MEGA reached out to the bosses of some of the biggest beauty brands, bosses and influencers in the country to ask them how they’re coping with the current state of beauty in the Philippines, what the future holds for us, and if anyone is wearing lipstick under their mask.
Dr. Vicki Belo – Founder, CEO, and Medical Director, Belo Medical Group
“People over profit” was the simple answer that Dr. Vicki Belo gave when asked about the biggest learning she got from the pandemic. This guided her company’s key decisions during the community lockdown. While others were in a state of panic, Belo clinics were shut down early, employees were paid in full, and Dr. Belo involved herself with a group that prepared the global guidelines for the safe reopening of beauty clinics. Despite the current state of beauty in the Philippines, she remains optimistic.
“There’s never been anything like this before, so in order to survive, we need to adapt and we to do it well,” says Dr. Belo. On top of all the safety protocols, Belo also provided their personnel with hazmat suits and installed top-of-the-line air purifying system in their clinics.
“This pandemic has take a toll on everyone and I want to help people take care of themselves,” says Dr. Belo, citing a Kantar survey that states that the first thing people wanted to do after the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) was a beauty treatment.
With a business that requires the intimacy of touch, Belo knows full well that she has huge challenge ahead of her. Yet, thanks to her faith and her deep understanding of the beauty market, her outlook is still positive.
“In this pandemic, looking and feeling beautiful is part of the process of self-care. For some, it’s part of their healing. Doing what I do is like taking care of the soul of another person in another way. This is the reason we didn’t increase our prices despite all the money we spent to COVID-proof our clinics. Belo’s mission is not, first and foremost, to make money, but to make people feel better about themselves. As long as we are able to continue doing that, we feel fulfilled as a company. The money has always been a bonus, a welcome side-effect. A business must always remember its reason for being.”
Supriya Sing – Country Managing Director, L’Oreal Group Philippines
L’Oreal Philippines is reinforcing the truth that beauty will always remain as an essential part of ever person’s wellbeing. For her part, Supriya Singh emphasizes that beauty is the ideal form of self-expression and self-care because it is both inclusive and personal. “Beauty in the new normal has become a retreat, a form of self-care, and a temporary escape from the uncertainties brought by the pandemic,” she says.
The company carries on with its commitment to bringing Filipinos a personalized beauty experience even while staying at home. “We anticipate what our consumers might need next, create products and solutions that can address unique beauty needs, and make them easily accessible” Singh says. By being proactive and applying “Beauty Tech” at the heart of their plans, they are able to interconnect and create new experiences with their customers. They also launched L’Oreal’s Sustainability Goals, which seeks to create a shift in beauty consumption and prioritize environmental sustainability. “A significant part of our commitment is to be able to empower consumers to make informed choices and to engage our partners in our transformation process,” Singh shares.
In the Philippines and around the world, the state of beauty continues to expand, transcending race, culture, gender, and even religion even in the most difficult of times. “Beauty should only be based on the standards you set for yourself, because beauty is about you and what you need,” says Supriya.
Rissa Mananquil-Trillo, Co-Founder and Chief Brand officer, Happy Skin Cosmetics
Rissa Mananquil-Trillo is a pioneer in the skin-caring makeup initiative in the Philippines. For her, the relevance of indulgence through makeup has remained as more Filipinos find empowerment in physical and emotional care, especially now that the desire to feel better through small and affordable indulgences has amplified. The state of uncertainty that we are facing right now has put the leaders of the Philippine’s beauty industry in a pivotal role. “This pandemic is probably the greatest challenge of our lifetime. This is the war of our generation,” shares Mananquil-Trillo. “There is no playbook to guide us on the right thing to do. Not everyone will be infected by the virus, but everyone will be affected by it.”
With skincare and makeup injected in its DNA, Happy Skin has become a cult-favorite, homegrown brand. From multi-use products to face bases loaded with broad spectrum SPF and Japanese blue light shield technology, to color-adapting formulas and antibacterial ingredients, they make sure to weigh in and go beyond the needs of their consumers.
