Few cosmetic brands are as deliciously scented as those cooked up in Vanilla & Co’s self-described beauty bakery. Touted as ‘gourmet skin care’, these blended bath and body treats come straight from the kitchen of Andrea Lo Ang, where they are crafted by hand and manufactured by the order.
The 27-year-old’s early affinity for beauty brews had led her to concoct personalized lip balms for herself and friends back in 2006. “Creating skin care products has always been a fascination to me,” says this De La Salle University alum, who later took up her graduate studies in the Ateneo Graduate School of Business. “We were one of the first few companies to start selling natural handmade products.”
Like many young entrepreneurs, she’d had her share of troubles getting the new venture off the ground. “We had skeptical customers who [were] not yet keen on using such products,” she admits. With enough perseverance, it wasn’t long before the brand started reeling in its cynics. More recently, Vanilla & Co. has made a fan out of local celebrity Lucy Torres-Gomez, who likened its quality to that of European labels. “It’s all about improving what’s already available,” says Ms. Lo, who readily modifies her formulations based on customer suggestions, and at times, even their complaints.
The owner is also an advocate of a worthy cause: Save for materials like cocoa butter and shea—the latter is sourced from African women cooperative groups using fair trade—everything else in her ingredients list can be found locally.
Its days of creating lip balms long behind it, Vanilla & Co. has since expanded into a full line-up in vintage fifties pinup packaging that reads closer to a dessert parlor’s menu—sans the calories. With names inspired by the pairing of different scents with the classic vanilla fragrance, it’s no secret that Ms. Lo has something of a sweet tooth: The company bestsellers, such as the Whipped Buttercream, Extra Moisturizing Body Wash and Whipped Buttercream Scrub, come in a variety of decadent fragrances that smell deceitfully like the real thing, from ‘Vanilla & Milky Blends’ to ‘Delightfully Fruity’ and ‘Faves of the Tropics’. Other crowd drawers include its line of hair and body mists, as well as the light facial moisturizer, Drops of Dew.
But the owner’s personal favorite is Vanilla & Co.’s Organic Cocoa Butter, whose key ingredient has antioxidants and vitamin E for preventing unsightly stretch marks and dry patches. Under the pressing process, heating the raw, chemical-free butter never goes over 112°F. And though it’s blown into a full-time business, running Vanilla & Co. in the last five years has felt like anything but a run-of-the-mill day job. Says Ms. Lo, “I treat this more as a hobby that I love doing.”
Raul L. Locsin Building I
95 Balete Drive Extension,
New Manila, Quezon City,
Extensions: 706, 709-711
Direct Line: (632)535-9923
Fax No.: (632)535-9925
Email: New Media Group