HBC celebrates beauty

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Dr. Rosalinda Ang-Hortaleza, chief executive of HBC, notices how women would usually put everyone’s needs ahead of her own—especially moms, whose make-up and grooming expenses take a backseat as the last item in the grocery list, if included at all in the budget.

“Everyone has the right to be beautiful. Everyone,” retorts Dr. Hortaleza. Customers’ eyes usually widen in disbelief, with all the make-up, natural soaps, hair dyes and serums, and every other product in an HBC store that are reasonably priced.

Origins of the company

The family of Dr. Hortaleza’s husband was behind the brands Hortaleza and Splash Corporation, both somehow connected to the beauty business. The former was more popularly known to local beauty parlors rather than individual customers—as a “vaciador,” or a place to get beauty supplies and to have scissors and beauty parlor implements sharpened.

In 1993, Dr. Hortaleza and her husband inherited six branches of Hortaleza Vaciador. “We had to ask ourselves, ‘how can we differentiate the stores from the others?’ So we changed the store colors and renamed it as HBC, after my husband’ s mother, Cecilia Bonifacio Hortaleza,” she reveals. It worked—the new look brought them closer to their target market.

From six stores, they now have a total of 225 branches. They also expanded their product offerings and house brands with a very impressive cosmetics line. “San San is one of our make-up brands that has vitamins A, C, E, and SPF 15. We have pressed powders, foundations, lipsticks, and blush, fortified with age-defense ingredients,” she explains.

They have definitely come a long way from selling beauty supplies and cuticle removers. The research and technology involved with their creations make it a competitive and reasonable alternative to the foreign and more expensively priced brands found in department stores.

It’s impressive to see a local make-up and personal skin care company reaching international markets. HBC has loyal followers in the US, Middle East, and of course Asia— particularly in Singapore. Quality is assured with all HBC products being clinically tested.

In 20 years, they were able to develop a strong management team and create a formidable presence in the cosmetics scene. “We try to empower our employees so that they become a creative force, and we challenge each other not to be complacent,” says Dr. Hortaleza. She is also quick to reveal that the company values help from experts and partners, such as in financial management.

“To sustain this business growth, we needed the help of Plantersbank. We expanded beyond our expectations. They gave us a good capital and a long-term loan to increase the number of our stores, in a friendly and premium rate. They really are the SME bank,” she says.

Continuity and legacy plays a big role in the relationship Dr. Hortaleza has with Plantersbank. She remembers her father who was also an entrepreneur in the manufacturing industry. “I was a young girl when they [Plantersbank] were already the bank that my parents trusted. I would accompany my father whenever he visited Plantersbank to see Ambassador Tambunting. I would even be in my white UST uniform,” she reminisces.

 

Life is beautiful

She earned her medical degree, is married to the love of her life, and is blessed with children who make her proud—life is beautiful indeed for the good doctor. Although she wasn’t able to practice her craft, Dr. Hortaleza is still involved in the healing arts.

Not only does she nurture the spirit of all those who seek beauty and well-being in their life, she takes big steps to help women who need additional income for their families. “I want to create more jobs—I want them to have a better life,” she says with firm conviction.

The Ang-Hortaleza Foundation accomplishes just that with their beauty school in Valenzuela. “The livelihood program creates jobs and encourages entrepreneurship. Stay-at-home moms can start their own manicure and pedicure business or give haircuts to neighbors. To date, the foundation has 25,000 graduates and growing,” she says.

Women are transforming into empowered individuals in today’s generation, and regardless of age, income, or size, they all want to look their best. It doesn’t take a psychologist to know why—it’s simply because confidence brings out the best in a woman. “In HBC, we give everyone the right to be beautiful,” she says. That’s true beauty from within.

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