We consider Leilah Mundt, CEO, and Founder of powerhouse agency Crème Collective a true pioneer in the world of beauty—building and supporting some of your favorite brands since day one. Sit back and enjoy as Leilah chats about her earliest adventures in beauty, why she launched Crème, and one of her most treasured beauty business moments to date. Oh, and we take an extensive peek at her vanity to see what someone who has tried it all is actually using.
Profession: CEO and Founder of Crème Collective
Describe yourself in three words: Optimistic, Contemplative, Dreamer
How did your passion for beauty come about and what were some of the first brands you connected with as a consumer?
I am being totally honest when I say that I was born this way. Like, literally right outta the womb I was obsessed with makeup, lotions, perfumes and actually all things beautiful: art, flowers, fashion, etc. Where did it come from? Who knows, but I have always just embraced it.
As early as 4 or 5 years old I remember falling totally in love with my mother’s aluminum tube of Bain De Soleil Orange Gelée. The exotic scent, the oily-gel texture and the beautiful French words on the packaging ignited something in me that has never left (and probably explains my Francophile tendencies). I even gave my daughter the middle name Soleil because I just adore the word so much.
Do you have any fun or fond memories that come to mind when thinking about your first roles in beauty?
Everything about my first roles in beauty were fun. It was the best time to be in beauty. In my late teens and early 20’s, I worked for indie brands Benefit and Stila (when they had just launched) and was trained by some of the industry’s best for makeup application and sales. I loaded on the glitters, shadows, highlighters, bronzers, and tons of sticky, shiny lip gloss in every color. I put makeup on people all day at work and would then come home and put makeup on all my friends. I loved every minute of it and always try to remember the magic of that era when this business feels too…business-y.
Crème Collective is such a respected powerhouse in the world of beauty storytelling. Why did you launch Crème and what are some of the key services you offer to new and established brands?
After working for years in beauty I had become disenchanted with the industry. I felt like the “suits” in charge weren’t allowing for more interesting brands, products, and brand founders to come through. Luckily, I wasn’t alone and this whole independent beauty community entered the scene—SHEN included—that paved a way for a more diverse and authentic world of beauty.
Crème Collective was created as a platform to create, support, and grow these types of brands. We work closely with founders to create brands that are real contenders in our industry—from branding, photo/video, sales, partnerships, and events. We even own and operate our own beauty warehouse with white-glove service for beauty and wellness brands!
You have such an impressive roster of clients. What do you think attracts global clients to Crème Collective?
I am always in awe of what the incredible team here does everyday. It makes me really proud to say that 100% of the business growth is from word-of-mouth referrals, and past clients singing our praises. I am not good at a lot of things, but I really have put the absolute best into my little orb, and I think that is what attracts people to us.
Do you have any *pinch me* moments of clients or campaigns you’ve gotten to work with on behalf of Crème?
Being a Gwyneth Paltrow uber-fan since the ’90s (I watched Shakespeare in Love 10,000 times), it was pretty surreal sitting cross-legged with her on her living room floor, working on Goop’s first skincare campaign. It was one of those moments in life that felt like I was on the right path and that all the blood, sweat, and tears of building a start-up from scratch were worth it.
Any tips you can share for those wanting to break into beauty in a behind-the-scenes kind of way?
My advice is to make sure you LOVE it. This industry looks glamorous from the outside, just like entertainment or fashion or even tech, but it is a grind, and there is nothing easy about it. Love for your product, brand message, or whatever drives you is essential.
We’re big fans of manifestation so let’s put it out there…what dream client would you like to work with one day?
I am a fan of manifestation myself, and a long time ago, I set the intention to work with global movers, shakers, and dreamers. I believe that happens every day, and I love the surprises that agency life throws my way!
But if I have to name names, Kacey Musgraves, you are on my shortlist, girl!
What skincare products do you use as part of your daytime and nighttime routines?
Even though I am usually reviewing lots of products on any given day, I have some tried-and-true favorites that I am never without.
For daytime, I gotta scrub the night away with my oily skin type, and I love Goldfaden MD Doctor's Scrub for the most effective sloughing and skin prep. These days, I follow up with the entire Joaquina Botánica range, which Jess introduced me to and which I absolutely adore. A thorough drenching with the Hydrating Essence, a big dollop of the Crema Esencial and a few drops over the top with Glow Oil. Yum. Porcelain Cacao + Amino Acids Crema Esencial
At night, I always use a retinol from my arsenal of about 100 of them and give myself a healthy dose of the insanely gorgeous Muri Lelu Mauvaise Herbe Oil, which does a lot of amazing skincare things but also has a completely calming and addicting scent.
I have been wearing a Fleur Marché Sleep, PLZ wellness patch on my inner wrist every night and am getting really amazing sleep scores on my Oura ring. Sleep is my most prized beauty tool. Muri Lelu Mauvaise Herbe Oil
If we peeked inside your makeup bag, what products would we find and want to steal?
I am a bold lip kinda gal and have been loving Jess’s favorite red in MOB Matte Lipstick. It’s just perfection.
Any favorite hair care products you use to tame and style your tresses?
When I need to fluff up my roots a bit (as in, I am lazy and refuse to wash my hair) I use Lernberger Stafsing Dryclean Soft Spray to restore volume at my roots.
Any favorite podcasts, beauty or otherwise, you listen to daily for motivation or to simply unwind?
One word: Smartless. It checks all my boxes. Hilarious, interesting, and makes me think. And I also might have a crush on Jason Bateman now.
We’re all about a great documentary and a face mask these days. Any favorite shows you’re binge-watching or can recommend? Do you have a favorite face mask you use to give your skin some extra TLC?
Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good rom-com or period piece. A perfect night for me is Bridgerton and a face mask. I love an acid mask like Lernberger Stafsing’s Advanced Clarifying Acid Clay Mask, but am dying to try Haoma’s new Mycelium Gel Mask.
Who’s your beauty icon and why?
I have appreciated and been inspired by so many beautiful women, past and present, that it would be impossible to pick just one.