New Body-Care Brand Marine + Vine Bottles French Beauty For An American Audience
Evelyn Ginossi’s lightbulb moment may be one of the most enviable in the history of beauty entrepreneurs.
With the warm August sun looming overhead, she was lounging poolside in Lourmarin, considered among the most picturesque villages in France, when her mind meandered dreamily to thoughts of the gorgeous setting filled with vineyards, olive groves and almond trees, the laidback culture of Provence that appealed to her Southern California-bred sensibilities and her good fortune as a Los Angeles lawyer with the flexibility to spend part of the year abroad. She contemplated capturing the escapist luxury of the unfortunately fleeting experience in a bottle.
“I was going to the South of France every summer. It was a home away from home, and it was a place I could really connect with,” says Ginossi. “At the same time, I became really interested in beauty products that weren’t available back in LA. I was thinking about whether I could start something in body care and put my own perspective on what I’d seen in the South of France. I started playing around with the products I loved and how I could improve upon them. It snowballed from there.”
Specifically, what snowballed was the formation of the brand Marine + Vine, a stylish ode to the sort of luscious body-care products Americans normally come across only on vacation. From poolside inspiration to introduction, its $62 debut product, Tahitian Oil, took more than two years and $30,000, some $20,000 over the initial budget, to make, but it wouldn’t have epitomized the smell, feel and look of its conceptual homeland without the lengthy development process and investment.
“What’s so alluring about the French lifestyle is they really appreciate the quality of the basics and refine those simple things into something really unique.”
Marine + Vine’s Tahitian Oil is contained in French glass screen-printed by hand in London. The sophisticated, yet beachy boxes have palm fronds and gold lettering. Monoi oil is the product’s hero ingredient. Under French law, it’s crafted in French Polynesia according to set standards. It results from infusing coconut oil with fresh Tiare or Tahitian gardenia flowers for at least 10 days with a minimum of 10 flowers per liter of refined coconut oil. In Marine + Vine’s formula, Monoi is paired with kukui nut, passionfruit and macadamia seed oils.
“Monoi at room temperature is solid. I wanted to achieve a better way of using it by making a dry body oil. It solves the problem of those oils that never truly absorb into the skin or feel really greasy,” says Ginossi. “I also wanted to amplify the tropical beauty of Monoi, and the tropical oils I added are high in omega fatty acids. They amplify the potency of any individual ingredient by working together to efficiently provide nutrients to the skin.”
The smell of Tahitian Oil was the hardest component to perfect. Ginossi ran into difficulties pinning down fragrance houses that would partner with a small brand and leave out phthalates, a class of ingredients often in perfumes to extend the life of the fragrance. Marine + Vine leaves out parabens, silicones, polyethylene glycols (PEGs), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and talc, too. After several months of searching, Ginossi landed on a French fragrance house that grasped the subtle tropical floral aroma she was trying to hit.
“Monoi at room temperature is solid. I wanted to achieve a better way of using it by making a dry body oil. It solves the problem of those oils that never truly absorb into the skin or feel really greasy.”
“What’s so alluring about the French lifestyle is they really appreciate the quality of the basics and refine those simple things into something really unique,” she says. “In the South of France, the best things are straight out of the ground: the melons, olives, almonds and tomatoes. They are all simple and wonderful, and they are appreciated. I would like to show people, not just the allure of the French Riviera, but the countryside and the old traditions that they have that are simple, but still very dynamic.”
Ginossi plans to expand Marine + Vine’s product portfolio with body-care merchandise centered on various ingredients from the region. She’s currently finishing two additional products, but decided to stick to a single stockkeeping unit at the outset to establish Marine + Vine’s voice. “I wanted to launch with one to get feedback and to be able to recalibrate and refine the upcoming products by incorporating that feedback,” says Ginossi. “It’s really meant to be the flagship product upon which everything else in the immediate future will be based on.”
Marine + Vine has entered Shen Beauty, Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and the resort Indian Springs Calistoga. For distribution as the brand is finding its footing, Ginossi is focused on hotels and spas locally in and around LA, and premium boutiques in key tourist markets. She remains a full-time lawyer and is balancing growing the brand with fulfilling the duties of her day job.
“I know how lucky I am in terms of having been able to travel around the world. I would never have envisioned my life would have been this way 10 years ago. I wanted to share what I could of what I’ve seen in France and what’s unique about it,” says Ginossi. “Starting Marine + Vine was definitely a passion project, but I’ve gotten almost obsessed with the science behind providing better skincare in this age where we’re going greener. I’m learning how to incorporate that to make better products.”