Nena’s passion for beauty is now a worldwide business
Her parents sent her to business school in the United States after she graduated from the International School in Makati in 1986. At 18, a junior at Barat College in Illinois, the family also set her up with her first business—a deli shop in the northern suburb of Chicago.
But even with all the help and privileges bestowed on her by her family, Lorena Mondonedo-Perez, known to friends as “Nena,” knew she hadn’t quite found her passion.
Eventually she found it the hard way, starting out on her own as an accountant in a beauty supply company, where she learned the ins and outs of the beauty industry. She worked with makeup artists, skin-care specialists and hair stylists in the industry.
She loved the artistry so much that after six years, Nena left her office job to train as a makeup artist herself.
As a certified makeup artist, Nena discovered her creative side. She felt her passion and talent were finally unleashed.
It was only a matter of time when she would combine her artistry with her background in business management.
She worked in various executive positions in prominent companies. At Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon & Spa in Deerfield, she was awarded the Midwest Regional Manager of the Year Award for two consecutive years. She was promoted to the Chicago flagship branch where she managed 175 technicians. More recently, she was the Spa Director at Midtown Athletic Club in Bannockburn where she led a $2-million renovation project of the facility.
Armed with over two decades of experience, a Masters in Esthetics from the Skin Care and Spa Institute, and the support of her husband and family, Lorena decided it was time to act on her dream: In 2010, Nena Cosmetics was launched in Chicago, the first cosmetics line in the United States developed and founded by a Philippine-born entrepreneur.
Nena Cosmetics by Nena Brands, Inc. now provides a full line of skin care cosmetics and makeup services—skin creams, foundations, blushes, lipsticks, mascaras, the works.
Nena travels all over the US to hold makeup workshops. She provides women with proper tools of the trade and state-of-art training using simple but effective techniques that enhance a woman’s unique and beautiful features.
Nena Cosmetics are manufactured in the US and are sold in the States and Mexico. It is also making its way to Dubai, Spain, Hong Kong and Singapore. Recently, Nena Cosmetics has teamed up with Zalora Philippines, one the largest online shopping retailers in South East Asia (www.zalora.com.ph).
Nena said her exposure to business was influenced by her father’s pioneering entrepreneurial grit, and her mother’s fighting spirit.
Her late father, Roberto L. Mondonedo, was a mining engineer and the founder and president of Midex Phils and USA, a multimillion dollar drilling company. He had also owned and operated Apple Gold Mines in Baguio City. Her mother, Lilia B. Mondonedo, ran a law firm, Mondonedo and Associates, in Makati. Nena is the second among the Mondonedo’s brood of five.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Lorena said she was taught early-on about the importance of discipline, determination and perseverance. Rolando O. Perez Jr., Contributor
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