I Am Her: Nina Ellaine Dizon-Cabrera On Being A Boss Babe

...and how her passion for beauty became a booming brand

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.

Being a beauty lover is one thing. But transforming that passion into creating your own brand to cater to those who love it as much as you do takes a lot of vision, hard work and spunk. Just take it from Nina Ellaine Dizon-Cabrera, founder of Colourette Cosmetics. Describing the birth of her brand as a spur of the moment challenge she decided to take head-on, we chat with Nina about what it's like to do what you love on the daily and how to be a Boss Babe (a term used to describe Colourette fans and brand ambassadors) in today's competitive beauty industry.

Fill in the blank: I am a beauty lover, an entrepreneur, and a __________. 

I am a beauty lover, an entrepreneur and a Boss Babe who doesn’t give up. 

Why did you choose to venture into the beauty industry?

[To be honest,] this wasn’t planned at all. My first real business was F and F Skin Products and two years later, we [gave] life to Colourette. I always say this: Colourette was more of a spur of the moment [decision]. I reached a point wherein I can no longer find makeup in the market that’s suited for my need so I decided to challenge myself and try and create my own, a makeup brand that’s made for Filipinas.

Your brand Colourette Cosmetics really changed the landscape for local beauty brands. Did you envision this to happen or was it a positively overwhelming experience to you both as a beauty lover and an entrepreneur? 

Nothing was really expected from Colourette during that time as I only thought to start with lipsticks that understand what our normal routine is, what kinds of food we eat and the burning question: will it withstand our day? We first came out with Coloursticks and got positive feedback. From then on [we've] incorporated more things into our product development process like [answering the questions] what shades are universally flattering, are these affordable to the average Filipina, is this something that my peers and myself would wear on the daily? Does it fill in the gaps in the beauty industry? Up to this day, we are still really overwhelmed with all the love and support that we get from our Boss Babes.

What is your favourite part of the production process?

Wow, this one’s a hard question since I’m heavily involved in all of [them]. I love conceptualisation because we get to brainstorm about a lot of things — colours, formula, finish, function and then we tailor cut the future product according to what we think our consumers would like the best. Testing is another story. It can get a little bit frustrating and exhausting at times when you can’t achieve the exact thing you’re going for but once you achieve that, the feeling is comparable to winning the lottery.

Still, I gotta say that my most favourite part of it all is when I get to introduce the product my team and I have worked so hard for to our Boss Babes. I always look forward to seeing their faces when they unbox and try it for the very first time because I know how much thought and work has been put into that single product.

What are the challenges that you faced along the way and how did you overcome them?

I feel like our greatest strength would be our authenticity. We didn’t try to be anyone else, we didn’t portray ourselves as high end, foreign, imported, etc. Our marketing angle was simple: we’re in the Philippines, we are a local brand, here are makeup products we’ve specially formulated for you — a Filipina. The greatest challenge up to this point is still the fact that we are a start-up brand, which basically means we have to work twice as hard to get our name out in the market, to get stores to notice us and eventually display us in their aisles. It takes us extra effort for consumers to even bat an eye when we launch new products because who are we anyway? We’re just a small brand. But I must say that this doesn’t discourage us in any way and even gives us more fuel to work harder and with even more dedication.

What are your Clozette essentials?

Well, of course, makeup is number one. I just need a good old lipstick or a Colourtint, a light coverage foundation and concealer and an eyebrow product. Plus, you have to have a really good skincare routine on top of that. I have also incorporated working out to my daily routine to improve my work-life balance so it’s safe to say that I really need my workout clothes. As for daily wear, I can survive with just denim shorts and a shirt. I’m really a low maintenance kind of girl.

Lastly, what can we expect next from Nina Ellaine Dizon and the Colourette brand? 

There’s definitely a lot to watch out for Colourette and we’re super excited for 2019. We’re working on expanding our product line prioritising what our Boss Babes are requesting, so sit tight.

Find more stories about inspiring women here.

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