Happy Skin’s top-notch performance in the beauty scene has not only let it bag several beauty awards, but also earn them a major collaboration with one of the biggest companies in the world—Disney.
Dia Lacaba – Managing Director, Do Day Dream Philippines
Never caught without a plan, Dia Lacaba is optimistic about the future of beauty. Grounded with purpose in her strategy, Lacaba is employing creative solutions with their brands, with the intention of helping Filipinos lead their best lives.
Passionate about her work, Lacaba has no plans in stopping her pursuit of learning and exploring new things. From teaching an MBA class at the University of the Philippines to coming with up ingenious partnership vlogs such as Alex Gonzaga’s “Crash Lande On You” for SnailWhite.
Lacaba discloses that they are able to remain effective despite the pandemic and its effects on the state of beauty in the Philippines, because at the heart of their business is their people. “I guess it really underlined for me the importance of taking care of our people,” she reveals. “Today we’re a lot more confident that our business will remain afloat, and the whole team has worked very hard to make sure of this. I get the sense that because of this, people are more committed to doing their part to keep the company growing.”
Genevieve Jimenez-Yalung, General Manager Shiseido Philippines Corp.
Fast and flexible aren’t usually words used to describe a large brand, which is why so many found themselves vulnerable to the catastrophe that is COVID-19. Yet, Shiseido Philippines was able to move with the speed and efficacy of a nimble start-up company, coming out with ingenious and practical ways to keep business afloat.
“These are the times wherein your pre-set strategies all of a sudden become irrelevant because there is only one strategy that applies now—how fast can you change it (your strategy) in order for you to manage, cope, and get by,” says Yalung, who oversaw many of these creative solutions. For the company, the state of beauty in the Philippines was a challenge they were adamant to overcome.
The company accelerated digital plans for all their cosmetic brands and implemented the numerous safety protocols for their brick-and-mortar stores all in a matter of weeks. For all their efforts, e-commerce suddenly went from being a “small chunk in sales” to a “viable share of total business.” For Yalung, the speed and trajectory of their business plans were a longtime coming, and sees a “drastic change of focus” on digital sales and marketing.
“Consumers are very fast in adapting to these [changes] as they are mostly digital natives,” she says. “So, I think this is going to be a revolution in a way, something that is very much needed and something that is widely accepted.” While she admits that the virus and its effects on the industry are still ongoing, she has high hopes for the future. “Before the pandemic, beauty has evolved to be more global, vast, progressive, and highly associated with an individual’s sense of wellbeing,” she says. “Now, even in the middle of a crisis, consumers are… showing that they still find comfort and pleasure in a ‘pampering weekend,’ a spritz of perfume, or a swipe of lipstick.”
Sara Black – Photography, Meditation Coach, and Yoga Instructor
Pure and authentic are the two words that seamlessly describe the woman Sara Black is. With the many hats that she wears today as a successful creative, she is gracefully helping many to nurture their wellbeing by sharing her brand of integrated wellness of body, mind, and spirit.
With a click of camera, Black established herself in the industry with her methods of capturing the true and raw essence of beauty. Translating this into her other lines of work, she teaches how beauty comes from within us. “Beauty for me has always been the merging of the outer and inner. The lightness of being we seek correlates to the radiance we feel in our soul,” she says. Like many of her peers, Black has turned to the internet to connect and reach out to other people, conducting online meditation practice and yoga classes. Because of her efforts, she was able to cultivate a community of wellness and a state of beauty that so many desperately needed in the Philippines. “We’ve all been forced to turn inward and re-evaluate our priorities, what’s important to us, how we interact with others,” she says.
Sara Black is the light guiding the way during this difficult period as she teaches from a place of authenticity and intellectual knowledge. With her empowering attitude, it’s unquestionable that the world is en route to becoming brighter and kinder.
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