Daniela Mellis gives the most amazing facial treatments and is also the founder of beauty brand Voyage Organics and CBD infused oils Ooona Berlin. Interview.
Interview with their founder, Daniela Mellis, facialist, entrepreneur and mum of 4!
Where are your roots? Where did you grow up?
My roots have always been in Berlin somehow. My father and his side of the family are Berlin natives and although I wasn’t born here (unfortunately) I spend a lot of time here during school holidays visiting grandma and my aunt. I always had this idea to move (back) to Berlin when I’d be old enough to do so and I did, eventually.
My other Grandmother, whom I was very very close with and who had a huge impact on me is from a rural area in the middle of Germany and that’s where I was born and grew up. Small town life, which I hated and which didn’t sit well with me. That’s why I had to go explore the world early on and I applied to become an exchange student visiting a High School near Chicago when I was 15. Mind you this was before Skype, instagram, whatsapp, etc etc so it was a different world which looking back was the most important year of me growing up. And I did to see Michael Jordan and some Chicago Bulls games. And its quite fascinating that I can still score some Brownie points with my youngest sons telling them about seeing Michael Jordan play back then.
Please share a smell, taste, sound or memory from your childhood
Although I really did not like small town living I have strong memories of my Grandmother and her flower and vegetable and fruit garden. She really had a green thumb and there were Raspberry bushes, Apple trees, Pear trees, Plum trees, Cherry trees, Strawberries, Blueberries, Gooseberries - oh those I can even smell and „taste“ thinking back!
What makes you feel alive?
Travel. To certain places. I like to revisit places I love over and over again. So I am not a big explorer. But I love visiting places that move me on an emotional or a spiritual level I guess. My husband just told my two youngest sons the other day - when I was having one of those tearful Corona breakdowns that everyone seems to have these days - that Mommy rarely cries. That he actually only sees my crying when we have to leave LA. Or when I think of LA on days when I miss „my“ LA so much. So how do I get from you asking me what makes me feel alive? Emotions I guess. Positive and negative.
Positive emotions clearly connect me to places that spark immense joy. And I do believe that you might be spiritually connected to places other than the town you might live. When I boarded my very first plane to LA and the pilot did his little welcome on board speech I had goosebumps all over when he said „Los Angeles“. Can you believe that? Never been there before. I always cry when we approach LA. So emotions and experiences - preferably good ones -make me feel alive. Feeling like you can do anything you want makes me feel alive. That’s like a mental orgasm. That’s when my magic happens. That's usually also when I come up with great ideas.
You are living in Berlin, what do you love or hate in Berlin?
I love the history. The diverse neighborhoods. The buildings. The vibe. But those can also be the things I dislike most as well. Depends on my mood. Depends on the situation. Berlin is a love/hate relationship. Pretty much like any relationship I guess. There is good and bad. But the best thing really is that Berlin allows you to be whoever you want to be. No judgment given.
It was the city where I came back to life after a very ugly divorce (in a small town) with too much gossip and too much narrow mindedness and being a single Mom here in Berlin was no big deal at all so I will be forever grateful for that. At that time it felt like Berlin was providing me with a huge blanket of comfort back then. (Might need to say that I am 48 years old and I have two sons, 19 and 20 from a first marriage, sons no.3 and 4. who are now 9 and 7 are from my husband whom I also met in Berlin.)
What are your favorite beauty spots in Berlin?
Daluma for breakfast, juices and coffee
You have four boys - did you dream of a big family?
Kind of yes, although I never thought about having four in total and about having four boys. But it’s amazing. They are all so very different and it's great to see how they turn into personalities of their very own.
What did motherhood bring you?
The courage to put myself first. Isn’t that crazy to say? But it is, on another level. Time is so rare so unless you want to waste it and turn frustrated (especially when your kids leave the house) you have to make yourself a priority (too). I think French women know exactly what I mean and one of the best books I have ever read on motherhood and family is „Permission to parent“ by a French author whom I’d have to look up now. But so mind opening.
Another thing parenthood brought me is resilience.
Kind of important to have that, not only as a parent, but in life in general.
Where/how do you find some peace/healing when it goes too fast?
Books. There are books that I pick up that I have read so many times and you turn to a page and then this one sentence grabs your attention and it (whatever it is then) makes so much sense.
