Meet Daniella Monet, actress, activist, and co-founder of Kinder Beauty Box, a cruelty-free and vegan beauty and lifestyle subscription box designed to offer a curated selection eco-conscious products to subscribers monthly.
Having made a name for herself in the entertainment industry with her role as Trina in Nickelodeon’s Victorious alongside cast members like Liz Gillies and Ariana Grande, Daniella has leaned into her passion for conscious and healthy living, while also tapping into her entrepreneurial spirit to work on a diverse portfolio of projects across multiple industries. Taking risks with each venture, and pouring her time and energy into projects that are aligned with her core values, Monet’s investments go far beyond financial motivation, and instead, are used to help build brands that exercise consciousness of humans, animals, and the Earth.
Her subscription service, Kinder Beauty Box, co-founded with actress Evanna Lynch (of Harry Potter fame), launched recently, with the first boxes being shipped out in January 2019. In addition, Kinder Beauty donates a portion of the proceeds from each box sold to animal rights groups.
I chatted with Daniella and asked her about everything from Kinder Beauty, to her investments, to growing out of her old roles to build something new.
THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN EDITED AND CONDENSED FOR BREVITY AND CLARITY.
What led you to start Kinder Beauty Box?
“Well, being that I’ve been vegan for nearly 20 years now, I think it was a much harder battle towards the beginning of living this lifestyle, and as I became more knowledgeable and started learning more about green beauty products and the industry, I just wanted to make it accessible. I know that that is a huge market of consumers, especially women, and I felt that it was the right place to hopefully make a dent, and if I could do that and just try to make it accessible and explain a little bit about what cruelty-free means while also keeping it fun and relatable.”
AND WHAT EXACTLY IS KINDER BEAUTY BOX FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW?
“Kinder Beauty Box is a cruelty-free, vegan, 100% palm oil-free subscription beauty box. The products in our boxes are pretty much 50/50 in terms of hair and makeup, and we try to include a minimum of 2-3 full size products, and then the rest are deluxe sample size products. We’ll also have, in the future, some add-on items that are a little bit more geared toward lifestyle, like candles that are soy or eco-friendly, and I also wanna include things that I actually enjoy in my home, like Palo Santo or even crystals, something that encourages that fun, but very open-minded environment.”
What’s the biggest challenge you had to overcome in terms of starting and growing Kinder Beauty Box?
“I think managing it all. I don’t think we realized how much work went into our relationships with our partners because we have such a vast array of brands that we’re working with, and maintaining where they’re all coming from and our fulfillment centre is out of Denver. Everything is very time-constricted because we’re a monthly subscription box, everything has to get to us by a certain time so we can have everything boxed properly and shipped in time. But everything has come together very organically and our subscribers have been very happy so far.”
What are some of your favourite products that have been in the kinder beauty box?
“I’m a huge fan of the 100% pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream; it’s something I’ve used for years and years and it was introduced to me on set because often times I would have a lot of bags or puffiness, and that was something I started using and loved, so to have that in our first box and have such a great positive reaction from our subscribers felt really full-circle for me. It was exactly what I sought out to do.”
You've invested in a few businesses you're passionate about. When did you decide to start investing?
“Growing up, I was always interested in business and I ended up getting my real estate license several years back, and then we bought our first property, and I thought I could do something with that down the line, but for now, I want to diversify what I invest my money in and a big thing for me is the vegan community. I was so fortunate to be approached by an old friend and colleague of mine, Dave Anderson, we worked at a restaurant together years ago, for me it was in between jobs before Victorious. I was on a little break and I really wanted to try out new experiences, so I went to work at this vegan restaurant and I worked under Chef Dave Anderson, who is a truly gifted chef, and years later he called me and said that he was interested in getting back into the space and we talked about what that looks like and this was about 3 and a half years ago. Since then, we’ve conceived what is now Outstanding Foods, and our first product is Pig Out Bacon Chips that are made of mushrooms, and that was the first time that I really got to see exactly how a business develops over time and it’s been a wild ride. It’s exciting because in the next few weeks, we’re actually gonna be in stores nationwide.”
What's the biggest thing you've learned from starting and running your business?
“Trust your gut. I remember when I first got into the stock market when I was around 16 years old, I had just bought my first luxury car, it was a used BMW, and I was so amped about it, and I purchased stock in BMW, and I purchased stock in Whole Foods because that was where I liked to shop, I purchased stock in Apple because that was the phone I had. I really just went with things that I connected to and what resonated with me and in turn, that became how I made my decisions and it’s really paid off.”
What tools do you use to stay organized with all of your projects?
“I live by my iCal, I put everything in there. My notes are not the most organized thing, but I love my notes in my phone, I’m constantly writing notes and then adding someone to my notes so we can keep track of things together. Outside of that, I always keep a notepad so I can jot things down and that’s been really helpful.”
What’s been the most defining moment of your career?
“The first thing that came to mind was being on Victorious and when that ended, I felt that initial fear. And, for me, the fear really drives me and opens up all of these new doors that I didn’t know were there. In a lot of industries, but especially in acting, the highs and the lows can become very stressful, and I learned to act on those and it gave me this drive and motivation that I didn’t even know I had.”
Do you ever have trouble disconnecting yourself from the characters you've played in terms of media reception and the notoriety that comes with it?
“Yeah, I guess so. I’m back in the auditioning game, and I don’t feel that it’s been blatantly in my face before where someone associated me with a past character, but I think I sometimes feel that way. I’ll be walking around and once in a while getting recognized, it’s mostly from Nickelodeon and Victorious, but it doesn’t really bother me because it was the last job that I did that was well-known. I’m okay with it because I feel like I left my mark on that generation and I can move on and do something I’m supposed to do, whether it be acting or something in the ethical entrepreneurship position.”
What big projects do you have planned for 2019?
“So, one of the other things I’ve been working on is that I invested in a restaurant that’s going to be opening on Melrose called Sugar Taco. It’s an all-vegan taqueria and we’re doing a really cool partnership where if you purchase a meal, we’re going to be planting a tree; certain meals will also enable you to donate a meal to a child in a third-world country that’s a vegan meal, which I think is really unique and different and we’re excited about that. I haven’t actually been in the restaurant business, I’ve only been on the other side as a waitress, so I’m projecting that there’s gonna be a few challenges and a lot of hard work, but I’m excited about it.”