While businessmen are often portrayed as cunning and heartless in screenplays, we found one in real life that breaks the “mold.” Beauty and wellness brand founder and CEO Jeff Geronimo is proof that selflessness and empathy are alive in the business sector.
I was deeply touched by the story that Jeff and his now wife Trish were originally set to get married on March 18, 2020 but the unforeseen pandemic took us by storm. “We decided to postpone our plans and move the date later when things are a bit better,” he shared. He admitted to finding it difficult then to make all the adjustments until the realization dawned on him that maybe it was God’s way of reassuring them of His presence in their lives.
“Maybe it was His way of telling us that we were where we were supposed to be. That because we were just so sure of getting married, we would be able to wait for the perfect time. And thinking of it now, we became more confident and sure of our next step in life together,” he shared.
As the COVID-19 crisis hit his personal milestone, Jeff’s business was not spared. He shared the negative effect of the pandemic on his sales. “Looking back, when the surge came, sales were starting to go not-so-good. It went to the point that our passbook for the business account reached the negative figures. Raw materials were getting harder to find because of the trouble with importation of goods. Almost all of our suppliers struggled greatly in this pandemic,” Jeff recalled.
“I had good, industrious, and hopeful people with me, and I just couldn’t let them down because of the worldwide health crisis,” he said. He felt the burden of being responsible for his employees who were in turn responsible for themselves and their families. He continued, “As their leader, I needed to do something. So what I did was, I used my personal savings meant for our church wedding and to-be-constructed house. In short, aside from our wedding, being postponed, even our future home was put on-hold. What motivated me to do this was my team. We even added more employees before COVID-19 came.”
Jeff couldn’t come to terms with the idea of allowing job loss at the time. “No one wanted this pandemic to happen. Unlike other companies that closed down for good or retrenched their workers, I made sure they were kept well and safe. Their welfare is more important than the material things I dreamt of. And once I was able to establish keeping them, I spent the remaining of my savings in producing Aqua Skin products. It was as if we were all starting from scratch all over again.”
Together, Jeff and his team tried to rise up again. “With that challenge, I was able to see how each and every one of the team pursued to make the brand work. I saw their dedication, loyalty, and trust not only with the brand but with me as well,” he shared.
What seemed like a curse turned out to be a blessing. His decision to put his employees’ well-being and commit to some sacrifices paid off. “Up until now, our team is complete—growing in fact! I am utterly grateful for these individuals for putting so much of their heart and soul in Aqua Skin. And whenever I look back at the ordeal we’ve been through and I can never express the pride I have in them,” he happily shared.
It is no wonder that Aqua Skin is growing steadily from what was just a 5-man team working in an apartment unit years back. Jeff started out having little to nothing to invest, as well as no connections to aid him as a beauty market entrant. “My beginning was just from a humble home. All the success you are seeing now is the fruit of love, trust, and hard work of everyone from the team. Success never comes pouring instantly, it needs to take its time and flourish,” he said.
“Despite the hurdles of being tricked by business partners, instances of loss of sales, and the grandest of them all: the pandemic, we never stopped. The moment you stop working, you lose twice of what was already made in your craft. It’s okay to pause and to recollect, but never stop thriving if you want to be successful in business,” Jeff shared these words of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs. “Actually, the pandemic became our motivation to move forward. It works to focus on the solutions rather than the problem. Be proactive, as the say. That’s the best takeaway we can ever give anyone. Giving up is never an option, there will always be solutions coming your way. You just need to trust the process.”