Babe Formula CEO Paula Hilario Leveraging on B2B E-Commerce to Grow Her Haircare Brand

Find out how the 27-year-old founder and CEO, Paula Hilario, paved the way for local haircare e-commerce, as she reveals the backbone of the Babe Formula

The online retail industry in the Philippines experienced a strong, positive growth in the last five years, according to the 2023 MarketLine Industry Profile. This is due to Filipinos having relatively wider access to the internet and a ballooning preference for convenient shopping experiences—such as seamless browsing, price comparisons, and purchases, as well as advanced payment methods and doorstep delivery services. Consumers nowadays have become more drawn to shopping in mobile commerce than in traditional brick and mortar stores.

The drastic change in consumer preference and the rapid prevalence of the online marketplace then fuels the shift towards digitization among retail players in sectors like electronics, apparel, food and beverage, cosmetics, and personal care. Even then, it can be difficult to land a strategic spot in the market and thrive. Paula Hilario, the force behind the pastel-colored hair care brand Babe Formula that took the Internet retail by storm and disrupted the seemingly impenetrable hair care market, shares her industry secret. 

During the recently-concluded The Business Manual CEO Awards held at Shangri-La The Fort, Hilario details the method that helped what once a six-man company grow into a local hair care brand, now playing alongside commercial market leaders. She calls this method the “Babepreneur” program.

Engagement as a priority

[L-R]: Luxe Wax CEO Janine Carlos, Gluta Lipo makers Jeff Tan and Leo Ortiz, Juju Glow Founder and CEO Acee Paita, Luxe Skin CEO Anna Magkawas, Babe Formula CEO Paula Hilario, Dear Face CEO Jonah Sison, Honorary Consul General of Embassy of Monaco Fortune Aleta-Ledesma, and The Business Manual Editor-in-Chief RJ Ledesma at the The Business Manual CEO Awards
[L-R]: Luxe Wax CEO Janine Carlos, Gluta Lipo makers Jeff Tan and Leo Ortiz, Juju Glow Founder and CEO Acee Paita, Luxe Skin CEO Anna Magkawas, Babe Formula CEO Paula Hilario, Dear Face CEO Jonah Sison, Honorary Consul General of Embassy of Monaco Fortune Aleta-Ledesma, and The Business Manual Editor-in-Chief RJ Ledesma. Photo by Kieran Punay of KLIQ, Inc.

Babe Formula’s Babepreneur is the business-to-business model (commonly known as B2B) that has laid the groundwork for establishing the brand’s position in the e-commerce storefronts. “I won’t say that Babepreneur is a formal training ground for budding entrepreneurs,” says Babe Formula CEO Hilario. “But we have this organized and relaxed mentorship, as if we’re only making casual conversations.”

“That way babepreneurs feel more comfortable asking questions and making decisions for the growth of their business. It’s the very reason why the stakeholders whom we’re partnered with since day one are still in business with us today,” she adds.

“More than a growth strategy, the Babepreneur program is a support system for our stakeholders, which are our distributors, sellers, and resellers called the ‘babepreneurs’.”

Paula Hilario on Babe Formula’s success in keeping their primary consumers engaged

Hilario explains that they don’t just give out business packages and let the stakeholders figure out everything all on their own. Instead, she and her team provide step-by-step guidance until their partners get a hold of the business structure and come up with a unique approach that will work for their audience and market demographics. “That’s what differentiates the Babepreneur program,” she justifies.

Loyalty as a leverage

Like any other business owner, the babepreneurs also have varying reasons in starting their Babepreneur journey. Hilario discloses that there are partners who join the program to earn extra income while studying or being stay-at-home parents, while others choose to become full-time entrepreneurs. “[The latter group] sees Babe Formula hair care products as their bread and butter,” she interprets. “Some of them also already have an existing network of potential consumers, some just starting from scratch, and others getting business packages for personal consumption.”

“While each babepreneur has their own diskarte [or strategy in encouraging repeat purchases from their own customers], we make sure that all efforts toward our growth as a group resonate Babe Formula’s promised effectiveness and dainty aesthetic,” Hilario clarifies, saying that the brand is committed to providing sulfate-free, silicone-free, salt-free, and paraben-free hair-care products, all wrapped in pastel packaging.

It goes without saying that Paula Hilario’s Babe Formula has managed to capture not only her primary stakeholder’s loyalty, but also their consumer’s trust on their products, without constantly reinventing their marketing efforts.

Industry leaders as guides

Dear Face CEO Jonah Sison and Babe Formula CEO Paula Hilario posing beside each other the The Business Manual CEO Awards photo wall
Photo by Kieran Punay of KLIQ, Inc.

As one of the event partners of the first The Business Manual CEO Awards, Hilario finds herself immersed in recognized players from different industries, such as engineering and construction, real estate, beauty and cosmetics, and banking and finance technology. “Being invited to [The Business Manual CEO Awards] is a big boost, especially that I get to hear prominent business leaders share insights on strategies, growths and losses, and so on,” she expresses with gratitude. “It makes you think that you, too, can get to where they’re currently at… That, eventually, you’ll be the one to step on the stage to inspire other entrepreneurs.”

She further added that while it’s hard to single out just one speech from the CEOs who received accolades for their excellence, she has one key takeaway. It is that we’re more advantaged now than they were in the past. “We have better access to resources like The Business Manual, and it’s only up to us how to maximize those resources to grow our respective ventures,” she suggests. “Just like the CEOs who have worked their way up, I, too, began with just a simple idea in my head… To find a hair-care product that works for my hair, and the rest is history.”

The Babepreneur program offers business packages for authorized distributors, sellers, and resellers. For more information, visit Babe Formula’s website. For the latest updates, follow Babe Formula on Facebook and Instagram.