11 years ago designers Dianna Burmas and Deon St. Mor started MOR from their small studio in a Melbourne lane way. Fast forward to 2012 and their small Melbourne studio is long gone, replaced by large offices across three continents. Their range has grown extensively and the brand is now internationally recognised, and stocked in some of the world’s best department stores.
From candles to soap to body oils, each MOR product is little piece of delicious-scented luxury. The brand is not only known for their beautiful products and delectable scents, but also their packaging. A few months ago I bought a soap from their Emporium collection and I still can’t bring myself to open it, the soap is now displayed like a decoration in my bathroom and whilst I like to keep my desks (both at work and home) relatively bare and clear, you will always find a MOR hand cream on display.
MOR is my go-to gift for friends and my desk, bathroom and makeup case are never without at least one MOR product.
What I love just as much as beauty products, is the story of how the brands began. Behind every brand is an inspiring person, or in the case ‘inspiring people’. One of the most effective motivation/inspiration tools for me is hearing about other people and their successes. I had read a brief overview of Dianna Burmas and Deon St Mor’s beginnings with the brand, but I wanted to know more! How have they grown the brand, where do they get their daily inspiration, what’s new and what’s on the horizon for MOR.
I had a chat with Dianna Burmas who filled me in on everything!
How would you describe the MOR brand/range?
MOR is an expressive brand that shape shifts and evolves every year, making it somewhat of a vehicle for new and creative ideas. This allows us to experiment with all sorts of possibilities and encompass these ideas into each product to tell a unique story.
How many products do you currently have in the range?
We have just over 150 products within the MOR Collection.
Can you please describe a typical day for you as a founder and designer of MOR?
I live in London, so when I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is check my emails from Australia and the USA as we run our offices over 4 different time zones. On a good, easy day, I will go for a run in the morning: on a mad, busy day, I have to get straight into it. The day can encompass many things, so prioritising is essential. Looking at my day on a consistent level, I am always working on new products, even when I am travelling, so any ideas that come in to my head have to be quickly jotted down or drawn in to my Moleskin Journal (I like the ones with the snazzy grid paper). I do a great deal of fragrance evaluation, prototyping of packaging, story boarding and sometimes creative writing. On the back of this I also travel regularly for brand publicity and also to source new ingredients and suppliers.
You have been working with Deon since 1998. What’s your secret to a successful working partnership?
Deon and I originally started in a personal relationship, and from there we started designing homeware products together from our warehouse space at Hardware Lane in Melbourne CBD. After the success of our first brand, D1, we decided to try our hand at retail, which led us down the fragrance and beauty route, and soon a new brand was birthed. Whilst we did break up 5 years into the personal relationship, we never announced it to our staff until 2 years later, so everyone was quite shocked to find out that we managed to carry on “business as normal”. Don’t ask how we did it, we just did, the business always came first I guess. I think the secret to our relationship is that it’s normal, it has it’s ups and downs but in the end it always comes back to what’s best for MOR.
Your packaging is beautiful. Is the packaging just as important as the product?
To us the packaging is absolutely part of the experience of the brand. This is where the story begins with every product and every range. We like to get our customers all worked up over the packaging, and then keep the experience going until their skin is radiant, or someone comments on the fragrance they are wearing.
What have been your absolute favourite MOR products to date?
My favourite ranges have been Imperia and Nordica, as they were quite directional in fragrance, ingredients and packaging design for their time. Although we do not carry these lines right now, and it has been several years since we have had them on market, I continue to notice the inspiration they have given other brands who are in market currently. I like the idea that we are market leaders in this way.
MOR products are definitely renowned for their gorgeous scents/fragrances. How do you pick a scent/fragrance? Are they inspired by market trends, travels, personal likes or experiences?
Yes. Every trip and personal experience is relayed into the products. Sometimes I worry that I do not take enough photographs, but I do tend to embed the scent, taste and visual experience in my memory for future reference. When I travel to a new place, I like to pick the leaves off plants and flowers and rub layers of them stacked through my fingers to conjure up a scent through the heat. This can often progress to an actual fragrance to capture the moment.
Where can Lipstick & Cake readers currently find MOR products?
In Australia, you can find MOR in Myer, David Jones, selected retailers & pharmacies and on our E-Boutique at www.morcosmetics.com. We are also available globally in countries such as USA, UK, China, Tawain and South Africa. The MOR website also has a store locator that can help you find a MOR stockist – http://www.morcosmetics.com/contact/store-locator
What’s currently new for MOR?
Recently we launched Cosmetic Bags, which have been a sell-out success – so look out for these when our new deliveries hit the stores.
In the coming month, retailers in Australia and New Zealand will be launching two of our new collections-
Correspondence; a range of nine beautiful soaps, packaged in a stamped parcel, complete with string and wax seal.
Jardiniere; Our first foray into reed diffusers, this range comes packaged in a decorated glass bottle, and has a sumptuous double-wick candle to match.
And what’s on the horizon for the brand?
Up close and personal!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Creating new products.
Favourite ingredient to cook with?
Argan Oil after spending time in Morocco
Favourite kitchen tool/appliance?
Le Cornue cooker
Any restaurant run by the fabulous Yotam Ottolenghi. These include the original ‘Ottolenghi’ restaurants and the fabulous new ‘NOPI’ in Soho.
When you were little, what did you want to be as a grown up?
If you could invite 3 famous people (dead or alive) to dinner, who would you invite?
What do you like to do in your down-time?
My partner manages music artists and bands, so I tend to go to a lot of gigs and concerts.
Name one beauty product you can’t live without…
Name your favourite perfume.
Right now it is an unnamed fragrance I will be releasing towards the end of next year. So I will call it “NO NAME” for the purpose of this interview.
Name your best thinking spot/activity. Where/what are you doing when you come up with your best ideas?
Usually when I am sitting on a plane staring out the window. Something about being in the air at 30,000 feet seems to work for me.
Tell us something that not many people would know about you?
I believe ‘life’ is prolific outside of our planet, solar system and galaxy and that we will find out about this in the not too distant future.
Check out MOR’s amazing range at their website here.
In the meantime, check out some of the other posts I’ve written about more and enjoy some more pics from the amazing ranges!