|Lamoiyan Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Cecilio K. Pedro|
“Initially, the brand I chose was Smile because when you brush your teeth, you are supposed to smile. When you frown, it becomes difficult to brush your teeth.
And when you smile, you look happy,” Dr. Pedro shared.
However, it turned out that the brand “Smile” already belonged to a multinational company. When they went back to the drawing board, Dr. Pedro figured that the best alternative is the word that describes the feeling of people who smile—happy.
“But I thought ‘happy’ did not seem suitable as a brand, so I changed it from ‘h-a-p-p-y’ to ‘h-a-p-e-e,’ and it became ‘hapee,’ ” Dr. Pedro said.
Dr. Pedro also said using hapee gives the brand good recall because it is familiar to all households in the Philippines and all over the world. “When you say ‘happy,’ people already know it, so the word was chosen and the rest was history.”
Indeed, the 25-year journey that followed for Lamoiyan Corporation was historic to say the least.
Dr. Pedro, started as a supplier of aluminum tubes to become a world-class toothpaste maker. He forged on, not minding the tough competition from the better-funded and well-entrenched multinationals.
By plunging into the business head first, Filipino consumers had an alternative toothpaste, one that is affordable and truly Filipino.
“We introduced good quality toothpaste at affordable prices so that many Filipinos can afford to brush their teeth regularly. We found out that a lot of Filipinos, especially those in the provinces, could not brush their teeth because toothpaste and toothbrush are expensive. That dream pushed us initially and we were not afraid to face the multinational companies because we believe there is this need to help Filipinos, especially those belonging to the poorest of the poor,” Dr. Pedro said.
“Every year we survive the competition thrown at us and we celebrate each happy moment. Every day that I wake up I consider it a happy moment, thanking God for giving me another day. There are so many challenges and difficulties in this world but it really depends on how you look at life. For me, we are so blessed as a country and as a people. We are fortunate here in Lamoiyan Corporation and we tell the world that yes, we can survive and we can compete with the best of the best in the world,” he said.
Through the years Lamoiyan Corporation has gained the services of so many wonderful people, including the hearing-impaired that make up about 30% of the company’s total workforce. They receive equal opportunities. The company also ensure that proper attention and training are given to equip them for work and life outside of work. “I call them angels sent by the Lord. When I see them, I’m happy because they were provided by the Lord.”
“We have very good experiences with the hearing-impaired, always among the top performers with 6 or 7 of the Top 10 performers of the year coming from them. It is very rewarding and fulfilling to provide jobs to those who are not as fortunate as us. At the same time we are able to promote better relationships and a culture of compassion and harmony inside the company. This, I think, is what makes us different from the world and this is what we believe is making a difference for the glory of God,” he added.
Dr. Pedro believes these “happy” moments and a positive outlook are instrumental in building Hapee Toothpaste and Lamoiyan Corporation. From its humble beginnings 25 years ago in a small facility in Paranaque City, Lamoiyan Corporation now boasts of creating over 30 flavors of hapee toothpaste.
The company also expanded its operations to include household and personal care segments through brands like Kutitap, Dazz, and Licealiz.
“We are very bullish about 2013; we believe this is the year when we will grow faster than before. This is the year where we will probably also explore exports into other countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, by the grace of God. We will again be facing the multinational companies so hopefully we will gain some footing (there) in the very near future,” Pedro said.
Who knows? In the next 25 years, probably the rest of world will also get to experience the happy moments that hapee toothpaste brings to every household.