Muri Muse: Ries Beauty Founder Megan Graham – Muri Lelu

Muri Muse: Ries Beauty Founder Megan Graham

Muri Muse: Megan Graham, Founder of Ries

First things first: Megan Graham is a woman after our own heart. 

Driven by insatiable wanderlust, Megan is the founder of Ries Beauty, a new brand that absolutely needs to be on your radar. Born out of the desire to create a better experience for People of Color who lacked reliable ways to travel with hair care products, Ries is the first collection of refillable travel beauty containers made from sustainable materials.

We recently caught up with Megan to talk travel hacks, tackling sustainability and the beauty of anthuriums in full bloom. 

Ries Beauty
Muri Lelu: For those who aren’t yet familiar with you or Ries, how would you introduce yourself and your work? 

Megan: Ries makes the only refillable, reusable travel-size bottle designed for beauty. We’re all about the freedom to take care - of yourself and the environment. Ries is the thoughtful way to be on the move with your beauty routine.

ML: Ries is disrupting the way we prioritize beauty-on-the-road by allowing us (especially POC) to take more of their products along with them. What inspired you to start the brand? 

Megan: I spent years traveling the world, working for brands like Vogue and Allure. But every time I'd pack my suitcase, I'd face the same issue: low quality bottles made of virgin plastic that were impossible to reuse or the haircare products I was using not available in a convenient travel size. 

Ries was born out of a need to travel with curly hair care products in a less wasteful, more functional way. But Ries isn’t just for hair care - it’s for everything from your body lotions to face cleansers.  
Megan Graham, Founder of Ries Beauty
ML: Your product offering is innovating the way that the beauty industry thinks about the travel category. There are SO many minis that, while useful, are also wasteful. Ries flips "throwaway" beauty on its head in favor of greater intention. How did you approach innovation when it came to building the product? What was that process of fine-tuning like?
Megan: For me, the process of creating a more sustainable product was answering the question of, “How do we do the most good?”
The beauty industry is responsible for 151 Billion pieces of single use plastic being produced every single year. It’s an incomprehensible number. When you realize that a third of all waste in landfills comes from the beauty industry, it’s both incomprehensible and really quite depressing. 
The idea with Ries was to take one bad actor in that industry - travel sizes and minis - and create something truly reusable and made from kinder materials (PCR.) We consulted with experts in raw materials, recycling and sustainable design to create the product you see on shelves today. It took many iterations over many years, but our goal is to continue to innovate on every aspect of The Essential Reusable Travel Bottle as new resources become available. 
ML: How does that conscientious and thoughtful approach carry over into your personal travel ethos? Do you stay mindful about issues such as sustainability or cultural impact while traveling? 

Megan: I’ve always been a bit of an urban hippie at heart, but a bit of a hypocritical one at that. Airline travel is not the most sustainable practice and I cringe sometimes at thinking at how many miles I’ve logged in my career. 

But it’s very important to remember that most climate issues are caused by large corporations and the oil and gas industries. Amazon’s carbon footprint alone is larger than the entire global airline industry combined. 

When I do travel, I prefer to stay in places for at least 7-10 days in order to integrate into my surroundings as much as possible. I tend to eschew AirBnbs and hotel chains, opting for payment-free home exchanges with like-minded travelers. It helps get a better sense of what inhabiting a city or town is really like and I tend to meet great neighbors and connect with more local vendors than I would otherwise.
Megan Graham, Founder of Ries
ML: The definition of self-care is, at its core, a well-rounded practice of replenishing the self. When you strip it all back, what do you consider essential acts of self-care? 

Megan: When I’m really taking care of myself, I’m starting my day with meditation (15 minutes is a sweet spot), spending time in nature (usually a daily walk) and taking an hour to immerse myself in whatever book I’m reading (currently Ashley Ford’s memoir Somebody’s Daughter.) 

Lately, and as an entrepreneur, it’s been a miracle if just one of those things happens during my day. 
ML: Favorite Flower? 

Megan: White lilies and red anthuriums are typically always in bloom somewhere around my house. The anthurium has become a bit of a recurring theme for Ries. 

ML: Most subversive thing you've done lately? 

Megan: There are so many ways in which starting a company in a capitalistic society is the least subversive thing possible ha!  But there is subversion in calling out the beauty industry for its contribution to climate change and wasteful practices while working to be a small part of the solution to those issues.


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