How This Filipino-American Beauty Expert Went From Battling Her Own Skin Problems To Creating Sought After Skincare Products For Celebrities & Miss Universe Contestants Around The World
Born and raised in Manilla, Philippines, Olivia Quido battled acne as a teenager, and was obsessed with skincare. Growing up, she would save the lunch money her mother would give her for school and use it to buy lotions. At age 26, with a degree in computer programming, she moved to Los Angeles, CA wanting to start her own spa. Fast forward 17 years, and she’s become a household beauty name in both the Filipino and American communities, among celebrities, and all 91 Miss Universe contestants around the world.
As the CEO and founder of O Skin Med Spa, she’s garnered a number of accolades including the Woman of the Year title, Top 100 Filipinos in the USA, AARP’s Top 8 Woman Entrepreneur in LA, and a Mayor’s Award for Entrepreneurs.
“The American dream is something that everyone wants when you’re based in Manilla,” shares Olivia. “When I came here I just wanted to find work, but I decided to go into beauty because I loved it. My passion is always about taking care of people making, people feel better, and I do that by treating their skin.”
While building her spa business, Olivia starred in her own TV beauty segment on The Fiilipino Channel (TFC) for 11 years. Her show entitled, “Beauty by O,” featured her teaching beauty tips initially to a niche market, and inspired a large following of Filipinos around the world to pursue their own American dreams. This is no small feat. Filipinos make up the second largest Asian American group in the U.S. at 3.8 million, and they’re the third largest ethnic group in California with 1.6 million living in Los Angeles.
That being said, the number of years she’s been in business indicate that building an esteemed reputation in the highly competitive beauty industry was far from an overnight success for Olivia.
“Being in the business for so many years, I see a lot of acne problems,” shares Olivia. “I see a lot of sun damage, discoloration, and melasma problems. I was able to formulate a product that will diminish the pigmentation in as early as two weeks. That’s where the word of mouth started to spread. It’s making an excellent product that makes word of mouth spread.”
If You Build It They Will Come...
Before starting her company, Olivia graduated from a cosmetology and esthetician course where she learned the anatomy of skin, and later, rented a small eight-by-six-feet space inside a salon. The tight quarters and the fact that she was a new graduate were her biggest challenges in the first five years of running her business, but it was also during that time that she learned how to hone her skills. In 2011, she launched her own skincare line, which quickly attained a massive following. She says the hands-on work she does on her clients’ skin—not the latest beauty trends—is her main source of inspiration.
“The process was very long,” she reflects about growing her business. “I started doing skincare in 2002. Then, I stabilized my clientele in five years, and started growing in 2012. When it got really stable the trust was there. The question wasn’t just, ‘do customers know you?’ It was, ‘do they like you? Do they trust you?’ It took 10 years to build that trust. When you do marketing customers will just buy to try. The important question to answer is, ‘will they reorder from me?’”
Standing Out In A Saturated Market
Customers reorder from Olivia in high numbers, but how is she going to keep her brand growing in such a saturated market? By 2025, the global skincare market is estimated to be $189.3 billion. According to L’oreal’s 2018 Annual Report, the skincare market segment’s growth is due to a growing demand for beauty and self-care products across the globe, a trend among consumers to pay more for higher quality products, and social media and e-commerce.
While there’s no denying the power of digital discoverability and the self-care revolution, Olivia says that at the end of the day, building a great beauty business comes down to making a product with fast and proven results.
Melissa Jun Rowley