A dermatological company established in Laguna province by a former overseas Filipino worker now exports world-class facial and skincare products to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
“We are really eyeing to become international because the brand itself is a world-class brand,” says Dina Dela Paz Stalder, the president and chief executive of the Stalder Group of Companies.
Stalder, 55, is the founder and president of BCP Dermatological Corp., Stalder Laboratories Inc., and Diana Stalder Face, Body, Skincare Center or DS Cafe which used to be known as Dermaline Inc.
Stalder Lab which has a manufacturing facility in San Isidro, San Pablo City is a contract manufacturer of facial and skincare products. Stalder says the manufacturing business accounts for around 60 percent of the group’s revenues.
BCP Dermatological is the exclusive distributor of skin analyzing machines from Germany and counts Splash, Unilab and Unilever among its clients.
DS Cafe, named after her now 25-year-old daughter, is the first skincare chain of clinics in the country that also serves food and beverage. “We are the first facial center that has health and beauty cafe,” says Stalder, who was married to a Swiss national.
The cafe features Canada’s top weight loss products and program and a medically designed protocol that provides a variety of instant, easy-to-prepare and ready-to-serve products.
Among DS Cafe’s partners are Casmara Cosmetics, a leading European skincare company and Ideal Protein, a weight loss program of France and Canada. DS offers skin services and specialized treatments handled by medical specialists like basic care, whitening, anti-acne, anti-aging, peel, warts and body treatments. Their specialists, therapist and workers are supervised and trained by Dina and her daughter Diana.
DS Cafe serves mouthwatering salads, sandwiches, leafy vegetables, flavorful juices and various meals that offer a lower calorie count. Stalder took a course in weight loss program in Las Vegas and introduced it in DS Cafe.
Stalder, who earned a degree in Medical Technology from Centro Escolar University in 1985, was listed among the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the world during the 14th Filipina Leadership Global Summit in Toronto, Canada in October 2017 organized by the Filipina Women’s Network.
She achieved the feat on her own through determination, hard work and training. She grew up as a farmer in Laguna and supported her studies in college as a maid for her relatives in Manila. After college, she found work as a medical representative for a dermatological company and teamed up with a pharmacist to open a drugstore.
The partnership went sour and Stalder chose to work in London as a domestic helper, baby sitter and inventory clerk while taking short-term courses in aesthetics cosmetic formulations until 1989.
After returning to the Philippines, she applied what she learned and developed her own dermatological formula that proved perfect for Filipino women’s skin. She opened Beauchamps Pharmacy, the first company under the Stalder Group.
She returned to the United Kingdom in 1995 and earned a certificate in aesthetics, after which she established Dermaline Facial Care Center in the Philippines. While she was married to a foreign national with whom she had three children, it was Dina who financially supported the family.
Now 33 years in the business, Stalder wants to expand her market by looking for franchisees of DS Cafe in other Southeast Asian countries. Her companies achieved rapid expansion because of the research-based approach towards product development, state-of-the-art manufacturing processes and facilities and world-class products supported by a well-trained and service-oriented team.
Stalder is most proud of providing employment in her barangay at the boundary of San Pablo and Tiaong, Quezon. Her group of companies provides direct employment to about 200 individuals. Aside from the laboratory, she has an organic farm in the village. She also started a housing development for her employees and livelihood programs for the community.
She is considered the biggest taxpayer in Barangay San Isidro. “I don’t have too much money, but the employees are taken care of,” she says.
“I want all my ‘kababayans’ to be employed,” says Stalder. “I might not be able to contribute that much to the whole nation, but at least in that barangay, they know.”
DS Skincare Center and Cafe, which currently has three company-owned clinics in the Philippines, is best known for skin whitening, anti-aging and acne-treatment products. “When it comes to acne treatment, I would say we are the best,” says Stalder.
“We have only three clinics. Before, we had 33 branches of Dermaline Facial Center. We ended the local franchising to ensure quality compliance. We are now focusing on international franchising,” she says.
“We joined the Asian caravan of the Philippine Franchise Association. We have inquiries from Malaysia and Thailand. We are leaving again for Indonesia and there are people in Brunei who are also interested,” she says.
“We also received an invitation from Korea,” says Stalder.
Stalder says she is training her daughter Dina to take over the expansion of the DS Cafe chain. Dina is taking a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship in Ateneo de Manila University.
Stalder says there are also potential partnerships in other countries who are interested in the online business of DS. “We are export-ready. We have an online, e-commerce store here and in the UK.
The South Africans and the Hispanic Latino particularly like our products,” she says.
Stalder says her company ensures the high quality of its products and imports only the best raw materials. “I am dealing with the big people in the industry―the ABC of the facial skincare market. We don’t want to compromise our quality,” she says.
She is optimistic about the continuous growth of the cosmetics industry which is now worth $1 trillion annually. “In the Philippines, it is valued $2.1 billion. That is why local manufacturers and associations push for GMP [Good Manufacturing Practice] standards so that they are export-ready. Our company is already GMP and halal-certified, with our products going to Malaysia, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and others,” says Stalder.
Stalder says aside from the people in her hometown, she wants to help mothers in other areas in terms of livelihood assistance.
“For mothers without work, my advocacy is to help them have a good business without too much capital. They can start with P2,500 and we will give a 25-percent discount on our products as long as they bring a son or a daughter with them. We are trying to teach the young minds to have an entrepreneurial mindset,” says Stalder.
“We want to empower mommies without work,” she says.
Stalder advises other entrepreneurs to have a 100-percent focus and passion for their chosen business. “Maybe this is what made us into what we are today. We are passionate about this kind of business. We love this business,” she says.
DS Cafe has stores at Gateway Mall in Cubao, Quezon City; SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City; and SM City Calamba in Laguna.
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