Growing up as someone “kikay” helped Anne Barretto develop an appreciation for the beauty industry, which gave rise to Hey Pretty.
All industries have suffered, no thanks to the ongoing pandemic, and one of the most affected is undoubtedly the beauty industry. Even with social distancing measures in place, many beauty-related establishments have been repeatedly forced to close their doors whenever quarantine restrictions would change—adding to their struggles.
Despite these hardships, there are still businesses in the beauty industry that remained standing for more than a year and a half. One of which is Hey Pretty, a business started by a self-professed “kikay” who has been carrying her company through the storms of the pandemic.
All eyes are now on Anne Barretto, CEO of LGB Aesthetic Center Opc, as she tells us about her love for beauty, how she got into the industry, and the importance of keeping your mission and vision in sight despite the ugliest of times.
A Kikay Who Wanted to Be Part of the Beauty Industry
Anne Barretto, in her own words, is a kikay and she has been one for as long as can remember. In her words, she has always been “really passionate about health and beauty, even when I was little.”
Anne has always dreamt of being part of the beauty and wellness industry. “ It has been my passion for the longest time. That’s why when an opportunity arose back in 2018, I left my well-paying job and opened my first Aesthetic Clinic in Tomas Morato,” she shares.
When Anne got started, her clinic only had two rooms, as well as two staff members. She describes it as relatively small, but it was a start nonetheless to reaching her dreams.
Making Beauty for Everyone
To date, Anne is the CEO of LGB Aesthetic Center Opc—with Hey Pretty Aesthetic Center under its helm. Already at a strong 15 branches strong nationwide, Hey Pretty has been guided by Anne’s belief: that quality beauty enhancement services should be available for everyone.
“I didn’t come from a well-off family and growing up, [and] I’ve always felt that there isn’t much option for regular people like myself when it comes to beauty and wellness,” Anne shares wistfully.
This, according to her, is what pushed her to make sure that Hey Pretty offers top-quality yet affordable beauty enhancement services for everyone. Likewise, she says that she’s always envisioned Hey Pretty to be the ultimate go-to destination for anyone looking toexude confidence through natural beauty.
Anne also notes that the beauty industry is more inclusive now than it was a few years ago, which she considers as a win for everyone. Despite that, she knows that there is still a notion that the beauty industry is only for celebrities or the affluent in society.
And she wants to change that. “We at Hey Pretty would like to break that stigma by providing high quality but affordable beauty enhancement services to each and everyone,” she says confidently.
The Ugliness of the Pandemic
The pandemic has been very difficult for businesses and Hey Pretty is no exception to that. There has been a lot of sadness, darkness, and ugliness in life since the pandemic started. And Anne herself has witnessed that—both personally and professionally.
“It was not easy for me personally… realizing that things are not going back to the way they were is a hard pill to swallow,” Anne admits. She even adds that she has lost people whom she knows—both family and friends—in this past year and a half alone.
As for her business, the community quarantine and social distancing measures put in place meant people were not allowed to leave their homes. Thus, businesses were forced to close temporarily or close down altogether. And since many beauty-related services require close contact, regulations have been particularly hard on businesses offering them, too.
“Nobody was really prepared for it,” Anne points out. “For a long period of time, our clinics weren’t able to operate and we had to close our doors to our clients.” That lasted for about three months during the first lockdown before Hey Pretty was allowed to operate at a limited capacity.
But a couple of lockdowns, community quarantine restrictions, and alert levels later, Hey Pretty is now backand operating at a limited capacity once more.
Anne Barretto on What Real Beauty Is
Despite the ugly times that the pandemic has caused, it really hasn’t changed Anne’s mission and vision for her business. Likewise, it hasn’t changed her perception about what beauty is either.
“I believe that beauty doesn’t only account for the things that we see from the outside,” says Anne. “Confidence, kindness, happiness, and passion make a person beautiful. And being able to extend those qualities to others is what I believe is what defines beauty.”
What’s more, Anne says that she finds that definition of beauty truer now more than ever. “The pandemic caused a lot of struggles for all of us,” she says.
She also explains that seeing so many people help one another during the pandemic proved to her that beauty goes beyond physical appearances. And she was able to extend this kind of beauty to other people—particularly to her employees—by helping them with their finances even though they have all been affected by the pandemic, herself included.
The Beauty of Dreaming and Moving Forward
Though there is light at the end of the tunnel, the pandemic is still around, which meant that Anne and her team still had to adapt to the changes that it imposed on everyone.
“As the saying goes, the only constant in this world is change,” she shares. “And the first step to moving forward to such change is acceptance. I’ve accepted the fact that I had to deal with such change and I’m just grateful that I have a great support system with my family and my team.”
Until now, Anne and her team are dealing with things as they are. Moreover, they’ve been making appropriate adjustments where needed. One of the solutions that they came up with to solve the temporary closing of their clinics is called “Hey Pretty on Wheels,” which brings their services to customers instead of having them come to the clinics.
Of course, both the management and the staff make sure to follow the health protocols of the government. For instance, all staff members have to be fully vaccinated before they are allowed to return to work.
While some might feel that the pandemic isn’t a good time to open or expand a business, Anne and her team are gearing up for the opening of Hey Pretty Skin, which will launch before the year ends.
Words of Advice from Anne Barretto
The pandemic might be difficult and unprecedented, but given the fact that Hey Pretty is still here, Anne believes they have done a good job. “I’m just happy that things are getting better for everyone, restrictions are easing up and I’m really hopeful that we will see the end of this pandemic real soon,” she says.
With her company’s mission and vision and her own dreams still firmly planted in her mind, Anne Barretto is ready to move forward with a grateful heart and all the lessons she has learned during the pandemic. “The fact that I am here today—talking to you about myself, my family, and my business—only shows how fortunate I am and that fills me with gratitude for life, for my family, and for everything that I have,” she explains.
She adds that the pandemic has also taught her the importance of saving money—because not only did it help her take care of her family, it also enabled her to take care of her employees.
If there are lessons of her own that she wishes to share with aspiring entrepreneurs and those who want to be a part of the industry, one of which is to hold on to your passion as your life depended on it. “When the opportunity to do something you love and something you’re passionate about knocks on your door, grab it and never let go,” Anne ends with a smile. “If you do what you love, you can be certain that success will follow afterward.”
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