Mirra Q&A: How this Fashion Model Co-Invented a Collagen Protein Bar to Stay Young
This week, we sat down with Jayla Harnwell, a model-turned-beauty entrepreneur to uncover the secret behind her glowing complexion.
What’s your background and what was your inspiration behind Kalumi?
My co-founder Chrissy and I met while modeling in Milan around 6 years ago. We really clicked because we both cared about health and fitness, and at the time, we were both dealing with health issues. Being a model requires you to travel all the time for work. We were both too busy to eat healthy food while traveling and felt like our poor nutrition and diet had taken a major toll on our hair and skin.
My mom is a naturopath and wrote one of the first vegan cookbooks. So, I kind of grew up with a strong emphasis on internal health. When I went back to Australia (my home country) a few years ago, she completely redid my diet and told me to up my collagen intake in the form of bone broth and powdered collagen. I couldn’t believe the difference it made on my skin and hair.
I let Chrissy in on my new obsession and got her to try it, too. Once we were both hooked, we knew we had to take collagen on the road with us. We quickly realized that traveling with bone broth and collagen powder was just too uncomfortable, so we started baking collagen-packed snacks for the road. We wanted our snacks to be super clean and natural, which is why we made our homemade bars with sweet potato and cashew butter. We wanted to feel satisfied with both the taste and how it made us feel.
Does collagen really work?
We know that it really works for us. And a lot of our customers have come back and said, “holy crap, the difference we’ve noticed in our skin and hair is amazing.” Our customers rave about how long their hair has grown, how strong their nails feel, the smoothing in their fine lines, and about their overall energy levels.
When you consume collagen, it promotes collagen synthesis within your body long-term. Because consuming collagen is a relatively new concept, we still don’t exactly understand how much you need to see results. Rather than making crazing claims, we call Kalumi a “beauty boost” and tend to stick to the success stories of our customers.
It’s important to note that the type of collage we use is the most easily absorbed by the body. We use 12 grams of wild-caught marine collagen, versus 1-2 grams of bovine or pig collagen often found in products from other brands. Not only is our source more pure, but because the marine collagen contains smaller particles, your body can absorb the collagen much easier.
At the end of the day, our bars have 15 grams of a pure source of protein. Just eating foods that contain high levels protein is going to be beneficial to you. Our bars also packed with antioxidants and healthy fats which help you absorb the collagen. They contain wholesome ingredients such as cocoa butter, cashew butter, sweet potato and organic yacon syrup, in addition to the hydrolyzed marine collage peptides. So everything really works together. Whether or not people say that collagen works when you eat it, we believe it does.
Do you need to eat the bars everyday to maintain the effects?
We suggest one a day because that’s what we do and love the results we see. Because each bar has so much collagen, even if you eat one bar three times a week, you’ll definitely notice a difference. We also want people to know this is a really healthy meal option when you’re on-the-go, beyond the beauty boosting benefits.
How long would you say someone would need to eat these bars to see a difference?
Honestly, it completely depends on the person. I didn’t notice results immediately with my hair, but I definitely did with my skin. It probably took 3 to 4 days to start seeing a glow and to get a handle on my breakouts.
I noticed results within about a month with my hair. After about a month, I was like, “Why do I look like I need a haircut again?” And now I need to go to the hairdresser on a monthly basis.
When did you launch?
We launched in January of this year with all three flavors: Sweetie Pie, Cocoa Kiss, and Lemon Love. The cool thing about our bars is they all sold completely evenly! Everybody seems to love the flavors the same.
What does Kalumi mean?
Kalumi is a made up name! At the beginning, we had another name we tried to trademark. We got denied, so we had two days to come up with a new name. So, we just made it up. Kalumi is a mixture of two greek words: Kalone (ideal physical and moral beauty) and lumi (illuminate).
What do you do to stay healthy?
About two years ago, I broke out in a rash all over my body. At the time, I was always eating the crappy food they had on set. One day would be pizza, the next would be cheeseburgers, the next pretzels. I just wasn’t paying attention to my health and needed to change up my diet.
It wasn’t until my skin became unbearably itchy that I really started looking into my diet. After my mom and I went over everything together, I decided to cut out gluten and dairy. And straight away, my rash completely cleared up and my skin was so much healthier. I have a really even complexion now, but before, that really wasn’t the case.
I’ve been completely gluten and dairy free for the past two years, and I try to stay away from anything that’s not natural. I actually hand-source everything that's in Kalumi because I’m so particular about getting ingredients from the best sources.
I used to love bread and pasta and I was like, “How am I going to give this up?” But now, I have no desire to eat gluten anymore. I also love working out and try to workout out at least 3 times a week. If my schedule is busy, I get up early and do a yoga tape.
Are there specific workouts you enjoy?
I usually go to the gym and do weights, but I like to mix it up. My boyfriend is a personal trainer and has taught me a lot about targeting different parts of my body. One day I’ll focus on my legs, the next day I’ll focus on my biceps, and the day after I’ll focus on my triceps and shoulders.
What’s your favorite makeup?
I’m obsessed with RMS beauty. And the founder, Rose Marie, is actually a good friend of mine. She puts her heart and soul in her products, and everything she uses is very natural. I love her uncover up, mascara and luminizer!
Do you have any advice to share with the Mirra community after being a model for the past few years?
I’ve honestly learned that less is more, even in the way that you dress. Natural beauty always makes you stand out and look beautiful. Even with makeup on set now -- it’s all very minimal and I think it’s just beautiful. Embrace embrace your natural beauty, and savor the fact that it’s unique to you.
Are there any challenges you’re facing with Kalumi?
It’s just me and Chrissy right now and we do 100 jobs with just two people. It can definitely get stressful and, sometimes, I feel like Kalumi is my whole life and that I don’t have time to do anything else.
When I got my dog, it helped a lot. It takes me out of my trance. I used to sit in front of my laptop from 7AM until 11PM at night and would forget to eat or do anything normal. Having a dog has helped me break out of that because I need to feed him, walk him and show him attention. It’s really reminded me to break out of the stress for a few hours.
Also, getting help from mentors has been really beneficial to me. I actually did a small workshop with a friend who does meditation. She helped me learn how to close my eyes and meditate for a bit. I try to do that once a day and it really helps put everything in perspective. Nurturing that mental aspect has helped me stay sane.
What is your favorite Kalumi bar?
They’re all completely even for me! The lemon is amazing in the morning and it’s a unique flavor. I think I’m favoring it a little bit at the moment.
What is your beauty routine?
I have a very simple routine. I literally only use shea butter to moisturize with, and argan oil to take off my makeup. I then use a coconut soapthat’s really, really gentle to cleanse my skin after my makeup is off.
I use a Shea moisture shampoo and conditioner for my hair. It’s super nourishing and hydrating. Being blonde, I struggle with dry, brittle hair so I find that this really helps to smooth it. I also try to do a coconut hair mask once a week. I’ll apply coconut oil to my strands and then put a plastic bag over my hair to let it all absorb.
What are your plans for the future?
We believe that the way you feel and look starts with what you put in your body. A lot of people don’t realize that it all starts within.
So, as a part of the next chapter of our company, we’re going to launch a lifestyle plan at the end of this year or early next year. Although we can’t go into too much detail on that yet, what we can say is that our mission is to create and support a community of girls who really care about health and beauty. Our goal is to support them during their individual journeys.
Oh - and we’re also launching a fourth bar early next year! The flavor is still a secret though 😉
Want to try the Kalumi bars? Use code "MIRRA20" at checkout for 20% your order!