updated 7 Jun 2012, 21:44
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Sun, Mar 25, 2012
Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network
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Top exec lives up to beauty hype
by Marge C. Enriquez

Ask entrepreneur Rubby Sy her age and she will likely reply, "I'm ageless and flawless."

The CEO of Flawless Face and Body Center chain walks into the 1,100-square meter head office in Ortigas, wearing a cutout miniskirt emblazoned with a Smiley and shod in wedged mules.

In the main office, cutesy words of wisdom are splashed on the walls: "Beauty has to do with the way a person carries it off… but the best thing in life…(is) keeping busy."

In a business that caters to vanity, Flawless tries to live up to its name.

Every department is color-coded: A mock-up of a Flawless center and lobby exudes the company color of fuchsia; red is for audit; the accounting department is green; the conference room is white; the purchasing office has a blue theme; ash gray for the IT and human resources is in gold.

Long training

There's a training area for lectures and another for the application of procedures.

Sy points out that the aestheticians undergo months of training culminated by oral and written exams before they work in Flawless.

At the time of the interview, there was also an ongoing computer-training program on point of sales services, customer relationship management and inventory.

Now on its 11th year, Flawless Face and Body Center has shifted its marketing thrust from relying on celebrity endorsers to harping on its expertise, quality products and services.

"We're emphasizing what we're good at. We changed our tagline from 'Less is More' to 'Powered by Skin Professionals.'

Our services are done by doctors and aestheticians that are trained to do the job better than anyone else-at affordable prices," Sy declares.

Flawless started out as an aspirational beauty center catering to the middle class market. While other beauty centers target the same niche, they use aestheticians for laser hair removal or skin tightening.

Board-certified doctors perform the procedures at Flawless.

"We are ensuring that there would be more relievers to avoid accidents. We don't leave the 33 branches without a doctor," says Sy.

Celebrity endorsers

For so long Flawless, like most beauty centers, had been capitalizing on celebrity endorsers such as Lorna Tolentino, Richard Gutierrez, Iza Calzado, Ai-ai delas Alas, Ritz Azul and Joshua and Barbie Forteza to cater to a market that tends to be starstruck.

"Filipinos are drawn to artistas. We thought it was the most popular way to capture a big slice of the market," she says.

In 2008, Flawless literally had a facelift in corporate image and design.

It displayed a unified look from the logos, collaterals and clinic design and focused on products and services.

"We promised to give our patients a Flawless experience at affordable prices using machines that are of the gold standard. We've been introducing the latest in the beauty industry," Sy says.

Flawless offered Cosmelan, an advanced treatment for brown spots, owned by a Spanish company, and i-Skin, an American brand of beauty products.

The foreign principals have trained the doctors and aestheticians.


Last year, Flawless went into foray with neutraceuticals from Japan, the most salable of which are the Nano White glutathione for whitening, the collagen tablets and Shape and Sculpt L-carnitine tablets.

It also offered the Priori mineral make-up line, which doubles as a treatment and cosmetic product.

"We look for what is suitable for Asian skin," says Sy.

There's been a buzz on De-crease, a cream that smoothens wrinkles and crow's feet in the same manner as Botox.

The newest procedure is the fractional needle therapy, a safer and cost-effective invasive procedure to treat scars and brown spots and improve the skin's appearance, using special needles.

Next month, Flawless will launch Dermatopoietin, a Swiss skin rejuvenation brand using stem cells.

The constant rollout of new products and services plus the reliable services has kept customers coming back.

Flawless has been experiencing double-digit growth every year and its success was acknowledged by having a spot in the Hall of Fame of Top Retailers by the Philippine Retailers Association.

Location is also vital to a retailers' success, says Sy. The top five branches are in SM Mega Mall, SM Cebu, SM North Mall and Trinoma and SM Pampanga.

It had a branch in Marquee, Pampanga but it was not accessible to its market since one needed a car or take the shuttle. Another branch on President's Avenue, Parañaque was closed because of the traffic.

"We perform better in a mall location. It's obvious that our clients are mall goers not the elite. They are not delicate about being seen going to a dermatologist and they don't mind lying down beside somebody else. But we have the Ruby and Diamond Rooms for those who prefer privacy, and a couples' room," she says.

Ultimately, Flawless staffers have established familial ties with its clients, another reason for the return visit.

As the company slogan goes: "If everybody is not a beauty, then nobody is."

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