seems to go straight to the heart of everyone.

We call it A LOVE LETTER IN A BOTTLE because it gives everyone that special light in the eyes when they smell it. 

In my opinion our three existing Eau de Parfums: POWDERBLOOM, NECTARFLAME and URBAN OUD are amazing as well. I especially love URBAN OUD so much, but with those three perfumes, we find that people are more divided in preference.


You have just celebrated the 25th anniversary with a large Fragrance Art Installation, a fragrance journey at a gallery, why did you choose to do it this way?

I wanted to emphasize the art of fragrance in the same way as other forms of art are being put on a pedestal, and I wanted to be able to invite EVERYONE, not just a selected crowd. Being able to invite everyone - consumers, the social media community, retailers, press, influencers, friends and family - was a great joy for me. I myself can become insecure and feel like a left-out child on a sports field when I see events where I could have been invited, but have not, and I did not want to give anybody that feeling. I owe so many people a big thank you, for supporting my ideas for 25 years.

The FRAGRANCE ART INSTALLATION is the most beautiful and complete event we have created in my 25 years with Karmameju. We combined fragrance stimulation with the nine fragrance notes* of our anniversary perfume STORYTELLER, with sound vibration therapy, which is an effective stimulation of the vagus nerve that activates the parasympathetic nervous system. We also added taste stimulation, visual stimulation and lots of hugs. It was really great for me to see how much it affected people and how powerful it is when we stimulate the senses. We are such sensory beings and I really want us to remember in our busy lives that there are simple ways to stimulate our bodies to feel better. 

*Fragrance notes in STORYTELLER: Angelica root, Orange, Clementine (top notes) Neroli, Linden Blossom, Chamomile, Violet (heart notes) Cedarwood, Hinoki (base notes) 

What about the next 25 years at Karmameju? 

I'm very proud of what we do because it's real, honest and of very high quality. People use our products on the skin, our biggest organ, so the products have to be exceptional. For every person who uses Karmameju and also for myself and for my children, they use my products every day, this is quite a visual reminder of how essential it is to choose the right ingredients for skincare. I can only work with skincare with a deep honesty and I feel that consumers show me a lot of trust by using Karmameju. 

So much more of the same or the next 25 years; putting nature on bottles, innovation, biotechnology, aromatherapy, biohacking, rituals, improvement and balance. I still love my job - what a privilege!

And the next 50 years of Mette's life? 

It's a bit the same, because I'm lucky enough to work with what I'm also interested in. More knowledge about natural health, biohacking, and continuing to meet interesting people - I love relations. Time for creativity, immersion and love. And I want to go sailing more, my nervous system feels so good at sea and that's also where I can feel my dad most. I want to enjoy life as much as possible, that’s it for the next 50!

Why '25 years of redefining wellness'? 

Karmameju has always been about giving people an even greater sense of well-being, the joy of functionality and stimulation of the senses... It's just the way I am. That's how I live at home too. Karmameju is basically the products I want to have around me, the products that I think make everyday life better. The products that I find during the product development phase, that I keep using, and after a while, wouldn't want to be without.

Any last words?


Even if it's two small words, I mean it from the most grateful place in my heart.