Anyone who has ever gotten to know our very own AJ Addae (@dropdeadaj) and all the incredible things she has accomplished in her career thus far, knows that she is a scientific powerhouse. Not only is she MULTI’s Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, but she is also a sought after cosmetic chemist, formulator, scientific researcher and founder of Sula Labs. AJ is a breath of fresh air that you can always rely on for honest input, low key high key hilarious messages in the group chat and incredible formulations.
We’ve got your professional background covered on the Founders page, but we know that our work does not define us. So tell us more about you. Who is AJ/Mal/Nina?
I'm AJ, and I'm a cat mom, Capricorn moon/Virgo rising, Solange stan, and born-&-raised-Texas cowgirl. Oh, and I own a cosmetic research & development lab.
Let’s get the business talk out of the way first. Why did you want to build a brand like MULTI?
Ah yes, the classic “technical cofounder story” - when Nina and Mal reached out to bring me onboard as a co-founder, we all agreed that there was an empty spot that needed to be fulfilled in the wellness and skin space - one that centers the experience of people of color through and through. My background is in clinical skin research, formulation, and experience design. "Connecting the dots" isn't just a tagline we came up with - it's the ethos that drives not only how we inform our conversations and imagery around wellness, but also our product pipeline and R&D process. I wanted to build this brand because this industry is headed toward a fresh, new direction in regards to creatively employing science education, redefining product development, and clinical testing. I try to focus less on “disrupting” an industry and more on focusing on the overlooked consumer, and letting the chips fall where they may.
Okay now for the fun stuff. What were you like as a kid?
I was always pretty introverted, a bit quirky, and a curious A student. I distinctly remember that when I was little, I would sleep with a dictionary under my pillow because I thought it would help me memorize more words. Outside of that though, I was a piano player, ran track (400m hehe), and was, as Lisa Guerra from Experiment puts it, chronically online. I suffered from a lot of breakouts and skin issues in my youth, and set out to find research-backed ways to tackle this, especially for my dark skin tone. Fun fact: I started a Wikihow series on DIY skincare formulations when I was 11 that collected over hundreds of thousands of readers.
What’s your go to comfort food?
Pad see ewe with tofu and no eggs. Every time.
What’s your current morning routine?
I get out of bed, do my skincare routine (sunscreen everyday), make myself a cup of tea or coffee, take some supplements, feed my cat, and listen to a podcast throughout all that. Then I get to work ☻
What is one habit you’ve created that has helped you grow as a person?
Honesty. Being honest with yourself, being honest with others about your capacity, and being honest about what you need with your loved ones. Some call me “unapologetically blunt”, but being honest with myself and others has helped me cut out all of the peripherals and laser-focus on what I value the most.
And lastly but very importantly, what makes you feel good?
Rest. Without a doubt, rest is always the answer – it recharges me every time. We need more of it, and I will INDULGEEEEE in a quick 10 minute break, ok?