Mars Abesamis Balajadia: The Multi-Industry Mogul With Big Dreams
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Mars Abesamis Balajadia: The Multi-Industry Mogul With Big Dreams

Mars Abesamis Balajadia: The Multi-Industry Mogul With Big Dreams

Business & Career | June 13, 2022
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From beauty to food, fitness, real estate, and more, Mars Abesamis Balajadia shares how she successfully turned her passions into a business.

Mars Abesamis Balajadia is into the business of passion. Every project she pours herself into is an extension of who she is and what she likes. Currently, she sits as the Vice President and COO of DM Co., which houses businesses like Mecca Aesthetic Clinic and Spa, Stoned Steaks, Ponce Tapas and Wine, Mines View Park Hotel in Baguio, The 3rd Fitness Lab, and Onward Realty Inc (Leasing).

From her love for beauty to her love of travel, there is no shortage of inspiration for Mars.

Beauty for Everyone

Mecca Aesthetic Clinic and Spa operated as a spa for its first three years but soon expanded as an aesthetic clinic— offering non-invasive to minimally-invasive machine treatments, injectables, and facial services. “I have always been very much interested in the beauty and wellness industry,” Mars began. “[But] I saw that there were a lot of young people who have beauty concerns but are intimidated to seek help from bigger clinics.”

Thus, she describes Mecca as a “beauty paradise for the younger generation.” With its chic and laid-back interiors—dressed in champagne and pink-colored sofas, palm trees, and duvet-covered beds—everything is made to feel like a vacation.

Ever since the expansion of Mecca’s services, Mars believes that they are now the ideal place for go-getters and busy bees to receive everything they need—all in one place. “I find that making people feel good about themselves, whether physically, emotionally, or psychologically, is a job that is very fulfilling.”

From Travel to Food

Stoned Steaks and Ponce Tapas and Wine, on the other hand, came about because of her and her husband’s travels. “Dick and I have always loved traveling. We enjoy exploring new destinations and learning about their culture, especially through gastronomic experiences.”

Mars finds excitement in bringing in new food concepts and dishes to the country—giving people the same experience they had, even with just one bite. Stone Steaks, in particular, was inspired by a cruise they experienced. “We thought that cooking your own steak on a lava rock was a different, but [a] nice experience to eat steaks.”

Stoned Steaks, as the name implies, is a restaurant that has to be experienced—further enhanced by premium cuts of meat that won’t put holes in people’s pockets. Their proof of success? They’re now in the process of opening their third branch.

Meanwhile, Ponce was inspired by their trips to Barcelona. “We saw that there aren’t many Spanish restaurants where people can wine and dine in Quezon City and saw the opportunity to open one there,“ Mars explains.

Ponce brings Spain to local palates with its delicious tapas, paellas, sangria, and their best-selling cochinillo. Nice and cozy interiors add a sweet atmosphere to the entire location, making it perfect for casual hangouts, a nice dinner, or for those seeking a few drinks after work. The space transforms into a wine and sangria bar with live DJs on weekends and into an intimate event space for special occasions.

Working Hard and Working Smart

Despite Mars’ business concepts coming from industries she already had particular interests in, none of it will mean anything unless she puts in the work. “Dick and I both took up an executive course at Kellogg Northwestern University in Chicago,” she shares proudly.

For Mecca, she took up aesthetic courses in the US, Singapore, and South Korea to learn about the latest innovations in the industry, while her husband just graduated from OPM Harvard University. “We value continuous education and we always share what we learn with our team.” They’ve since partnered with Lifekite—a mentorship company—and continue to give back through educational seminars and deep dives every quarter.

I believe in working hard and working smart but I also believe in resting,” she opines. With her many spinning plates, Mars’ weekends are reserved for family. “Dick and I agreed—no work on Saturdays and Sundays. Weekends are for family bonding, like watching movies, getting massages, dining out, playing sports, and just having fun.”

Mars on Achieving a Good Work-Life Balance

Travel is also often on the menu—allowing for a longer period of rest and relaxation—so she can come back feeling refreshed, energized, and inspired. “Walking on cobblestones, exploring alleyways, gazing at the beautiful historical structures, or just sitting in a coffee shop while people-watching are some of the things I enjoy doing.”

The beach is another place of solace. “I like wasting the day away watching the sunset, listening to the sound of the waves, and maybe sipping on an Aperol spritz.” Interior design is another long-time interest of hers, which led her to take a course with the Interior Design Institute during her free time.

Looking at everything she has achieved, Mars believes that if you work hard and work smart, there is no dream too big. “There will be plenty of bumps along the way but that is how you learn. Businesses, like people, come and go. When in doubt, seek help. Ask questions. Get a mentor,” she advises.

She cites a line that deeply resonated with her during her husband’s OPM graduation from Harvard: “Make a decent profit, decently. At the end of the day, you have to be able to tell yourself that you did whatever it takes without hurting other people and without compromising your values.”

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Pinky is the President and CEO of Progressive Laboratories, Qualibet Testing Services Corp. and KPP Powers Commodities. A chemist by profession, she is also the President of the Association of the Bureau of Animal Industry Registered Companies and Recognized Testing Laboratories (ABAIL). A humanitarian at heart, Pinky hosts a weekly online show called Grateful Tuesdays. On top of all this, she is also a wife and a mother of two.
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