Today's #bethegirl interview is with Emille Mendoza, entrepreneur and founder of Boracay Skin. Launching in 2015, Boracay Skin comes from humble beginnings, growing into a globally successful skincare brand by 2020! Emille was first inspired to create gorgeous coconut oil based skincare products during a 2009 trip to Boracay in her native Philippines, where she discovered the effect of coconut oil on the skin.
After completing a bachelor of business, majoring in entrepreneurship in 2013 and with no idea of which career path to follow, Emillie was motivated by her love for travel and went on to work as a flight attendant. Working in the air led to her having issues with dry skin and thus began her exploration to find oils that could keep her skin healthy and hydrated, encouraging her to relook at coconut oil as she had discovered for herself in 2009. After the sudden and heartbreaking loss of her brother in 2014, Emille decided to not waste another day and took the plunge into following her dream of starting her own business...Boracay Skin was born! Let's get into our chat, prepare to be inspired ladies!
Hi Emille, welcome to our #bethegirl interview series! So excited to chat with you about all things business and skincare. Let's start with your journey to becoming a business owner...what was that like for you?
I had done a Bachelor of Business majoring in Entrepreneurship in uni but despite this, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I’ve kept my notebooks of when I first started and when I revisit them, I’m still amazed at how I managed to put everything together. There was a lot of time spent on Google and also trying to connect with anyone who had started their own business.
What would you say has been the biggest high and on the flip side - the biggest low or lesson learnt?
Biggest high was having Boracay Skin stocked in Urban Outfitters so early on in my business journey! Biggest low was probably the very beginning when I was barely getting one order a day. It left me feeling quite frustrated and there were a lot of times I wanted to give up. I was quite optimistic when I first started my business and learnt very quickly that it was going to be much harder than I thought – in saying this though, for every goal I’ve reached it’s been that much more rewarding.
What skills and previous experience do you think were critical and did you draw on through your business journey?
My bachelor of business in entrepreneurship helped in terms of basic business skills such as accounting, marketing, management etc but other than that I’ve had to learn everything myself. We were not taught how to start an online store, how to manage social media, how to reach out to retailers and the list goes on. So a lot of the time you’ll have to teach yourself and go with your gut.
"It was tough using everything I earned, but I decided I had to do it. I took the leap and quit my job as a flight attendant in November 2018 and that's when things really started to take off. Boracay Skin is now my full-time job." says Emille.
What components did you find you needed to learn more, educate yourself and how did you do this?
Everything... I learnt from connecting with other business owners who were doing a similar thing to me, the internet and going to workshops and events. All the above mentioned are free a lot of the time! There’s so much information on starting a business and actionable tips available these days.
A good example I can give is social media. Social media is constantly changing, there are always new trends. Best way to learn is to read blogs and news articles on the internet about social media trends to ensure your brand stays up to date and attend any seminars that are emailed to you.
Emille, we would love to know your top 3 tips all of our career driven women and fellow entrepreneurs out there?
1. Envision your goals
I’m a big believer in Law of Attraction. It really does work. Prior to my business launching I went into Urban Outfitters in the US during a holiday with a friend. We were browsing the beauty section and for some reason I turned to her and said “I’m going to be stocked here one day”. I imagined it in detail and really played it out in my head like it was already happening. It actually happened 6 months after I told her.
2. The best time to start is now
No matter what career/business aspiration you have, the best time to start is now. Not next year, not in 5 years, not tomorrow. Taking any step big or small towards your goal will always get you closer to it rather than waiting and not taking any steps at all.
3. Don’t worry about what others are doing
It can be easy to get caught up on comparing yourself to others. Don’t do this! If you’re on social media and you find yourself comparing yourself in a negative way rather than being inspired by someone you follow, ask yourself why you follow this person? If it makes you feel bad then simply unfollow. Focus on yourself and remember that everyone has different timelines, aspirations and goals.
How have you adapted and changed course in 2020?
2020 has made me rethink about our back up plans as the pandemic has taught us things can change in a very short amount of time. I’ve had to think about having a plan on what to do if there was a reason the business couldn’t operate at full capacity or revenue significantly reduced which admittedly I had never thought about before.
“'It was a side business for a while and I would work on it during my layovers and on weekends - basically whenever I had spare time. To become successful, you need to define what success is for you: Know your own goals, inspirations and just forget what everyone else says.”
Boracay Skin has been extremely well received in the US market, especially having you very first product picked up by Urban Outfitters! Tell us more about this experience and if your business strategy differed here?
It was a surreal experience, especially seeing as their beauty buyer reached out to us! Normally, brands will pitch to buyers but this seemed to good to be true. I had to reread the email several times to ensure it wasn’t a prank haha. In saying this though, I learnt that I was pricing our products way too low. It didn’t allow margins for retailers. That was a huge lesson early on. We price our products now to ensure there’s enough margins to cover everything plus more as the business grows otherwise once you start working with retailers you’ll find you’re spreading yourself very thin with margins.
What is the best and most rewarding thing about being a woman in business?
The most rewarding about being a woman in business is inspiring other women to pursue their entrepreneurial ventures. Having your own business as a woman means you get to make your own rules and there’s no limit to what you can achieve!
What’s next for yourself and Boracay Skin?
Currently working on a new product within the self tanning category that is going to be huge.We’re also working towards growing the business and expanding into more international markets. As for me, I’m just looking forward to when I’m able to jump on a plane somewhere :)
Where can we find you?
Discover Boracay Skin at @boracayskin and boracayskin.com
Boracay Skin continues to create products that are vegan friendly and loved by the community of sun-chasers who swear by it, with its range now expanding to include natural and shimmering body oils that all have the benefits of coconut oil!
Congratulations on your amazing success Emillie and for sharing you business journey and sharing your tips and advice for fellow entrepreneurs and career gals!