With the uncertainty brought about by COVID-19, more young people have boldly considered entrepreneurship as a proactive means of taking hold of their future.

One such inspiring entrepreneur is Abi Belisario-Cariño, 29, who used to work as a makeup artist in Manila.

Growing up, Abi was always interested in makeup. She would meticulously observe her mom and aunts do their makeup and try to recreate the looks by herself. When she had the opportunity to study makeup, she enrolled in a short course in Sydney, Australia.

“When I arrived back in Manila, I did some commercial makeup gigs and makeup for events. I could not believe seeing my work on billboards and on television. It was a dream come true!” says the International Hospitality Management graduate from Enderun Colleges.

She believes that beauty is all about confidence. “As a makeup artist, it really gives me so much joy to see how I put a smile on my client’s faces whenever the beauty that they already have is amplified with my work,” enthuses Abi who also worked as a social media manager for a start-up company.

Starting up

When the pandemic struck, however, Abi had to stop doing makeup for clients because of health protocol restrictions. So, she decided to set up her online business. Being obsessed with buying loungewear for herself, she thought of making her own loungewear brand called Nightykins.

“Establishing my own brand was challenging. It was not an easy task to get customers right away but once I had clients, I really must be open to their suggestions and comments,” she divulges.

Initially, doing a start-up during the height of the pandemic had its fair share of adjustments. “I only had the chance to talk to my customers through social media whereas before, I met clients face-to-face when I did makeup.”

Aside from establishing her business, there was another milestone in Abi’s life during the pandemic. She and Paolo, an advertising professional, tied the knot in an intimate ceremony in her cherished hometown. Abi’s childhood years were fondly spent in Davao where her parents Doctors Manuel and Pacita Belisario are still based.

The right frame of mind

“My husband, who was born and raised in Manila really enjoyed the slower-paced lifestyle as well as the food, culture, and healthy environment,” shares Abi.

The couple loved Davao so much that they uprooted their respective careers in Manila to settle down here and open a new business concept called I Can! Studios.

The self-shooting studio lets customers take portraits by themselves with all the equipment of a professional photography studio. “No awkward poses in front of a stranger. Plus, you can take enough time to create fun photos in a safe space,” Abi explains.

With her various business and career experiences, Abi has these valuable tips for aspiring young entrepreneurs:

“First, never stop learning. Nothing good ever comes out of staying in your comfort zone. Second, always be open to change and that includes negative comments and criticisms. Lastly, hard work beats talent. Remember, the greenest grass are the ones that you water,” advises Abi.

Undoubtedly, having the right frame of mind can spell success for dreamers who are also doers during this new normal.


E-mail the author at mom.about.town.dvo@gmail.com. Visit http://momabouttowndavao.blogspot.com/.