Besties who loaned money to start skincare business in 2021, now earns 7 digits!  


If you’re considering starting a new business with your bestie, the story of this duo from Batangas might be the sign you need to take that leap of faith! 

Licensed electrical engineers, Eleanor Roma, 35, and Arriane Recella, 36, started their business in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. But before venturing to business, they had been very close since their college days and supported each other in every aspect of their lives for almost two decades. 

“Wala ako maisip na secret eh. Siguro nandoon lang talaga ‘yung nagja-jive kayo. Pareho kayo ng wavelength,” Arriane said.  

“Napapag-uusapan lang namin noon, mga kaartehan. Tapos pumapasok doon ‘yung family. Halos magkasunod lang kami kinasal eh. Magkasunod kaming nabuntis,” Eleanor echoed.  

When Eleanor decided to resign from her day job to focus on taking care of her first born, she resorted to selling various products online to earn money from home during the pandemic.  

“Nagtinda ako ng mga kung ano-ano. Nagbe-bake ako sushi, pandesal. Nagbenta din ako ng mga pajamas so kung ano ‘yung pwede kong maibenta, na makakatulong sa family, ‘yun ibebenta ko,” she recalled. 

Eleanor hustled to make ends meet until she and her bestie stumbled upon the idea of starting their own brand in 2021. As first-time moms, they immediately recognized the insecurities many mothers face during pregnancy and postpartum. So, they envisioned a product line tailored to address these concerns.  

“Hindi kami mahilig sa skincare, mas mahilig kami sa makeup. Nung wala akong work, nag-iisip ako kung paano ako kikita,” Eleanor said.  

Arriane added, “Ang dami naming pinagpilian. Nag-isip kami ng sabon, ‘yung sa mga pang-face agad. Pero naisip namin ano ‘yung wala pa masyado sa market na pwede tayo magkaroon ng space?” 

Despite not being skincare enthusiasts themselves, the besties identified a gap in the market and set their sights on catering to expectant mothers.  

“As a mom din na maraming insecurities ‘di ba? Nanganak ka, ang daming maitim sa’yo, maitim ‘yung kili-kili mo. Nagkaroon ka ng maraming stretch marks sa katawan. So naisip namin, bakit hindi kami maglabas ng intimate skincare?” Eleanor shared.  

“Isa siya sa mga target market namin, ‘yung mga mommies, nung binuild namin si Simply Hue,” Arriane added. 

The two started looking for manufacturers in March 2021. From ingredients to packaging, Eleanor and Arriane became hands-on with their business. Their initial investment costs P100,000. But to Arriane’s surprise, Eleanor had to loan her share for the business.  

“Wala talaga akong puhunan noon at hindi iyon alam ng business partner ko. Ang alam lang niya, sige, lakas ng loob. Pero nanghiram lang ako ng puhunan noon. Ang nagawa namin is four products agad. Naghanap lang kami ng manufacturer kasi actually, wala kami masyadong puhunan,” Eleanor noted.  

”Yung usapan, hindi talaga kami maglalabas ng malaking pera kasi this is a risk. ‘Yung perang ilalabas natin is willing tayong mawala. Pero hindi ko alam na nangutang siya,” Arriane said.  

In June 2021, the two released their first line of products to the public. But it was not an overnight success.  

“Naggawa muna kami ng Facebook, Instagram. And ‘yung business model kasi nitong si Simply Hue is distributorship. Meron kaming kinuhang mga distributors, resellers, that can help us market the product sa iba’t ibang platform,” Arriane said. 

“Noong una, kasi nga wala kaming alam.  Ime-message namin like io-offer namin, ‘Ma’am, baka interested kayo to resell our products’ or ‘be a distributor of Simply Hue.’ Almost [all], ‘no’ ang answer sa amin. Rejected talaga kasi nga naiintindihan naman namin kasi sino ba naman kami?” she added.  

Facing rejection after rejection, they tirelessly reached out to potential distributors until their breakthrough moment arrived—someone finally expressed interest to become the first distributor of their products.  

“After namin ma-distribute, ito na naman kami ni Els, problemado kami kasi nahihiya kami na hindi gumagalaw ‘yung products sa kanya. Doon naman nag-start ‘yung mga marketing efforts,” Arriane said.  

As word-of-mouth spread and social media buzz grew, their products gained traction.  

“After three months, may mga resellers na kaming pumapasok. Paonti-onti tapos may mga nagte-trend na videos sa TikTok. Nakilala ‘yung Shaky Bum Bum and ‘yung Bikini Serum [Rock-a-Bikini serum] ‘yung duo na ‘yun kasi nagpapa-lighten siya ng under butt, butt area, and bikini area,” she added. 

After a few months, they got their much-awaited break. They even received a bulk order but needed more funds to scale their operations and meet the demand.  

“Wala kaming enough funds para magpaikot. Hindi pa namin kayang ibigay ‘yung sunod na demand kasi sobrang dami na, 20,000 pieces na agad. Naghanap kami ng mauutangan. Sa mga kaibigan, family and mga friends. Doon kami humiram ng pera na kailangan kasi namin,” Arriane said.  

This 2024, Eleanor and Arriane continue to work together for their skincare business. Currently, they have 1,000 distributors nationwide and 20 employees.  

“Kung wala si Arianne, hindi ko makikita ang sarili ko na mag-oopen ng skincare business,” Eleanor stressed.  

“Para kaming ano, legs. ‘Pag wala ‘yung isa, mahirap. So dapat pareho, working siya together,” Arriane added. — Janelle Lorzano 

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