Music. I need to get the family out because I have some strange music taste (in some people's view). Or I sometimes get up at night listening to music in solitude. As I know you will ask. Bob Dylan. (And Bob Dylan. And Bob Dylan) Simon and Garfunkel. Joni Mitchell. Nina Simon. Chet Baker. Miles Davis. Till Brönner - a local. Coldplay. John Mayer.
Water. I would always choose a vacation at the ocean over anything else. Needs to be warm, like tropical war, sunny, lush. If I can’t do that (as in 350 days of the year) the shower has to do. So I am using a lot of different essential oils to spice up my shower steam. A little Neroli or Sweet Orange or Lime do wonders to one's mood!
Friends. A call with one of the girls is sometimes all it takes.
You started as an editor. How did you start your activity as a facialist?
I felt skin is such a great medium to connect to people and it helps me dig a little deeper than by just giving advice on what to use. When you (as a therapist) touch skin, it will sometimes tell you a completely different story that its „owner“ would.
Also, I felt that so many facialists out there are doing „just a job“, as in just a routine. But having a treatment could and should be so much more. I wanted to provide skin care (in the deepest meaning) not by performing a routine of applying different products and talking about the weather. I wanted to provide skin and soul care. I wanted to offer a time out. I wanted to create the best place for me-time. Plus there are so many great techniques that not many people are using these days: Kobio massage, Gua Sha, facial cupping and lymphatic drainage. Basically a great skin therapist only needs her hands (maybe a little tool or two) and a couple of great products. Sometimes all I need is the right oil (and my hands).
How did you launch your beauty products collection? How did you source the beautiful oils from the VOYAGE range?
I have started with a less is more approach in my very own life. At one point there was just too much of everything. Not that it was too much to juggle, it definitely didn’t spark any joy any longer. Too much travel. Too much stuff. Too much of this, too much of that. So I stopped traveling for a while. I stopped consuming. I stopped maintaining relationships to people I didn’t feel connected to. This led to a very clear life. And of course this couldn’t stop at my bathroom shelf. Y
ou know with food we have come to understand that less is way more. Especially when that less is of the highest possible quality. With skincare it could (and should) be the same. Take one really great oil for instance. You will know where it’s from and how it's been processed. Then you have this cold pressed, organic oil from certified organic agriculture that is full of the good stuff. No added chemicals. No added anything. You will feel what it does to your skin. You will see what an impact the right ingredient has.
So basically I wanted to create a brand that is like an Avocado bread (to give an example). Plain and basic but so good and if done with the best ingredients, so good for you.
Tell us more about the CBD products. How are you personally using them?
Well, again, I think sometimes it is best to work on something that has a personal need and use. I have been suffering from headaches since very early on. I remember having headaches quite bad when I was 12, 13. Those turned into migraines in my twenties. And I did find ways to manage them - no alcohol, less sugar, relaxation techniques, etc etc but they were never gone. And of course there are times when you can’t micromanage your life to avoid stressful situations and bam, migraine is back and the only way to get rid of it is to take very heavy heavy migraine medications.
When I started using CBD (I noticed the whole world of hemp in LA a few years back) and did some research and talked to people producing CBD (I source mine from a small woman run company in Switzerland) I learned so much about this medical plant and how it can really improve daily lives and especially women’s health, but the best of course was noticing that after like 35 years of headaches and migraines mine were gone - by using CBD.
It didn’t happen overnight and I did need to find my personal dosage, and I had to learn that it's so important to use it daily to provide enough phytocannabinoid stimuli for your in-build endocannabinoid system to regulate stress levels.
And I could go on and on about CBD and its benefits and maybe this needs to be a complete separate interview, but women DO NOT REALIZE that there is a plant out there to help us regulate stress, pain, PMS, mood swings, anxiety, sleep and so much more. I need to stop here otherwise I will go on and on about the Pharma industry and about (male) society not wanting us women to experience their best selves, so let’s stop it for now. But read up on it if you are intrigued! And try it! Please!
Which skin types could benefit from CBD oils?
Skin that is inflamed. Which could be skin prone to breakouts, acne skin, skin suffering from rosacea. It also offers topical relief if skin is itching or if you want to soothe tired and overworked muscles.
What is your most exciting project today?