Cover Rissa Mananquil Trillo leaves Happy Skin (Photo: Instagram/@RissamananquilTrillo)

"This is a decision I thought long and hard about"

After an eight-year run with homegrown cosmetic brand Happy Skin, co-founder Rissa Mananquil-Trillo announced her decision to leave. In a video Trillo posted, she was seen removing a golden necklace witht the words "Happy Skin" etched on the pendant.

"The pendant features the Happy Skin logo in gold round pendant, I had this custom-made with a jeweller and I have worn this almost every single day as a reminder of all the hard work, purpose, and passion. I had replicas made for my [business] partners with matching gold chain necklaces. I gifted it to them when we opened our very first Happy Skin boutique," Trillo tells Tatler.

Trillo says she already feels accomplished with her mission in bringing an innovative skincare and makeup formula to the Philippine market. "When Happy Skin started, I wanted to genuinely offer a skin-caring makeup solution to Filipinas. Financial rewards were secondary. Today, there are countless homegrown beauty brands in the Philippines, from makeup to skincare, and we see them also starting out this way. I'd like to think Happy Skin pioneered this," she says.

"Now, when I look back, everything on my checklist is done. Happy Skin served its purpose. More than that, the brand, paved the way for other beauty products to enter the market. I think that Happy Skin will always be remembered as the homegrown brand that opened doors for both entrepreneurs and consumers to embrace local. I will always be proud of that," she adds.

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A Brand for the Modern Filipina

Trillo has always been a dedicated member of Happy Skin. With 15 years of experience as a model and beauty columnist, she thought of ways to improve the quality of local makeup brands. Eventually, it led her to create Happy Skin's unique identity and proposition of "makeup that cares for the skin."

According to the entrepreneur, she will continue to empower modern Filipinas despite leaving the brand. "I will definitely continue to champion women empowerment. Throughout my years with Happy Skin, it has always been important to me that our collection empowered women from the product names, shade names, to the message of the collection. It was a platform that had the power to change the conversation and culture on beauty especially among Filipinas. Makeup used to be seen as 'frivolous,' but now it's become a tool for expressing creativity and celebrating oneself," she discloses.

"To this day, I still get messages from women about how Happy Skin's skin-caring makeup has helped them their own beauty and how it encouraged them to feel their best," she stresses.

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Mental Health Check

Trillo has had her fair share of joyful moments at Happy Skin. Some of these are her collaborations with global brands like Disney, Sanrio, Havaianas, and well-known Filipina celebrities like Kris Aquino, Liz Uy, KC Concepcion, Heart Evangelista, and Kathryn Bernardo. "I look back on everything with gratitude and a full heart," she shares.

The Happy Skin co-founder did not give emphasis to her reason for leaving; however, she reminded fellow entrepreneurs and supporters to check on themselves once in a while. "It was an environment I no longer deserved to be in. The perfect business is one that is true to your values. It was painful to see something that is not aligned with my values," she explains. "Entrepreneurial success doesn't just mean healthy numbers but mental and emotional health too. Being the best also means knowing how to take care of yourself."

It was an environment I no longer deserved to be in. The perfect business is one that is true to your values. It was painful to see something that is not aligned with my values
Happy Skin co-founder Rissa Mananquil Trillo

Leaving with a Happy Heart and Mind

The decision to leave was something that Trillo did not take lightly. The entrepreneur sought pieces of advice from people in her field. "It was not easy to say goodbye to one of my babies, but at this point, my focus is moving forward. I am not the first partner to leave. I could have left at the same time as our partner several years ago, but I wanted to give it a chance. No one can say I did not try."

According to Trillo, her adventure with Happy Skin is one beautiful chapter that she holds dearly. She also thanked her followers and supporters who have been with her throughout the journey. "I received so many messages telling me that 'it's an end of an era,' but I am excited for what's next [in my life]. I vow to continue using my platform for things that matter to me: women empowerment, gender equality, sustainability, and helping start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs. More than that, I feel the same fire in me again. The same fire I felt when I started with Happy Skin," she concludes.

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