Entrepreneur leaves family’s Negros businesses, carves niche in Cebu’s soap industry
Her family owns several tracts of sugarcane fields as well as poultry farms in the province of Negros Oriental, and had she chosen to stay there, she would have lived a comfortable life.
Despite the rosy prospects, 28-year-old Tanya Mondoñedo left it all and set out on her own path to success.
“I wanted to prove to my family that I can live without depending on their income,” she told Cebu Daily News.
In 2014, Mondoñedo launched Dulcet Skin, a Cebu-based distributor of artisanal soaps and other beauty products.
When she graduated from college in 2011, her mother gave her the go signal to do whatever she pleases with her life.
A hotel and restaurant management degree holder, she moved to Cebu that year to try her luck in a field related to her degree but ended up as a distributor for a local soap brand.
In just three months, Mondoñedo became the company’s top distributor, which she attributes to her go-getter attitude and passion for sales.
Mondoñedo recalled that back when she was seven years old, she already started selling sweets to her schoolmates because she wasn’t contented with her school allowance.
Even during her college years, she would sell products like food or clothing not only because she needed the money but because she found it enjoyable.
At the end of 2012, Mondoñedo began conceptualizing her own brand after realizing that she was good at marketing.
She recalled that when she was still with her old employer, she had been able to generate P5 million in sales each year for two years.
After two years distributing for the company, she was able to save enough to set up her own brand.
With a capital of P80,000, Mondoñedo found a manufacturer in Manila who produced two soap variants for her venture.
On her first year, she was able to sell products worth P1 million, owing to the loyal client base she secured while she was still with her old employer. In recent years, the business has been earning up to P5 million.
Making the brand was not an easy feat, especially with the challenges she faced in the industry. But she fought on, considering that she believed this is her destiny that she is pursuing.
Today, Dulcet has over 200 products under its brand including soaps, lotions, toners, deodorants and facial sets, among others.
Mondoñedo started her venture by herself, but she now employs five people.
While her products target the high-end market, Mondoñedo said Dulcet can be for everyone — babies, pregnant and lactating mothers, seniors and men, among others.
Her soaps range from P250 to P320 while her best-selling do-it-yourself facial sets are priced at P1,670.
Learning the ropes
Aside from her manufacturer in Manila, she also has a manufacturer in Davao.
She is also assisted by a licensed pharmacist and chemist.
Even so, Mondoñedo said she studied soap making, so she doesn’t depend on them so much.
Of Dulcet’s 50 soap variants, only 12 were made by the manufacturers while she made the rest herself.
One of her unique selling points, she explained, is that the natural ingredients she uses for her products are locally sourced, including silk cocoons from Bacolod, coffee from Negros Oriental and goat’s milk from Barili.
“My advice to other entrepreneurs is not to focus on competition. Focus on developing your own brand instead. Focus on what you have,” said Mondoñedo.
In five years, she hopes to put up her own manufacturing company as well.
She said she also hopes to put up more physical stores in the Visayas, particularly Bacolod and Bohol, where she has a market already, and in other big malls in Cebu City.
Her lifelong dream is to own more businesses, including a salon and spa, a coffee shop, hotel and school, all represented by the strands on Dulcet Skin’s logo.
Mondoñedo said that once she sets her eyes on her target, she will work for it.
Even while she works 16 hours a day, she doesn’t feel tired because she knows this is what she wants to do.
Nonetheless, she still finds time for her family — four children ages eight, six, two, and one, as well as her husband.
“Every morning, I make it a habit to spend time with them from 6 a.m. until noontime,” she said.
She also makes sure she establishes rapport with her customers since this is the only way they will remain loyal.
In the end, she said what she earns doesn’t really matter. Although income is part of business, what compels her to strive for growth are her customers’ happy faces.