Designer. Creative Director. Founder. Melissa Medvedich wears many hats, but a consistency woven throughout her career shines beyond her impressive titles. Passion and the promise of innovation is evident across all of Medvedich’s work, and while many, after having reached a certain level of success, are content to rest on their laurels, Medvedich’s insatiable curiosity keeps her reaching for new heights. And she’s just getting started.
In a world where businesses need nothing but an Instagram handle to go viral and concepts can go from abstract to physical product overnight, thoughtful and considered goods are rare to come by. Medvedich takes an opposite approach. As the founder of Supernal, a botanically-based skincare line, she merges a deeply-held interest in beauty with her eye for design. The result is not only a beautifully-crafted collection, but a captivating and immersive lesson in what a small-batch, sustainable skincare can do for the health of our skin and that of the earth.
With this intention guiding her way, it’s no wonder Medvedich is adamant about introducing supportive, high-quality options to the vast world of skincare. And as is true for all beauty lovers, while there’s interest and intrigue to be garnered from products alone, fascination lies in the ritual and routine as well. Growing up in a Chinese household, Medvedich learned to honor her skin, watching as her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother applied their products with great care and aplomb. Curiosity quickly turned to passion, and the rest, as they say, is history in the making.
Always fascinated by the practices, habits, and lives of the women we admire, we spoke to Medvedich about pivoting her career from design to launching her own skincare brand, the morning routines that keep her grounded and focused, and how she cultivates a life of presence, joy, and inspiration. Grab a pen, you’ll want to take notes.
On aligning work with passion
Tell us about your company, Supernal. What led you to launch a purpose-driven brand?
When I reflect back on my career before Supernal, I feel unbelievably fortunate that I had the opportunity to work in design, a great love of mine. Before 2017, I had never freelanced or worked for myself. But after a few years of daydreaming and circling around the idea, I decided it was finally time to build my own business. Starting something related to my experience in design or creative direction seemed like the most logical transition — but when being completely honest with myself and imagining my dream company, I knew I wanted to pursue building a beauty brand.
I’d been curious about skincare since childhood. Over time and with the more I learned, it turned into another passion. Once I made the decision to transition careers, I went back to school to study botanical beauty formulating and became a certified aromatherapist. After a lot of experimentation over the years, I discovered botanically-based products were the most effective for my skin. I envisioned Supernal to be a tight edit of daily staples as my regimen had also become more minimal.
Trust is at the foundation of any business endeavor. With skincare, a customer is trusting you with their skin and helping someone care for their skin is truly an honor. I don’t ever take that trust for granted and it’s what motivates me daily.
After two years of dedicated research and development, and a lot of freelancing to help fund the business, Supernal was launched in 2019 with a single hero product, Cosmic Glow Oil. (Our second product, Illumine, launched last summer.)
Let’s get into Melissa Medvedich’s morning routine…
What does a typical day look like for you?
When I worked full-time in media, there was a publishing cycle that was relatively routine and semi-predictable. Supernal is still a very hands-on, family-run business and it’s been a nice change to have every day be a little different. I toggle between product production and research and development for future offerings to full days of admin and creative. This can range from operations and supply chain management to designing our weekly newsletter or doing brand photoshoots with my husband.
When do you wake up?
I usually wake up sometime between 7 and 7:15 and try to get 8 hours of sleep. Anything over 8 hours is hero-status. After getting out of bed, the first thing I do is hop in the shower, which helps fully wake me up.
What rituals set you up for success before jumping into the work day?
I really love my morning cup of coffee. I’ll organize my thoughts for the day while I’m savoring it. I drink one cup of coffee a day. Taking 15-20 minutes to enjoy it is a morning constant. I can be inconsistent with this practice, but I really believe in the benefits of meditation and the power of breathwork. I think a few minutes of either helps start the day off on a great note.
I recently had a virtual breathwork session with Nadia Josse who is amazing — I love her philosophy and approach. I’m also trying to get into a more regular habit of daily morning stretching.
Describe your morning beauty routine from start to finish.
I do a thorough double cleanse and some sort of facial massage in the evening. In the morning, I’ll just rinse my face off in the shower. We have an Aquasana shower filter and I’m not sure if it’s scientific or psychological, but I feel like I have noticed an improvement in skin and hair dryness since we switched over a few years ago.
The first product I apply to clean, moist skin is a facial mist. Right now, I’m using Biologique Recherche L’Eauxygenante, but I have used and loved Lesse Regeneration Mist, and Pratima also has a beautiful Ratrani Rose Replenishing Mist. Depending on how my skin is feeling, I’ll either mix together or layer Illumine and Cosmic Glow Oil. In the colder months, if I feel like my skin needs an extra level of protection from the weather, I’ll layer Cosmic Glow over Illumine and in the warmer months I’ll do a single layer of both mixed together.
If I’m going to be outside for extended periods I’ll add sunscreen as a final layer. I still haven’t found my perfect sunscreen yet, (I feel like they all turn on me eventually). But my friend Sofie Pavitt recently recommended iS Clinical Extreme Protect SPF 30. It’s next on my list to try.
What do you eat for breakfast?
This changes with the seasons, but generally I prefer warming foods for my first meal of the day. Sometimes, my grandmother will send me home with jook, which is a Chinese rice porridge that’s a favorite and a delight for breakfast. Lately, I’ve also been in a jammy eggs phase that I’ll have with a side of dinner leftovers, which is usually roasted potatoes or another roasted vegetable.
What do you always have on hand in the fridge?
Habanero Tabasco sauce and mangos.
What are your favorite books?
My favorite books are usually color-related with diagrams or photos. Interaction of Color by Josef Albers and An Atlas of Rare & Familiar Color are two faves. I have always loved to read and I go through phases where I’m in the mood for a fun, fiction beach read kind of book to a nonfiction book like Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, which is the last recreational book I read and really enjoyed. Since starting the business, most of my reading time has shifted to be more Supernal-centric and spans things like researching new ingredients to learning facial Gua Sha techniques.
What do you do every day to live with more presence and intention?
It’s a simple thing, but no work or devices during meals.
If you could pin your success down to one thing, what would it be?
Loved ones who believe in me.
What has been the most influential truth you’ve learned over the past year?
I’ve learned to be more adaptable and fluid in my thinking. Patience truly is a virtue.
Sentence Finishers With Melissa Medvedich
I never leave the house without: dental floss.
If there were more hours in the day, I would: learn to grow vegetables as I aspire to have a garden one day.
Healthiest morning habit: water with lemon.
Worst morning habit: scrolling instagram.
I always keep on my nightstand: Cosmic Glow Oil and a Gua Sha stone.
Bath or shower? Shower, but I would love to take more baths! I love a bath with Epsom salts and a few drops of an essential oil.
One thing I want to be known for is: kindness.
The one thing I fear the most: becoming stagnant.
When I feel that fear, I: find my breath.
The book I always recommend: An Atlas of Natural Beauty.
Three traits you need to succeed in life are: kindness, an open mind, and perseverance.