- About The Founders
About The Founders
EMMANUEL REY, FOUNDER and CEO
The YUNI brand reflects the life journey of its guiding spirit, Emmanuel Rey. Armed with a degree in agricultural engineering, Emmanuel left his native France to work as a coffee and cocoa buyer in West Africa. Seeing an opportunity to empower farmers, he began teaching traditional small plantation growers how to produce bigger crops of premium quality products and how to negotiate for fair prices in the market. Leveraging his intimate knowledge of cocoa production, Emmanuel moved to the Netherlands to become a cocoa trader. His personal connection to the people and places behind the commodities gave him a unique perspective. The experience deepened his awareness of exploitative practices in worldwide markets and revealed an emerging opportunity to create products for people who were seeking ethically sourced goods.
French-born and one of nine siblings, Rey obtained a degree in engineering in agronomics (agricultural engineering). This technical academic expertise paired with social and political consciousness led Rey to Cameroon and The Ivory Coast, West Africa, where he worked as a cocoa and coffee-buyer in the bush. Rey began to develop his dedication to a win-win-win business model, starting by teaching traditional growers on their small plantations how to produce premium quality product more effectively, increasing the monetary value of their crops as well as empowering them as independent business-people. Rey then went on to the Netherlands to become a cocoa trader in the futures market, and the experience of working in the sphere of commodities sparked his growing interest in the need for ethical business practices in a rapidly expanding world marketplace.
After earning his MBA, Emmanuel began his career in the international beauty business. Searching for a way to use his beauty experience as a path to expressing his belief that ecological and profit goals are mutually achievable, Emmanuel joined Aveda. Quick rising to the position of Senior Vice President and General Manager for Aveda North America, Emmanuel was instrumental in developing Aveda into a natural, sustainable and profitable brand.
After leaving Aveda to focus on personal growth, Emmanuel intensified his long standing passion for yoga and became certified as an Ashtanga yoga teacher. His experience as a “yogi” gave him new insights regarding the needs of people who strive to make mindfulness a part of their active lifestyle and YUNI was born from those insights.
SUZANNE DAWSON, CO-FOUNDER
Born in India and transplanted to Australia as a child, Suzanne Dawson learned the struggles and rewards of starting over at an early age. That formative experience gave Suzanne the fearless confidence needed to become a successful beauty business entrepreneur and innovator.
Suzanne was an early advocate of natural remedies and self-healing through meditation. She developed her belief in the power of plant-based therapies into one of Australia’s first natural beauty brands, Enliven, which harnessed the transformative power of essential oils.
Her career path eventually led her to Aveda, which she launched in the Australian marketplace. Aveda’s natural, socially and economically responsible culture was a natural fit for Suzanne and she soon assumed a key leadership role in the organization, Vice President of Global Marketing and Innovation. Aveda also introduced her to Emmanuel Rey, her husband and YUNI’s cofounder.
Suzanne reconnected with Yoga that had been part of her early childhood, as a way to create more balance in her life during her time at Aveda. Her powerful example quickly converted her husband to the practice. Suzanne received her certification as an Ashtanga Yoga teacher after moving to Los Angeles. As it is for her husband, YUNI is a beautiful reflection of Suzanne’s values, her history in the beauty business and her passionate for living an active life.