In the competitive world of beauty and skincare, one may actually think twice before jumping into the bandwagon where the “no-makeup look” is becoming a trend among women in recent years. From facial skincare, to face slimming and contouring (without having to fake it with a mobile app), to eyelash perming, to eyebrow enhancing, to lip tinting, the list of services just goes on as more and more women want to spend less time on doing their routine makeup and just achieve a more natural look.
As an entrepreneur, whether you’re building a beauty name or skincare brand or a revolutionary piece of skincare or cosmetic technology, more often than not, the business model and the product (or service) always come first.
But getting those right is not easy.
And while we focus on these elements – regardless if we’re in the beauty industry or not – we have the tendency to forget on what really matters: the journey and pain points of our clients.
One particular lady CEO of a skin and beauty centre in the northern part of the Philippines has proven that she has what it takes to exemplify that a thriving business CAN have a heart.
In my recent interview with Jasmine “Mine” Punsalang-Cabral, CEO of Skin Desyre, I satisfied my own curiosity by asking what she looks for when screening potential franchisees or business partners.
“I’m pretty upfront with people who express their interest in availing of a franchise from Skin Desyre. At the onset, I must say that I might come across as someone who discourages them instead of the opposite. I immediately tell them that if they cannot be hands-on with the business, then being in a service-based business like ours might not be the ideal move for them.
Taking care of clients personally and not merely delegating all the work to my staff, no matter how well trained they are is something that I’ve proven to be one of the important factors that have kept us in the business for a decade now.
When a client walks in, we don’t simply ask her (or him – yes, we do have male clients, as well) what services she wants to avail and just proceed with it. We ask clients how they feel, and really take the time to know them on a personal level. They share with us their stories, their goals, their aspirations, frustrations and even their insecurities. “
And because I wanted to get to know entrepreneurs who are like Mine and how she thinks, I decided to dig a little deeper.
How did you get into the beauty business? Does it run in the family or was it something you envisioned when you were younger?
Mine: There are quite a number of entrepreneurs in the family. I had uncles and aunts who were entrepreneurs. My mother, who was a teacher, eventually became an entrepreneur herself and started a beauty clinic that was named after me.
I was inspired by her but I didn’t want to feel the pressure of being compared to her and how she does her work. I wanted to create my own path.
I paid attention to clues though. I remember back when I was in high school, a client walked into my mom’s clinic and being one of the “staff,” part of my job was to explain the clinic’s services. And because I’ve always enjoyed talking to people, it just felt natural for me to interact with clients without having to do too much convincing or hard-selling.
That day, the client told me that my way of talking at such a young age could take me places in the field of business. In other words, that day, she was convinced and ended up availing the services I explained to her.
As years passed though, the dream to work in a corporate environment was something I wanted to become a reality after I graduated from college. The corporate look, the high salary, the partying and going out with friends and coworkers eventually made me realize though that the void that could not be filled by any of these.
A friend made me realize this, and I just knew I could do more.
So, the moment my mom convinced me (for the umpteenth time) to take on the business at the clinic, I gave in.
This time though, I owned it. Not just literally. I made sure to bring my vision to life.
And even if my mom named the clinic after me, I registered it with a different name, because it was a vision for my bottom line.
I wanted the business to be about the people I cared about.
I wanted it to be for those who could hardly afford the existing expensive skin care products and services. Not just for the working class, but even for those stay-at-home moms who still want to feel confident about themselves.
When you decided to make this move, what were your struggles? Is there anything that you’d like to share especially to those who want to join the beauty business bandwagon?
Mine: Perhaps like any business that’s just starting out, one cannot describe it as something that’s smooth sailing. Far from it.
I started doing everything on my own. I had no staff. I was practically a one-woman show. I had to make sure that I opened the clinic every single day, whether or not a client calls in to set an appointment or not, whether somebody walks in or not.
I eventually hired an assistant just to keep me company. There were moments when I entertained the thought of closing the business. I was close to doing it on the 3rd year when my assistant suggested to wait it out a little longer.
So I did.
It didn’t take long when the clinic started to get consistent inquiries from employees from BPO companies within the area, asking if we were open at night or at wee hours in the morning. As they knew that my clinic was the only one that could accommodate during such hours, it became a period when we turned nights into days and vice versa.
It was then when regular clients started coming in. It was then that I realized that showing up consistently regardless of the circumstances has finally paid off.
Since then, I made sure the clinic was available for clients consistently.
How would you describe yourself as an entrepreneur? What traits do you have that you think have helped you in your journey?
Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, perhaps leadership was something I’ve imbibed and was able to carry on to my business. I say this because more than leading a team in my company and making sure our services are carried out according to the standards set, I also gravitate towards embracing accountability.
By that. I mean accountability towards both my staff, my franchisees, and my clients.
You’re now on your 10th year. Can you name at least one important milestone of Skin Desyre?
Perhaps more than reaching a decade and more than the growth and expansion of the company, we feel more fulfilled in the number smiles that we’ve put in our clients’ faces, as well as the confidence we’ve helped build through our services in order for our clients to achieve their personal goals – whether it’s helping them land on their dream job, start their business, start or (re)build relationships, or just make them feel good about themselves.