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Entrepreneur Profile: Jose Mari Quibilan, the man behind Scents & Blends

His background in chemistry helped him concoct his scent of success
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Holding undergraduate and masters degrees in chemistry may be an odd background for an entrepreneur, but it served Jose Mari Quibilan to realize his entrepreneurial aspiration. Looking for a practical application of all the formulas he learned at school, he chose to get into manufacturing fragrances, which later proves to be the scent of success.

Quibilan founded personal care store Scents & Blends in 1999, aware that he entered an industry dominated by international brands. He was not daunted by the fact that Filipinos who, thinking that local products were inferior in quality, were quite loyal to imported labels.

With seed money of P50,000, Quibilan bought his initial inventory--chemicals, bottles and other packaging materials. His first formulations were offered to friends and family who became his initial product testers. The feedback was good, he recalls, but he was given advice to make them more marketable. “We had to invest more on the packaging to be able to enter the bigger department stores,” he says.

By the time the company launched its first product, Scents & Blends Refreshing Body Splash, it had inked contracts to supply to SM Department Store and Ever Gotesco, as well as specialty stores like Cinderella and Gift Gate. “After a couple of months, we tried selling via direct retail by putting up a small store at the Festival Mall in Alabang. We did pretty well,” says Quibilan. “From then on, we started opening stores around Metro Manila, mostly in the malls.”

Putting up carts and kiosks in the malls is an effective strategy for a business like Scents & Blends. Compared to in-line stores, stalls located in the middle of hallways of malls are more visible and accessible because it does not take much effort for consumers to try and check out the products. “In in-line stores, the customers need to enter your place of business. It’s not also possible to stay outside to give out samples. We always prefer kiosks or carts to be able to be in the thick of the crowd,” he says.

Quibilan says product development is a key activity of Scents & Blends. The company always looks into how it could improve the composition of its fragrances and potions to make sure they meet industry standards. “We change our products every six months,” he says. “We retain the best selling products and we delete the slow-moving ones.”

Fast Franchising Facts
Franchise fee: P100,000
Total Investment: P250,000 to P300,000 (including franchise fee, exclusive of mall rental)
Franchise Package: cart or kiosk setup, P100,000 worth of initial stocks, site approval, use of trade name and proprietary marks, marketing assistance, staff training, opening
assistance, field services, operations manual, research and development.
Estimated Payback Period: 18 months to 2 years

Learn more about Scents & Blends

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