Happy Skin: A Partnership of Beauty and Expertise
Not new to the world of beauty, super forces Jacqe Yuengtian-Gutierrez and Rissa Mananquil-Trillo decided to team up to create Happy Skin, an original brand of skin-caring makeup.
At The Heart Of Happy Skin
“I always knew I wanted to be in this business of making women happy,” shares Jacqe who spearheaded developing global brands under personal care leader Unilever. “I remember how I always felt giddy when I got to talk to consumers, and they would tell me how a beauty product could made them feel confident, more beautiful, and more in control of their lives,” recalls Jacqe. “I would get a real sense of satisfaction and fulfillment when I heard such stories. So, I realized it was really my dream to create a brand of my own, one that will provide the best products that will excite people, make their lives happier and better!” And so, after nearly a decade in the beauty and personal care industry, Jacqe took a leap of faith and created Happy Skin, makeup that cares for the skin.
“Happy Skin is the first makeup line that offers an entire range of skin-caring makeup,” Jacqe proudly explains. “It was especially created for women who want to look naturally beautiful, but want to make sure that their skin is also cared for. It’s for women who don’t want to compromise on beauty!”
“For me, it’s really simple. I think good makeup should be easy to use, good for your skin, and should make you feel more beautiful,” Jacqe continues. “I’m a firm believer in good skincare and I don’t like compromising my skin because of the makeup that I use.” Jacqe expounds: “I’ve talked to a lot of women, and they’re scared to use makeup because they feel that it will harm their skin. So why not create a makeup line that actually cares for your skin, too?”
Sisters In Beauty
To give Happy Skin its wings, Jacqe partnered with one of the country’s top models, beauty columnist for national newspaper The Philippine Star, and former president of the Professional Models Association of the Philippines (PMAP), Rissa Mananquil-Trillo. With Rissa’s fifteen years of experience under her belt, this isn’t the first time Jacqe and Rissa worked together. Unknown to many, they built a close relationship when Rissa was asked to come onboard as consultant to skincare brand, Pond’s, which Jacqe was handling.
Recognizing the strength of their tried-and-tested tandem, Jacqe speaks highly of Rissa. “I may have devoted many years of my life in understanding how to make women feel beautiful, but I have partnered with Rissa who is an actual expert in beauty,” explains Jacqe. “She’s the first one I approached to try sample products. I very much respect Rissa’s expertise both as a model and a beauty columnist, and I knew she’d be able to understand if this was something that women would love. I was very ecstatic that she loved the products, so much so that she signed on to become my partner and joined me in creating Happy Skin.”
From Model Beauty
“What drew me in were the products,” explains Rissa. “I held the same standards I had for the products I recommended as a beauty columnist; it was important that the products were something I genuinely believed in and will use.” When Rissa first tried the samples, she felt they had so much potential. “With just more testing, reformulating, and tweaking, I saw future beauty award winners in them.”
“It has always been my dream to have my own makeup line,” Rissa shares. “Not the kind that merely attaches my name onto the packaging but the kind which allows me to be hands-on with creating, formulating, testing everything from the start.” She explains further: “What fueled this dream of mine was how hard it was to find good makeup for Filipinas when I first started modeling. Even as a beauty columnist, I always dreamed to create the perfect makeup line that would wonderfully celebrate and care for the skin.”
Making Skin Happy
Together, Jacqe and Rissa developed a brand like no other. Rissa explains: “I’ve been modeling for so many years here and abroad and I have had every imaginable makeup brand on my face. Many of them instantly prettify you, but the biggest beauty woe is going home with ruined skin.” She affirms: “Truly good makeup should be your ally—not your enemy—in making you look and feel more beautiful.”
To ensure this, Happy Skin products boast of the best skin-caring ingredients. “All Happy Skin products are infused with special skincare ingredients, such as Japanese tea leaf, cherry blossom, hyaluronic acid, and Argan oil, to name a few,” explains Jacqe. “All our key products are sourced and made in Japan because we recognize the importance of skincare in this beauty capital,” she says.
Multiplying the Happiness
Jacqe and Rissa are certain that they’re on the right path. As buzz of their beauty venture grows, they find themselves relishing the support of more and more people who believe in the vision of Happy Skin. Among the brand’s first fans were Erickson and Roxanne Farillas, the husband-and-wife tandem behind top Filipino retail brand Plains and Prints. Finding that Happy Skin was aligned with Plains and Prints’ own brand quest to make women look and feel beautiful, they gave the humble makeup brand a break and agreed to support Happy Skin and become its pilot distribution outlet.
