Recently, during the “sale” season of the online stores, I bought a few beauty and skincare product. One of the things that I bought online from one of the stores is a sleeping mask under a popular brand that I usually buy. I love this brand, so I really wanted to buy it during the sale season.
I went online and saw the official store of the brand, but of course, being the typical consumer, I wanted a better deal. I searched for the cheapest product and found one which was sold in another “store” at 20% cheaper. I added that into my cart, and after a few days, it was delivered to me.
When I got the product, I was so excited. I finished the entire bottle of what I bought in the brand’s store in a mall, so I really wanted to use it when it arrived. When I slashed through the bubble wrap, I saw the box and something did not feel right.
I’m an avid beauty (mostly skin care) blogger and I know what this product looks like. I immediately had a feeling that what I bought wasn’t the real deal. The box didn’t look like the one I had before. When I pulled out the container, the seal wasn’t sealed thoroughly. And when I opened it, it’s smell was close to the original, but the color and the viscosity was not quite as how I remembered it to be.
I immediately went to my husband, and mentioned that I didn’t feel quite at ease with the product. He told me not to use it. Obviously, I didn’t use it in my face, but I thought “sayang naman” (I spent money, so at least use it somewhere else) so I used it on my leg. I didn’t get any allergies or anything. That was the only time I used it.
Then, a week after, I saw the series on Netflix called Broken. The first episode was about the counterfeit beauty products that are being sold.
That’s when I realized how dangerous these counterfeit beauty products are to your health. I decided to throw the product that I bought.
I highly suggest that you check out this series.
Have you ever been a victim? Share your story with me 🙂
Moving forward, personally, I will check if the store is either the online store of the brand itself or at least the official distributor of the brand.
Sharing this so that we can all be aware that there are counterfeit beauty products out there.
Recently, I introduced you to a site called BellaPellePh.com. I mentioned that it’s a website where you can buy premium and hard-to-find dermatological beauty products in the Philippines.
I learned about the site, because I actually know the owner. The founder was my previous yoga instructor. This super momma is someone that I look up to, and admire. I wanted to share her story with you, so I’m reviving the “mompreneur” interview series in my blog. I think we all need our weekly dose of inspiration!
About Michelle Reyes-Navarro, Founder of BellaPelle.Ph
Michelle is a housewife and a mother of two. She mentions that two of her passions are travelling and Ashtanga yoga. Michelle is the co-founder of Yoga Manila, the longest existing Ashtanga studio in the country. “Of course, the reason why I also do these two things is I want to age gracefully. I want to enjoy living a quality life of being able to spend time with loved ones and seeing the world,” Michelle excitedly tells us.
Interview with Michelle 🙂
Ginger: How did you come up with the concept of BellaPellePh.com?
Michelle: My husband is a dermatologist and I love being the guinea pig for beauty products and machines. My friends and acquaintances always compliment me for my skin and ask for recommendations. I realized that I could effectively recommend products as much as or even more than my husband and people trust me.
So I thought, ” why not do a small business out of it?”
I started with posting in IG (@bellapelleph) and it became quite a successful small business — the type that suited my personality. I can still work while I travel and do my other duties. It’s not a 9-5 job, which I can never do. I retired from corporate work at the age of 24, simply because I do not want anyone holding my time, and I want to travel whenever I want. And I love helping people out. So even when I expanded to having a website, I still make sure that almost all my transactions are very personal. Customers can message us for recommendations or about their concerns and questions.
Ginger: Who is your market for this site?
Michelle: Mostly women, 35 and above, who want to age gracefully and beautifully (although I also have a few products specifically for men). Since the products are branded and premium, recommended by dermatologists and clinically researched, most of them tend to be mid to high end in price. So the site attracts women who do not settle for less and are discriminating when it comes to personal care and skincare, women who value good quality and know what they want.
But I am also in the process of testing products that cost less so that some will be more affordable for many. I just need to personally test them and seek for feedback and research. I do not like selling for the sake of selling. I always want to be sure I am recommending effective products. Of course, like anything, beauty products require trial and error. What works well for most might not work for some. But I want to be able to suggest what is mostly effective for most people.
Ginger: I love it, Michelle. We, entrepreneurs, go through a lot of challenges. What were the challenges that you encountered in building this business, and how long has this business been in existence?
Michelle: It has been a challenge growing followers since I am not tech-y and social media savvy. I also wanted to grow it organically, really attracting “my tribe” — people who truly understand my brand essence and who are really interested in what I have to offer. So it’s not about the quantity (but of course that helps) but the quality of followers. The Instagram page started June 2018. The website went live August 2019.
Ginger: Given how competitive the beauty landscape is in the Philippines, why should people buy products from Bella Pelle and not from other online stores?
Michelle: The comprehensive line of products we offer are not usually sold over-the-counter in the Philippines. You would have to go to a clinic to get these products. As a person who used to buy tons of commercial brands before I met my husband, I really got to compare them with those that are accessible only through dermatologists here. My skin really transformed for the better! I don’t have to worry about breakouts, not even during PMS.
We earn people’s trust because we are not about how much you shop. We sincerely care about recommending only what you need to address your concerns. A fellow of the Philippine Dermatological Society and board certified dermatologist is consulted when recommendations are asked for.
Ginger: I love it! What I like about is that you really get to know your customers and genuinely care for them! I’m curious to know but this is for those checking out your site, what are three products that you really really love and recommend?
Michelle: This is tough to answer because there are so many products I love recommending depending on the customer’s concern. There’s always a great product for every skin condition.
But if I have to choose, in general, I would have to say…
Viviscal Hair Growth Supplement as it is the most effective supplement I know for healthy hair growth.
All Heliocare products! But if I only need to mention one – Heliocare Purewhite Radiance Max 240 Oral Capsules
Lumiderm Underarm Whitening Serum
*Check the images above!
Ginger: Thank you so much, Michelle, for sharing your journey and story with us. I wish you more luck with you business!
For those who are interested to check out Bella Pelle, these are their details: