Marketing maven Jacqe Yuengtian-Gutierrez has made it her mission to make it easy for Filipinas to look beautiful without the high price tag. She left her corporate job in one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies (where she handled some of the most well-known global beauty brands) to become an entrepreneur so she can have more time for her family – and since then has built a beauty empire made up of products that Filipinas have come to love.
On personal style: “I really go for classic and simple. I’ll buy a few trendy clothes sometimes for a little fun but maybe 80% of my closet are made up of classic pieces like silks and linens. With the amount of things I juggle every day, I don’t want to think so much about what to wear because I manage 3 businesses and I have 2 kids. When I buy clothes, I usually get 5 colors of the same design.”
“For colors, I like neutrals: beiges, light pinks, nudes, whites. For me, these colors bring happiness because they’re light on the eyes, it’s nice to look at, it’s easy to pair, and you always look fresh.”
Jacqe wearing a blush-colored silk top and white pants with (1) Yanka disc necklace layered with (2) Karam chain necklace
Jacqe's picks: (3) Yanka disc necklace, (4) Karam chain necklace, (5) Cantrelle north star necklace, (6) Elana charm necklace, (7) Nola snake chain, (8) Alix oval link chain and (9) Vafara lariat
Jacqe also sticks to classic shoes and bags in basic colors. Also seen here are some of BLK's products, which include the Hong Kong shade from the BLK Travels collection, Contour, Blush & Highlight Palette, Creamy Cheek Paint and All-Day Intense Matte Lipstick in Elegant
On what a typical day looks like: “Every day is different! Mondays and Wednesdays, I’m at the Happy Skin office while Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’m at the BLK office. On Fridays, I do work for Seoul White. Saturdays and Sundays are devoted to my husband and my kids and we try to spend as much family time as possible. It’s very hectic but I really enjoy my job from the countless meetings to checking products, shoots, and everything you need to do to create a brand and sell a product. I’m fulfilled with what I do and what I’ve accomplished and I’m so grateful that the Philippines has given me the opportunity to create brands that they love.”
Jacqe wearing navy coordinates with (10) Horus earrings and (11) Karas 2-layer necklace
On her journey from corporate marketer to beauty entrepreneur: “I was with Unilever Philippines for 9 years then I got expatriated so I did about 4 years abroad. When we were expatriated – my husband was based in Myanmar and my boss was based in Singapore – I had to travel all the time because I was handling Australia and Asia. We were newly married but we really didn’t have much time for each other. My job didn’t allow me to spend as much time as I wanted at home and we wanted to start a family already. At that point in our lives, I told myself maybe I can start my own business instead. And if I fail, I will just go back to a corporate job.”
“Happy Skin was actually born in Myanmar. We really poured our hearts and souls into creating the brand and thank God that it was well-received. It’s the first homegrown brand that paved the way for a lot of other local brands right now in the market.”
Two Happy Skin products that Jacqe keeps in her beauty kit: Shut Up & Kiss Me Moisturizing Lippie in Under The Sheets and Pinch Me Natural Lip & Cheek Stick
On the early days of Happy Skin: “I was really lucky because one of my partners is the owner of Plains and Prints. [Erickson Farillas] was the one who convinced me to get into business and he helped me navigate through the things I wasn’t familiar with. Creating a brand is easy, at least for me, because it’s something I’ve been doing and was trained for in my corporate career, but managing retailers and how to run a retail shop as well as fulfilling government requirements were all new to me."
Jacqe wearing a lace dress with (12) Karam chain necklace layered with (13) Liara charm necklace and (14) Sundari earrings
"I think it’s very important that you have a proper mentor because you can’t do everything on your own. It’s always a team effort. Since Happy Skin is sourced from the beauty capitals of the world, the struggles during the first year included importation and customs and I had someone who taught me how to navigate those unfamiliar waters.”
On how BLK came about: “I started BLK when Happy Skin was about 4 years old. BLK came about because I felt like there was an opportunity in that segment to play in. When Anne [Curtis] and I talked about the kind of brand we wanted, we realized we had the same vision and that was uncomplicated beauty."
Jacqe wearing a pink dress with (15) Makana 2-layer necklace
"We wanted products that are very accessible to more people, especially to her fans, that are of very good quality and in a way curated so it’s trimmed down to the essentials. When we launched, we only had 5 products and these 5 products were the only things you would need to complete your face.”
Jacqe wearing the (16) Lucette earrings
On the design inspiration for the BLK office: “Just like BLK’s tag line of ‘uncomplicated beauty’, we wanted our office to look simple yet versatile. When we were talking to Crate and Barrel, they said they have a lot of furniture pieces that would work in an office."
BLK's headquarters has a chic industrial feel done in neutral colors complemented with soft pink
"We really wanted our office to be our second home so that our employees will be relaxed and will be inspired to generate creative ideas. Crate and Barrel helped us create the design for the entire office and I think they were able to make one that feels like home but still looks professional. It’s very uncomplicated, it’s comfortable and yet so chic."
On the latest BLK products: “BLK Travels was actually born out of real consumers. A lot of BLK fans take their BLK products to different parts of the world, take photos of them and then tag BLK or Anne [Curtis], and they were the ones who created the hashtag #BLKTravels. We realized a lot of people are proud to bring their products abroad so we came up with the idea of mini lipsticks so bringing them during trips would be more convenient then it eventually it evolved to naming them after countries and adding an illustration of different animals on the packaging. And because we’re a cruelty-free brand, we decided to take it further by partnering with WWF so that part of the proceeds of the sales of the collection will be donated to them. BLK is barely a year old and this is our way of sharing the blessings that we’ve received.
The BLK Travels collection has 6 mini lipsticks in shades named after different countries
On the most important lessons she learned as an entrepreneur: “Number one is don’t be afraid to ask help. Don’t assume you know everything. My biggest learning is you must find the right partners to work with because your partners will help you create the brand and make it bigger than how you imagined it to be."
"Two is don’t be afraid to experiment. Before, I would refer to my corporate experience when it came to what promos or products would work but every brand has different personality, every market has a different reception. Usually, blush comes in powder form so it was a risk to launch a liquid blush but we wanted to try it out. I only ordered 20,000 pieces and in one month it was sold out. If you know it’s a good product, it will work.”
Follow Jacqe on Instagram: @jygutierrez
Follow Happy Skin on Instagram: @happyskin_ph
Follow BLK Cosmetics on Instagram: @blkcosmeticsph
Photography by Sheila Catilo (@sheilacatilo)
(1) and (3) Yanka necklace
(2) (4) and (12) Karam chain necklace
(5) Cantrelle necklace - coming soon
(6) Elana charm necklace - coming soon
(7) Nola snake chain
(9) and cover photo Vafara lariat
(10) Horus earrings - coming soon
(13) Liara charm necklace - coming soon
(14) Sundari earrings
(16) Lucette earrings - coming soon