Rissa Mananquil-Trillo Shares How She Stays Ahead In Her Career
March 8, 2020
photos Floyd Jhocson of Studio 100

“Even before Happy Skin was launched in 2013, it was always a dream of mine to create a makeup line that I could swear my life on,” says Rissa Mananquil Trillo. She shares that in more than a decade of experience as a model and columnist in the beauty industry, she hadn’t yet been able to find a makeup brand that could take care of her skin and wouldn’t leave it feeling and looking worse at the end of the day. “I learned that while makeup can instantly prettify you, the biggest beauty woe is still going home with ruined skin.”

Instead of waiting for anyone else to create what she wanted, Rissa took the initiative and did it herself. Nowadays, the country is booming with a market saturated with local brands, but a few years ago, it was a risk. “It was a challenge to create a beauty brand in an environment where the word ‘local’ was yet to be embraced by consumers attracted to anything ‘imported,’” says Rissa. She mentions that when Happy Skin first launched, 90% of brands in the cosmetics industry were foreign. With aspirations of becoming a global Filipino brand, Rissa notes it was critical that the initial release of the brand would feature innovative products of good quality, and launched in the proper retail channels that would ensure credibility as a legitimate cosmetics brand.

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According to Rissa, the biggest selling point of Happy Skin is its emphasis on skin. “It’s all about skin-caring makeup—it’s the first makeup brand to actively embrace and offer this proposition and the first one to position itself as dual citizens of makeup and skincare,” she says. “Any makeup brand would naturally love to be on your skin, but not every brand can claim and prove they can actually care for it.”

In Happy Skin’s arsenal are multi-use products that are easily used in a gamut of ways. They have tints that work equally well on lips and cheeks, and concealers that correct and cover. Part of the store experience is salesladies who can explain how each item can be used simultaneously ways. “Pinays also want, quite simply, products that work. They’re willing to pay for new additions to their beauty arsenal when they see that products deliver what they promise and when products are so easy to use and offer a variety of uses, that it allows them to devote their precious time to other things in their lives apart from their beauty routine.”

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In it for the long haul, Rissa is cognizant of other local competitors in the industry, but this was something she was prepared for. “Riding a wave requires excellent timing and developed skill, which Happy Skin was and is still equipped with, but both in business and in life, sometimes it’s just staying afloat that will really put you to the test,” she says, “this requires formidable patience and a willingness to endure.” Their goal is not to outlast the competition, but to constantly improve what they are known for: makeup and skincare that works in tandem to improve your skin and confidence. “That’s what keeps us relevant and needed in the lives of our customers, and what keeps them coming back to us,” she says. “You don’t succeed by killing competition. You succeed by creating value.”

Read the full story in Lifestyle Asia’s March 2020 Edition titled, “In the Eye of the Beholder.”

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