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Cristina Madara: A nose for successful scents

Six months ago, Cristina Madara had to make a choice: did she want to develop her career in Vancouver, America, or the Philippines?

Six months ago, Cristina Madara had to make a choice: did she want to develop her career in Vancouver, America, or the Philippines? Armed with a product development degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in San Francisco, Cristina decided to pack up her makeup kit and move back to Manila. Establishing herself as an image consultant meant that our bachelorette had to develop her clientele so she organized tea parties. At these small gatherings, guests would ask her to apply their eye shadow and buy the cosmetic products, which suited Cristina just fine.

Soon enough, a major distributor of fragrances asked her to join them. Luxasia assigned Cristina to learn the process of judging if a scent would sell in the Philippine market. Proposals to introduce these fragrances are now coursed through her; retail prices in Europe are compared with how much they can be sold here and Cristina has the nose to see if the smell is right. Filipinas, according to our brand manager, prefer scents based on jasmine or rose. Studying the market, plotting out the brand’s marketing calendar and distribution channels are part of the long process that the fragrance has to go through before you can spray it on yourself.

As she prepares for the launch of Ferrari perfume, Cristina shares her love of quaint coffee shops and the clash between her passion and patience.

If I had to limit my travels to one city, it would be Paris or San Francisco with their amazing museums and cuisines. I enjoy shopping in Paris at Printemps and Galeries Lafayette; in San Francisco, I tremendously enjoy Union Square, Westfield and Maiden Lane. Both cities have such picturesque sceneries; it is easy to find happiness on a park bench with a good read or magazine.

I appreciate comments from my customers when they see makeup as less of a frivolity and more of a way to enhance their style. When I teach and sell makeup, people ask me for product recommendations.

Advice is easy to follow from anyone whom I believe is wise. When it comes to fragrances and products, though, if I feel strongly about something, I will go on how I feel about the product. The only time I will second-guess my opinion is if there are more people who feel the same way, especially if they give the same reason.

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My personal style signifiers are my accessories. They are my weakness. I enjoy layering pieces, watches and bangles; mixing metals silver, gold and rose gold; mixing fashion and genuine jewelry and, of course, cocktail rings. As for looks, I thoroughly enjoy a look with a bronzed warm glow and slightly lustered lips.

For grooming and style I rely on the Jing Monis salon for hair grooming and treatments with keratin. It’s a form of hair strengthening that uses gentle chemicals. My hair is naturally curly and since I have been ironing, it is less wavy, but when humidity comes, it can get drastically frizzy.

Good advice I have given is less is more, especially when it comes to talking: less talk, less mistakes.

My style icon is Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. There are two people today whom I also truly adore: Kate Bosworth and J.Crew’s style director Jenna Lyons. Both women exude effortless chic in casual wear, and during red-carpet events that call for formal attire, they are impeccably styled and accessorized without looking overdone.

Best quality about me… passionate.

A quality that I have been working to address is patience. The two Ps always come together, I guess.

The last meal that truly impressed me was in a very rustic authentic Middle Eastern restaurant in Bethlehem last Christmas. It was a humongous platter of tender meat, kebabs and grilled vegetables. So simple. Baked in a wooden oven served with lemon and different kinds of hummus. The best Lebanese meal.

The souvenirs I choose to bring home… I always do my research before traveling to a place for the first time, whether that be shopping centers or products the place is known for. I pride myself on picking up items I can only get my hands on in that specific place or country. Then, I also like bringing home chocolates or champagne.

The place that inspires me… are quaint coffee shops. I have not come across one in Manila. I have favorite coffee shops in Vancouver, San Francisco and even Madrid, where I can just think or work.

The grooming basic I am never without is sunscreen SPF 50.

My favorite website is my Confessions of a Beaute Junkie. I am proud of my YouTube channel and website, which I update regularly. It’s a great way to get introduced to new products.

The sport I do the most… I love to dance. Took ballet, was a cheer dancer, and as a form of fitness regimen, I join dance classes in Fitness First in Alabang and PlanaForma in the Fort.

After being in business, I realized that experience is really the best source of wisdom when it comes to decision-making.

In school, I learned a lot of theories that were not very helpful.

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E-mail: aurorawilson@gmail.com

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