Jonah Sison: Skin Potions CEO grows business in the Philippine beauty scene

Photo: Jonah Sison Instagram page

Jonalyn Sison started as a certified medical nurse. She began making her homemade organic soaps with her family and friends, when she realized that it could be a great business idea. There she went, this Filipina entrepreneur, taking a huge leap of faith and stepping into the very competitive world of the beauty business. Together with her sister Aileen, Jonah officially launched Skin Potions in 2015 and began marketing their products via social media and by participating in local bazaars.

Fast-forward to today, Skin Potions has become one of the fastest-growing and most popular local beauty brands in the Philippines. The brand carries a wide variety of organic, cruelty-free skincare and makeup products that are well-loved by men and women alike, most particularly millennials. In 2016, just a year after its official launch, the local beauty startup brand was awarded by Global Asia as that year’s Top Local Skincare Brand.   

We asked Jonah how everything about her beauty business venture rolled out and she happily shared her story with us.

What made you decide to leave your medical profession in the field of nursing to pursue your beauty startup journey with Skin Potions?

It was actually an urge to find a cure for my own skin problems. I suffered from a very bad breakout way back in 2015 and this took me on a journey of finding the right products that would help cure my skin. It was a difficult process and nothing seemed to work for me so I thought of formulating the products myself—starting with soaps.

Actually, it was never my dream to be a nurse—it was my parents’ expectation. However, I had embraced the course and passed the board exams to become a professional registered nurse. But after I had always felt like something was missing. It turns out that my heart is in business, which is why I am putting everything into Skin Potions.

What are the best things about being on this entrepreneurial journey with your sister, Aileen?

The life of an entrepreneur is not easy at all. It’s a series of trials, failures, and tears. To be able to make a business work, it means skipping many social gatherings, physically-draining sleepless nights, and the unending tasks of innovating something new for the brand. To face all of these alone, while possible, would be extremely difficult.

My sister Aileen, who also left her job as a flight attendant for Skin Potions, truly helped me out on this entrepreneurial journey. She’s been my support system, dedicating her time and effort to help me create and make big decisions for the brand.

How do you connect your ideas and passion with Skin Potions’ products?

Everything you see in Skin Potions reflects my own identity—from its color palette to its graphic design. I used to design it using only pink colors, but eventually developed it into a ‘kawaii’ theme. I am a very jolly person and I love colorful things, so I would like people to see that reflected in the products we carry.

Philippine beauty brands are less well known than Korean or Japanese brands on the global scene. What do you think Skin Potions and other upcoming Philippine brands offer to women abroad?

With the tight competition that we (local brands) are facing, I believe the first step is a matter of local awareness for everyone. If Filipinos would actually love locally-made products, then international recognition would surely follow. It is true that Philippine beauty brands still have a long way to go in terms of global recognition but I believe we are capable of competing with established international brands. With the high-quality ingredients and creative design of our products, we always want to highlight that Filipinos can be proud to recommend our own products to foreigners.

Skin Potions is taking the Philippine beauty scene by storm, and you surely have bigger plans for your brand. Where do you see yourself with Skin Potions in 10 years?

10 years from now, I’m personally aiming to open around 100 stores worldwide. I’m also looking forward to opening our own manufacturing plant by that time. Of course, being recognized as one of the best cosmetic brands in the Philippines would be amazing, as well as global acclaim, but I believe that’s just a bonus. To open more stores worldwide is to give more jobs to Filipinos, and hopefully it will serve as a way for us to open a charity under the Skin Potions name, too.

Who is your biggest inspiration/role model in beauty and business?

There are a lot of remarkably inspiring women in the beauty business scene. But for me, I really look up to Lime Crime’s founder, Doe Deere. I truly believe in beauty brands that carry vegan, organic, and cruelty-free products, and Lime Crime is one of the first top cosmetic brands that embraced that.

What’s your advice to women who want to make her own beauty company like you?

Think outside of the box. Everything is possible if you genuinely believe in yourself. Things will get difficult, but you have to remind yourself that you’re strong and that you can do everything. It is also very important to always keep your feet on the ground, no matter how much you have already achieved. Lastly, always be grateful to God for every blessing He is pouring out on you.

Work hard and never stop creating—this reflects Jonah’s clear viewpoint. Her blazing passion for her craft allows her to aim high with her goal of growing the local beauty brand she founded to a global scale.

Early this year, Skin Potions’ CEO Jonah Sison won the ‘NEXTGEN International Franchise Association’ competition, which took place in the US. The brand’s top-notch products and genius marketing strategy also made them a successful franchise business that offers great opportunities for women entrepreneurs. Today, Skin Potions has over 20 branches nationwide, and many of them are franchised.

Andrea Centeno

Andrea is a beauty blogger and a makeup aficionado based in Manila, Philippines. In her blog, Shimmering Thoughts, she shares her love for K-Beauty and K-Pop through product reviews, makeup tutorials, and documents the exclusive media events she's been to.

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