Growing Success with Integrity and Consciousness


BY: Norah Machia
It was nearly five years ago that Monica Behan developed a skin cell nutrient system called Modicum, launching a specialty line of plant-based skin care products that reflected her passion for healthy living.

     Her brand name comes from the noun meaning “a small quantity of a particular thing, especially considered desirable or valuable.” The product line features Essential Serum, Essential Cleanser and Essential Exfoliant, along with Birch Tree Water Spritz, a face mist containing Astaxanthin (red algae) that provides extra protection against harmful UV ray exposure.

     After several years of hard work and dedication, Ms. Behan has firmly established herself in the world of beauty and wellness. The Modicum line of skin care products, which are produced in the north country, are being sold on Amazon throughout the United States and Europe.

     It was the face mist that recently caught the attention of several national and international publications and was featured in a Vogue article “Meet the New Face Mists That Do More for Your Skin.” Other publications highlighting her line include Goop, Rose Inc., Brit & Co., and A Little Bird.

     Her products focus on “cellular rejuvenation” and have strong anti-oxidant benefits, Ms. Behan said. For example, the birch tree water comes from the sap “that contains many nutrients, including magnesium, potassium and Vitamin C,” she said. “It works so well as an anti-oxidant because of its combination of minerals, amino acids, proteins and enzymes.”

     In fact, birch water has been growing in popularity as a health drink, she said. “If it’s good to ingest, then it’s good to splash on your face,” Ms. Behan added.

     Her company’s growth has taken several years, she noted. Many of her initial sales were made through inclusion in “beauty box” distributions nationwide, along with sales through her own website. Once the line of plant-based products was approved for sale on Amazon (after nearly a year-long review process), her sales quickly increased. She also decided to invest more of her budget in marketing, including hiring a publicist.

     “It’s challenging for any woman, or man, to start a business,” Ms. Behan said. “I’m really a bootstrap company with no outside funding, so I have to take a lot of time to decide where to allocate the money and grow the business.”

     Every business owner faces a constant struggle to determine the best investment of time and money, and what may or may not be considered a “gamble,” she said.

    “It takes time, but eventually, your company starts to sustain itself and then grow,” she said. “I think it’s so important that along the way, local business owners support each other.”

     Ms. Behan, who is also a strong advocate of sustainability, noted “it’s vital to think about the decisions we make, and how they affect our community and our planet. So, if we can use raw, organic ingredients, we eliminate the use of harmful pesticides.”

     Her strong belief in the natural healing powers of plants grew from her childhood. One of eight children, her mother was a strong believer in turning to nature to find healing resources, and the family seldom went to the doctor’s office. When her mother was diagnosed with cancer in her fifties, she adopted a lifestyle that focused on yoga and meditation, along with a vegetarian and macrobiotic diet, and “managed to get rid of her cancerous cells completely,” Ms. Behan said.

     Ms. Behan’s first passion, however, took her down a different path. After graduating from Watertown High School in 1982, she carved out a successful career in the music industry, writing for film and television, and even recording with labels such as RCA Records and Chrysalis Music Publishing.

   Her songs could be heard on several networks, including Fox, Lifetime, CBS, TNT and Disney. Ms. Behan also channeled her creativity into a fashion label, Goretti, a high-end women’s clothing line.

     Yet it was an accident that caused her to discover another creative outlet – developing products to help others heal. Ms. Behan was seriously injured in a snowmobiling accident several years ago after her motor sled plunged into a deep crevasse in the Canadian Rockies. The accident resulted in several broken bones and lacerations to her face, which she feared would have permanent nerve damage and scars.

     Although she was advised to have plastic surgery, Ms. Behan decided instead to experiment with creating her own restorative plant-based skin healing serum, after extensively researching plant chemistry. She worked diligently to find a combination of essential oils and chemical building blocks to help her skin rejuvenate naturally, with no scarring.

    Ms. Behan later hired a team of cosmetic chemists to refine the skin care products that would become the Modicum line, offering not only anti-aging benefits, but ingredients to treat skin conditions such as acne, scarring, eczema, burns and psoriasis.

     The product line is vegan and organic based, with a variety of nutrients designed for healing the skin, including Helichrysum oil, sea buckthorn berry oil, black cumin seed oil, rose dimiscu, sea kelp and aloe vera. They deliver large amounts of Vitamins C, E and A, carotenoids, Omega 3, 6 and 9, linoleic and oleic acid and manganese. The ingredients work as anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories and anti-bacterials.

     This past year, the company developed an Essential Serum marketed for men, and an insect repellant. New products being developed for this coming year include a sunscreen and a self-healing mask.

     “People want products that work for them, without harsh chemicals that can disrupt their endocrine systems,” she said. “Our products work, and they work from nature.”

  Learn more about Ms. Behan and Modicum by visiting