From cosmetics to green business and film: Mia Fiona Kut on her post-SFU life

A sit down with SFU alum Mia Fiona Kut: filmmaker, actor, and owner of Luna Nectar

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Photo courtesy of Mia Fiona Kut's website.

By: Victoria Lopatka, Staff Writer 

Fast facts about Mia Fiona Kut

  • Name: Mia Fiona Kut
  • Business name/Instagram: Luna Nectar /@lunanectar
  • Hometown: Richmond, BC
  • Year of graduation from SFU: 2013
  • Major: Communications
  • Fun fact: I love butter chicken and Daiya cheese.

Every day is a little bit different for filmmaker, actress, and business owner Mia Fiona Kut. You may find her demoing products to a prospective retail partner, shipping and delivering packages, brainstorming a new brilliant sales strategy, writing a film script, working on her company’s website, editing photos for its social media, or attending an audition.

“I’m usually late for everything, yet have a million things to do,” Kut admits. Her own skincare regime is simplified and fast, to keep up with her busy schedule: a gentle turmeric bar, a moisturizing serum made of organic oils and herbal extracts, some bronzer, a swipe of mascara, and a lip tint.

If there’s someone well-placed to understand beauty regimens, it’s Kut. On top of her work in film, Kut is also the founder of Luna Nectar Organics, a Canadian-based cosmetic company. The company is well known for their Moon Boost Lash and Brow Enhancing Serum, which is designed to moisturize roots of lashes and brows, promoting longevity and length, as well as protecting your lashes and brows from everyday wear and environmental factors. The product is useful for those who have lost brow or eyelash hair due to medical conditions and frequent eyelash extension users, to promote strength and growth.

Kut was inspired by her little sister to create this company.

“My sister was already born with long lashes but when she came home one summer after being away for school, her lashes were so abnormally long it didn’t look quite right. She told me about the synthetic, chemical serum her and her friends were using [and] the harmful side effects that came with it,” Kut says. “I had already been concocting my own natural skincare and haircare potions before, but after researching more about this lash serum and lash extension phenomenon, I decided to create my own formula with a chemist.”

Moon Boost Lash and Brow Enhancing Serum is organic, vegan, and cruelty-free. Kut’s own skin ailments, including eczema, rosacea, and allergies, as well as her knowledge of Chinese medicine, made these values important in her own product. “While nourishing ourselves is important,” Kut explains, “it shouldn’t come at the expense of animals or plant ecosystems. In the bigger picture, doing so doesn’t have to be with frivolous means.”

Luna Nectar is transparent about the ingredients that go into the serum, and Kut believes more companies should be equally as upfront about their ingredients. A list of what goes into the Moon Boost serum is easily located on the Luna Nectar website, including aloe vera juice, vitamin E, biotin, castor oil, bamboo extract, and other certified organic ingredients.

“Customers will make up their mind depending on their own preferences, and I think customers will be better empowered about their choices if they are educated upfront and feel like their needs are being heard,” Kut says. “We are certified by PETA [and] go to great lengths to ensure all of our ingredients from our suppliers come from ethical, all-natural sources.” This is not always an easy task, but Kut is determined to stick to these goals and guidelines.

Not all companies, though, are as transparent and caring for their customers. Kut explains the concept of “greenwashing,” which is when a company claims and appears to be “green” or natural, when they actually spend little time or effort implementing pro-environment practices.

“You can see the word ‘natural’ on the front of the product or have photos of beautiful flowers and trees on the packaging,” she explains, “but when you look at the ingredients, the only natural ingredients are among the last on the list buried under a bunch of chemicals.”

Luckily, Kut also shares some tips for consumer awareness and smart shopping, including being aware that the effectiveness of a product may differ from person to person, depending on age, genetics, etc. and that one product won’t be the magic answer to your ailments. She also recommends sources that can give you information on the natural and toxic ingredients in the products you buy, such as the ThinkDirty app and the Enviromental Working Group’s ingredient database.

Another tab on the Luna Nectar website is “The Dossier,” which is filled with little articles regarding holistic beauty and life, mental health advice, tips and tricks for bettering yourself, and more including “Updating Your Natural Skincare Routine for Fall,” “How to Deal With Decision Fatigue (and Being Overwhelmed!),” and “Happiness Mindset Algorithm.”

“I think mental health is something that needs to be talked about more,” Kut says. “In a society where systems are so fast-paced and not designed in the most effective, economical manner, why wouldn’t people feel disconnected and at unease with it? There needs to be more conversation, which then can lead to ‘let’s do something about it!’”

For students who are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, she recommends talking to someone, whether it be a friend or a counsellor, as well as meditative techniques like yoga, deep breathing, or centring your mind. Being aware of what you’re feeling, your body and what triggers your anxiety is important.

Before Kut was the successful business owner, actress, and filmmaker she is today, she was a student at SFU.

First, she was a chemistry student, who then switched to business, and finally ended up in communications through a passion for film and writing. She vividly remembers telling her friends she would “never go into business,” and cosmetics were not on her radar until her late teens/early twenties. She worked for some time as a project manager at a financial web design company.

“It wasn’t until recently that I felt like I wanted to do something more tangible that could help people, make more use of my skills and creativity, and spoke to my truth. With my film producing experience which is kind of like running a business in itself I thought, ‘why not?’”

To students looking to follow in her footsteps and start their own businesses, she advises making business and funding plans as early as possible, knowing your market, trusting your gut, and making sure to have clear written agreements with those you work and partner with.

“I started Luna Nectar just between my partner and myself, [and] a few on-call people, with the intention of testing the waters, growing it small and steadily. However, it grew faster than I imagined, with interest from some big franchises that were on my wish list.”

When asked about some challenges she has experienced starting and growing this company, Kut says, “The challenge is still, for such a small team, how to navigate time management and systems that will really streamline our operations.”

Inspired by other female business owners such as Emily Weiss from Glossier and Amanda Chantal Bacon of Moon Juice, Kut has big future aspirations and plans for Luna Nectar. She hopes to have a whole line of 100% natural and vegan products as well as a Luna Nectar showroom or storefront one day, “To crossover or meld the worlds of beauty, health, and performance art somehow.”

To learn more about Luna Nectar’s products, ingredients, reviews, and read their dossier, head over to the Luna Nectar website or follow them on Instagram @lunanectar.

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