I Am Her: Mawy Conferido-Sapuay On Growing A Family Business

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Our “I Am Her” series features the female movers and shakers of the industry to learn how femininity and power coincide beautifully and seamlessly together.

With their cute packaging and eco-friendly products, Filipino beauty brand Hello Gorgeous won the hearts of beauty junkies in the Philippines. The brand’s trendsetting status was years in the making, but surprisingly for founder Mawy Conferido-Sapuay, delving into the beauty industry wasn’t something she was seriously into in the beginning. Read on as she reveals how she found her passion as she grew the business once started by her mum.

Fill in the blank: I’m a beauty entrepreneur and ______.

A modern mom.

What pushed you to start a business in the beauty industry?

Hello Gorgeous started back in 1998 as a day spa in Bulacan. Growing up, I saw how my mum built the business. Aside from sending me to makeup and beauty school, she brought me to beauty conventions and suppliers, who created new skincare and body care lines that were sold in our spa. I wasn’t really that interested until my brother died in 2016. Since all of our savings went to his medication, I wanted to help my mum earn money again. That’s when I thought of selling our products online and in bazaars as Skinline Essentials, which later on became Hello Gorgeous.

Was running your own beauty business in your plans before all these?

I was 16 when I attended my first beauty convention in Hong Kong. The interest was there but I wasn’t that serious at that time. Since I was the only girl in the family, obviously, I would be the one to inherit everything. Still, my mom was really a big influence on me and as I grew up, I learned to love cosmetics, too.

How was your life prior to the creation of your beauty brand?

Before Hello Gorgeous, I was a Senior Account Manager at a marketing agency that my family owns. I handled big accounts and worked closely with my boss, who’s my uncle. He’s the one who trained me and groomed me to be an entrepreneur and be ready for Hello Gorgeous. Our family pushes everyone to be an entrepreneur. So when I was ready, I resigned and focused on building Hello Gorgeous. 

How did you prepare for the establishment of your brand? 

Aside from continuously attending annual seminars and conventions, I’m also currently enrolled in a Certificate Marketing Course. To be honest, I never expected that it’s going to grow like this. When I was starting Hello Gorgeous, we didn’t really push marketing that much yet. I am proud to say that the number of likes and followers across all our social media platforms grew organically and I wanted it to remain that way. Bloggers, celebrities, online magazines, and TV channels who wanted to feature us started messaging us and it all started there. But now, of course, there are a lot of other local cosmetics brands here and there so we have to be aggressive in marketing the brand. 

What made you move and rebrand from Skinline Essentials to Hello Gorgeous?

We’ve seen that the big chunk of our consumers are teens and young professionals. So from Skinline Essentials, we rebranded to Hello Gorgeous and offered trendsetting, easy-on-the-pocket, and eco-conscious cosmetics.

How do you keep up with the latest beauty trends?

I keep up by attending conventions in different countries. During these conventions, you learn what the next beauty trend for the following year will be. Also, your suppliers will help you develop your product based on what is trending in the market today.

Do you plan on producing other non-beauty-related products or delving into other types of businesses?

I’m actually back in the marketing agency where I worked before because it's my first love. Aside from that, my husband and I have a fleet of cars for a transport network vehicle system.

How do you manage your businesses and being a mum?

It’s all about time management and priorities. If you love what you are doing, everything will be easy. Work doesn’t feel like it’s work because you are passionate about what you do and you enjoy it! 

Share with us your five Clozette essentials. 

My Hello Gorgeous makeup kit, a big bag that could fit all my stuff (and my kids’ stuff), a pair of comfortable flat shoes, my phone, and my laptop are my life!

Can you give us a beauty advice?

Don’t skip your skin care routine. Always remove your make up before going to bed. Feed your skin with moisturiser. Lastly, lashes will always make you look pretty!

What's next for Hello Gorgeous?

We are focusing on our makeup line this last quarter of the year and we’re making Hello Gorgeous available nationwide and worldwide through our Beauty Bosses.

This interview was edited for brevity and clarity.

(Cover photo from: @mawysapuay)

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