How flight attendant Emille Mendoza flew off and created her own skincare brand (successfully)

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

We sat with the founder of Boracay Skin and asked her all about how she made a success through her brand.

Why did you start up Boracay Skin? And what is the main purpose of the brand? I was a flight attendant in my previous job. My skin was drying out all the time being on the plane all day and I found lotions didn’t hydrate my skin enough. Because they’re mostly made of water, they evaporated really quickly. Back in 2009 I was on a holiday in Boracay Island in the Philippines and the locals were selling coconut oil. I discovered the benefits of coconut oil for the skin and was hooked since then. From the need of something to moisturise and soothe my skin and armed with an entrepreneurship degree, Boracay Skin was born. Our slogan is “Coconut Based Beauty Products That Make You Glow”. The main purpose of our brand is to educate people on the benefits of coconut oil for the skin and encouraging them to love the skin they’re in.

Can you explain the reason behind the name? I chose the name as a nod to my cultural roots (I am an Australian-born Filipino) but also due to the fact that I discovered the benefits of coconut oil on Boracay Island.

What gives Boracay Skin its unique value as a brand?

We’re unique as we base our products on coconut oil. I’m passionate about coconut oil and how beneficial it is for the skin as I personally have found it has done wonders on my own skin. The branding of Boracay Skin came from my love of travel and how I was basically living on a plane traveling from destination to destination for a living but when I had time off, I was still traveling somewhere! My favourite destinations had sunny weather and beautiful beaches so having the aesthetics and branding fit my lifestyle came naturally for Boracay Skin.

What do you think has made your brand so successful in a short period of time, to be able to make $140,000 a month?

Although I started it late 2015, it really started to gain traction in 2018 when I took the leap of faith and quit my job to concentrate on Boracay Skin full time. The business grew a lot once I made it my full time gig and I believe the success has come from having a good team, being consistent, being passionate about the product and to keep going no matter what hurdle we came across.

Can you share any hallmark moments?

Sponsoring shows like Miami Swim Week and New York Fashion week and seeing our logo as a sponsored partner was cool! I’ll also never get over seeing celebrities with our products, Jordyn Woods (Kylie Jenner’s ex best friend) was spotted using some Boracay Skin goodies on her Instastories!

What are some of the biggest challenges of owning your own business/brand? And how has Covid–19 affected the brand? I think one of the biggest challenges of owning your own business can be staying motivated. It can feel lonely at times and there’s no one to hold you accountable for anything. However, I stay motivated by thinking of my end goal and breaking it down into smaller, achievable goals. Surrounding yourself with those who do a similar thing can also help. If Covid-19 hasn’t affected your business in one way or another then you’d be lying! It’s been positive as we have seen people shopping online more than ever before which meant record breaking revenues but it’s also been challenging due to logistical issues. Covid-19 has seen border closures, lockdowns and reduced flights which affects everything in logistics.

What is something you've learned since the inception of Boracay Skin? I completed a Bachelor of Business in Entrepreneurship but one thing Boracay Skin has taught me is that you’ll learn the most by going out there and doing it. No amount of study or reading up on materials will prepare you for starting a business so my advice is just to start.

What are your tips for those wanting to start up a business or brand in the beauty space, especially during unprecedented times? Just go for it. There’s never going to be the perfect time, or you feel like you don’t have enough money. If you start, everything will start flowing.

If Boracay Skin was a ____ it would be a _____:

A flower: A sunflower. We follow wherever the sun goes.

A TV show: GLOW. The name speaks for itself but also because we believe all our Boracay Beauties should feel empowered and this is what this show is all about.

An iconic woman: Moana. We’re all about the island life.

A colour: Our iconic beige/tan brand colour. It’s the colour of the outside of a coconut and the colour that’s been consistent with us from the start.

A dessert: Coconut macaroons. Filipino style!

A song: Don’t steal my sunshine by Len.

A cocktail: Piña colada because we love coconuts!