Mostyoung adults these days would admit that their childhood was once filled with all-Hello Kitty school supplies, Little Twin Stars utensils or My Melody beddings. Some would even remember fantasizing a roomful of Sanrio character-themed furniture and accessory.
It seems, however, that while ‘70s up to the ‘90s kids are now all grown, they have not shed their fantasies of owning anything that bear these Japanese original characters.
Local makeup brand Happy Skin discovered this fact when, after asking their online followers for a suggestion on who to collaborate with, Sanrio came out unbeaten on top.
“We asked our online fans for suggestion and Sanrio came out as number one. And so, we actively sought Sanrio’s approval for a collaboration earlier this year,” Happy Skin co-founder Rissa Mananquil-Trillo recalled to The Manila Times during their makeup launch in SM Aura.
The result of this response to a public clamor is a 23-piece of makeup and beauty collection, consisting of blush powders, sponges, gel polished and lippies. Collectively, it is dubbed “Happy Skin ♥ Sanrio Characters!”
“We are proud to be the first-ever cosmetic partner of Sanrio in the Philippines and so it is but fitting for us to come up with our biggest collection ever, consisting of 23 pieces,” Mananquil-Trillo further noted.
Deep connection with Filipinos
For the model-turned-entrepreneur it was easy for her beauty company to offer Sanrio-themed collection because of the Filipinos’ close connection with the characters.
In 1975, a year after Yuko Shimizu created the character of Hello Kitty, Sanrio’s first store in the Philippines and the first-ever store outside its home country, Japan, was opened.
“We are actually the first ones to get our hands on Sanrio items. Prior to the opening of Sanrio, the brand was only available in Japan. Thus, Fililpinos can claim that we are the longest fans of Sanrio,” Mananquil-Trillo analyzed.
For the beauty mogul, Filipinos have Virgie Ramos—the first Filipina who brought Sanrio to the Philippines and the first-ever licensee of the company outside Japan—to thank for the early exposure to Hello Kitty, My Melody and My Little Twin Stars, among other Sanrio character.
“I believe she was the first one the Sanrio family trusted to bring the brand outside Japan because she really embodies the Sanrio philosophy of giving the gift of happiness. We would not be growing up with Sanrio if not for her,” Mananquil-Trillo shared.
The deep affinity, however, did not mean that it was a walk in the park for Happy Skin to come up with their collection.
As Sanrio has some of the world’s most devoted fans, both brands ensured during product development that every single detail—from the packaging to the colors and shade names—would meticulously reflect Hello Kitty, My Melody, and Little Twin Stars.
Lippie sets take the shape of hearts and stars as a homage to the characters; the colors reflect the characters’ unique color palettes; even the shade names were selected based on each character’s personality and interests.
“Just like any global brand, they have the dos and don’ts and the mandatory like which should be on packaging or how Hello Kitty should look. I also learned that they’ll know if that ribbon is not Hello Kitty’s, that’s how sharp their eyes are to their own brand and it’s amazing,” Mananquil-Trillo informed The Manila Times.
Highlights of the collection include the Get Cheeky With Me All-Day Hydrating Blush in Hello Kitty (peach) and My Melody (wine-red) shades.
The Shut Up & Kiss Me Moisturizing Lippie in Hello, Hello Kitty (apple pie color), in Berry Good (deep berry) as well as the Liquid Matte Lippie in in Twinkle Twinkle (nude honey) were instant favorites.
In ending, Mananquil-Trillo believed that Happy Skin’s second collaboration with a global brand, the first of which was with Disney in 2016, is a stamp of approval for the proudly Filipino company.
“It means that we meet their standards and I think it’s something that Filipinos should be proud of.”