SUITCASE SERIES: Mele Olivetti, Founder of Feniu
Lux Nomade’s editorial team loves to dive into the travel secrets of inspiring entrepreneurs, tastemakers and trendsetters. And, our Suitcase Series is the perfect outlet to put our nosiness to good use and to get a peek into the beauty bags and travel psyches of people we admire.
This week we caught up with Mele Feniu Olivetti, the founder of Australian beauty brand Feniu.
Feniu was founded by Mele Feniu Olivetti, a Tongan-Australian woman whose vision was to keep her culture’s traditions alive by continuing to provide Tongan coconut oil to future generations. Driven with the desire to empower and showcase the richness of Tongan culture, Mele set out on a three-year journey to build Feniu. Mele’s inspiration to bring Feniu to life can be traced back to her own mother and the generations of women before her. Growing up in a Tongan household Mele was immersed in the centuries’ old practice of using coconut infused oils on a daily basis as a completely natural and gentle moisturiser for the face, body and hair. Untouched by additives, processes or synthetic elements, the oils are the fundamental beauty regime of Tongan households.
What’s been your most memorable trip and why?
My trip to Tonga in Feb 2020 is definitely my most memorable trip, because I was able to combine my love of the heritage, with my business plans for Feniu. I travelled with my Feniu media team to experience the culture and to also source where our ingredients come from. It was the first time travelling to Tonga for some of my team and to be able to experience this together was an unforgettable experience.
What’s your favourite ever hotel?
I would have to say Katea Retreat Beach Resort, Tonga. Our friends Sami and Sheila who own the property have built these beautiful cliff top villas overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It’s a truly unique experience set over the ocean with surroundings of lush forest with native plants and hand carved wooden features throughout. There’s a hidden path to the ocean front that is such a beautiful touch, it’s like walking down to dreamland.
Where or what is your escape?
Anywhere in nature is always a great escape! A rain forest or a beach escape certainly does the trick! I enjoy being in nature as it allows me to reset by being connected to the outdoors. Sometimes we can spend so much time stuck inside in front of a computer screen that some sunshine and sand can feel like heaven.
If you could go anywhere tomorrow it would be…
Tonga. After the recent tsunami I am really keen to go back and assess the family home, as well as try to help the youth organisation that Feniu works with. I’ve been working really hard to fundraise for Tonga however to be able to be on the ground to help with recovery in any way I can would be wonderful.
What’s your idea of a luxury wellness holiday?
Somewhere peaceful, where I can switch off and enjoy the nature. Of course it’s a bonus if there’s luxurious amenities and great food!
My top bucket-list destination is…
To visit all the pacific islands so I experience their unique cultures – there’s so many experiences waiting to be had! I’ve always wanted to visit Bora Bora, Tahiti so that’s definitely one on the top of my bucket list.
If you could sit next to anyone – dead or alive – on a long-haul flight, who would it be?
There has always been some mystery surrounding my name/brand name FENIU and its origin. I come from a long line of woman who carry this name and would love to sit and hear their stories if they were still alive. Either them or Jason Momoa!
What is your jet-lag recovery tip?
Always stay hydrated as a first priority! This goes for the inside as well as the outside. Rest whenever possible and if you can just try to quickly adjust to the time difference, that always helps.
What is your suitcase stalwart?
I typically like something sturdy yet a little chic, like luggage brand July. They have some really cute options that I love, especially since their bags are still sustainable and longer lasting.
What is your number one packing tip?
My main focus is to always try not to overpack (it’s so easily done and we all know that most of the time we never end up using all those items when we’re away)! Whenever I can, I go for multi-purpose options, whether that be clothing or even make up, like a lip tint that can double as a blush. When it comes to clothing, I try to keep it minimal with options that I can easily mix and match, like a great pair of jeans and white shirt that can usually be mixed with other items.
I never travel without…
Photos of my kids – I’m sentimental that way and miss them whenever they’re not with me.
In my beauty / toiletry bag I always bring…
Again, I like to keep it simple but I never go anywhere without my Feniu Anti-Aging Hydrator. It is a brilliant multi-purpose product that keeps you moisturised whilst also fighting the signs of ageing and protecting against damaging free radicals. I also love Caudalie Elixir Face Mist and a coconut lip balm.