When Happy Skin first launched last October 18, 2013, the brand started with merely five counters. In less than a month after its launch, local luxury department store Rustan’s and leading cosmetics hub Beauty Bar—under the helm of the Store Specialists Inc., which carries the franchise rights to distribute Saint Laurent, Gucci, Prada, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade, Gap, Old Navy, and Zara locally—asked to carry Happy Skin in their stores. In six months, the number of counters increased tenfold. When 2015 came, Happy Skin opened its first boutique in the famous beauty hall of Ayala Grand Mall inside Glorietta, a premier mall in the central business district of Makati. Today, Happy Skin has 14 stores and 80 beauty counters across the Philippines.
The Path To Happy Skin
Many women have developed a strong affinity towards Happy Skin and its products. Since its launch, Happy Skin has found its way into the kits and on the dressers of countless women. Bestsellers include the Zit Zapper Cream Silicone-Free Foundation and the Shut Up & Kiss Me Moisturizing Lippies and Moisturizing Matte Lippies—they sell over a 200 lippies a day!
“The response of women has been tremendous! To each of them, it boils down to finding a makeup brand that finally makes it easy to look beautiful without harming their skin,” explains Rissa of the brand’s quick rise up the modern Filipina’s consciousness.
“It really warms our hearts whenever we receive an email of heartfelt thanks as they were literally wowed with the Happy Skin product they bought and had to personally thank us,” shares Jacqe. “I’m particularly touched whenever they tell us that they’ve searched for so long for a makeup that will be good for their skin and how Happy Skin became the answer to their prayers. A lot of our happy consumers always tell us that they don’t breakout anymore and feel that they have healthier glowing skin after using our products. We’ve also noticed a lot of new makeup users trying our brand as their first foray into cosmetics.”
“We have patrons like Filipina television personality known as Queen of all Media, Kris Aquino, who loved the lippies so much that she collaborated with us to create her own lippie. Newscaster Karen Davila fell in love with our liquid eyeliner after wearing it during the typhoon Haiyan coverage and saw that it didn’t budge and lasted the entire day. Actress and host Lucy Torres-Gomez regularly buys Happy Skin products to give as gifts. Top lifestyle blogger Cecile Zamora of chuvaness.com personally loves the Second Skin Cream and we saw on social media that she actually made it part of her makeup kit. Actress, artist, and beauty icon Heart Evangelista-Escudero also chose Happy Skin for her first makeup collaboration,” says Jacqe.
Rissa explains, “The fact that these women, who have access to international makeup, are patrons of Happy Skin gives us that stamp of approval that we have been creating good makeup that is at par with world-renowned brands. Especially for a humble Filipino brand like ours, it really makes us so very proud and motivated to create more products.”
A global break came in late 2016 when iconic brand Disney chose to collaborate with Happy Skin on a limited edition makeup collection called Happy Skin X Disney. “We were very ecstatic and thrilled when Disney got in touch with us about the collaboration,” shares Jacqe. “It was truly heartwarming to know that our homegrown brand can play in the global field.” Rissa agrees: “There’s an onslaught of Disney collaborations around the world with brands like Kate Spade and Coach, and even with luxury brands like Gucci and Kenzo. When Disney approached us, I felt honored because it meant they trusted us.”
Happy Skin X Disney became so well-loved by Filipinas that a year’s worth of stock was sold and finished in Happy Skin stores and digital shelves within three months. This encouraged Happy Skin to collaborate again with Disney by creating a lip kit inspired by the live-action Beauty and the Beast. Happy Skin X Beauty and the Beast was launched in the middle of March 2017, and by the month’s end, 70% of the stocks that were meant to be sold until the end of the year were already gone.
In a span of three and a half years, Happy Skin has set up 14 stores and 80 beauty counters across the country, won 30 beauty awards from top fashion and beauty glossies, was awarded by online news giant Rappler as a brand leader in social media, was hailed by Ayala Malls as the Most Promising Retailer for 2015, and garnered Watsons Philippines’ award as the Most Promising New Cosmetic Brand for 2015.