From Passion to Profit: The Business of Clean Beauty

Homemaker-turned-entrepreneur Pia Sy shares how the Clean Beauty movement inspired the birth of a new business—one with a holistic approach to personal care.

Pre-pandemic, Pia was already running her own soap business but was not yet part of the clean beauty movement. “In April of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was having a profound impact on me. I chanced upon an article about the clean beauty movement which caught my attention,” shared Maria Pia Paz F. Sy, founder, and president of Pura Beauty, Inc.

Homemaker-turned-entrepreneur Pia Sy—the founder of Pura Beauty and now, For Keeps Clean Beauty Skincare

“This was an eye-opener and made me decide to immediately create a new brand of personal care or skincare products that are healthy for our skin and has a less negative impact on our planet,” she added.

As president, Pia set the company’s vision and mission in motion, in addition to running the company’s day-to-day operations. She then started For Keeps Clean Beauty Skincare with Ana Kamila G. Nigudula—co-founder and chief product architect—who formulates and oversees the production department, as well as the marketing team.

Their mission was simple: to make clean beauty a less exclusive luxury by transforming it from an occasional treat into something people can incorporate into their daily routines. On the other hand, their vision is to lead the clean beauty movement in the country. “Something credible, authentic, accessible, and transparent by creating products that take a holistic approach to personal care,” Pia explained.

For Keeps Clean Beauty Skincare aims to provide a holistic approach to personal care

The Many Challenges Faced

However, in order to achieve these goals, they had to jump through major hurdles. “To us, one major setback was finding an FDA-licensed toll manufacturer who would create our products the way we wanted,” she said. “Not many toll manufacturers used virgin coconut and extra virgin olive oil.”

In fact, Pia revealed that since their products are made from scratch, making they are more tedious to produce compared to commercial products.

“Some toll manufacturers did not want us to supply our own ingredients, so we begged off. Since quality and authenticity are important to us, we decided to manufacture the products ourselves for the first year.” Thankfully, in their second year, they finally found a toll manufacturer that embraced their process. “This allowed us to acquire FDA approval for our brand.”

Finding a manufacturer For Keeps was tough, but they eventually persevered.

Clean Beauty For Keeps

To this day, For Keeps Clean Beauty Skincare products are made from scratch using premium quality virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and 100% pure essential oils. “We use predominantly natural, biodegradable, and non-toxic ingredients. All vegan,” Pia revealed.

Pia also shared that they use cold processing—or simply, curing the formula for a minimum of 40 days. “By using this method, our products retain their nutrients and are therefore beneficial to our skin.”

“This process is unlike most commercial soaps which are produced in one day using ready-made commercial soap bases. To produce For Keeps Clean Beauty Skincare products, it takes approximately 50 days total, which includes preparation, curing, and packaging,” she added.

Their bar soaps, on the other hand, go through an extra process called French-milled or triple-milled—a first in the country. “This process intensifies its natural scents, gives a more luxurious lather, and provides a creamy feel to our skin. Our products are dermatologically tested safe for sensitive skin and are FDA-approved.”

For Keeps Clean Beauty Skincare features a diverse selection of personal care products that are good for the body and the environment.

Five years from now, Pia hopes that For Keeps becomes available in leading stores around the country—with its very own refilling stations, and for it to be known as the leader of the clean beauty movement in the Philippines.

And on a larger scale, she aims for For Keeps to be, in her words, “One that has encouraged and inspired other brands—big or small—to shift towards clean beauty.”

Beyond offering holistic personal care products, the brand also aims to promote the Clean Beauty movement in the Philippines.

From Passion to Profit

To have succeeded during a time of uncertainty without compromise is something Pia is very proud of. Her advice? “Never doubt yourself. Never take shortcuts. Work hard and always aim for the best. Stay focused and learn to listen. Nothing is impossible. Never give up.”

But most importantly, “Surround yourself with positive and inspiring people.”

Her inspiration through tough times has always been her family. “I am surrounded by a creative family,” she revealed. “My husband is an entrepreneur and my children are very artistic, independent, and hardworking. They encouraged me to find my passion and start my own business.”

Having been a devoted wife and mother for 25 years, Pia decided to search for a new purpose once her children became older and started leaving the nest. “Since I have always been a home buddy, personal care products became my passion and fixation. That inspired the idea for me to create my own personal care brand.”

And thus, For Keeps Clean Beauty Skincare was born.

Pia’s strong support system is what drives her to succeed.

Photos from For Keeps Clean Beauty Skincare

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For Keeps Clean Beauty Skincare is available in the Filipiniana or Home Department sections of all Rustan’s Department Stores around Metro Manila and Cebu, One World Deli (#11 Jupiter Street, Makati), Frankie and Friends General Stores (Power Plant Mall, SM Aura Taguig, and Alabang Molito), Real Food (Power Plant Mall, Alabang Molito and BGC), and are soon coming to Kultura Stores nationwide.

They are also available online via their official website, LazMall Official Store, and Shopee Mall.