Profiles, Stories

Dioceldo Sy, Part 2: Shaking Up The Cosmetics Industry

In our second interview with Dioceldo Sy, the Ever Bilena Cosmetics founder and Blackwater Elite owner shares advice from the influential people in his life, stories on running Ever Bilena with family, and his thoughts on the next generation of entrepreneurs and market-shakers in the country. 


Sy cites his grandfather as his biggest influence growing up, being the eldest grandson and the favorite among his grandparents. He played basketball in his high school days, but he had to stop a potential PBA career in it to support his grandfather’s cosmetics company that was not doing well at the time, which led to him becoming a working student, only studying at night. He took up Management and Marketing Philippine School of Business and Administration. 

He reminisces on a chance encounter with Henry Sy, Sr. himself while he was in SM’s Department Store in Makati. “He was able to share with me his success, his ideas…I learned a lot from all those talks, things that I never learned in school, but it was shared to me by the man himself,” he says on his chats with the elder Sy.  

He had a difficult time period after his grandfather’s store closed shop in 1980, and he was “selling practically anything under the sun” to earn a living for the next three years. Eventually, he decided to return to the industry he was familiar with – cosmetics. That led to the beginning of Ever Bilena when he was just 25, which started with nail polish. “I [went] back to visit my old clients in Divisoria, Visayas, and Mindanao, [paid] them a visit, and introduced myself and my nail polish to them, and they all gratefully supported me as a young kid, [since] all the older store owners loved to the help young guys [like me],” he shared.


Sy looks back at the advice given to him by the late tycoons, John Gokongwei and Henry Sy – “‘Keep on pushing. Before you know it, you’ll be ahead of others.’ True enough, after pushing myself, I pushed my people, and my management team,” he shares, which he cites as a reason how Ever Bilena lasted this long for the past 37 years. “I’m still pushing [my team]…And even if you are #1 in the market, you are the target. So even if you push yourself, it’s gonna be hard for competitors to target you so keep pushing. But once you stay idle on the top, then they will overtake you for sure,” he explains. 

Still in good health and with a drive to continue the business, he still oversees Ever Bilena as President and CEO, and guides his daughter Denice who joined the company as Sales & Marketing Officer. “I’m still here overlooking the company, so it’s a good thing that I’m still healthy, I can help my daughter Denice to do her job and guide her. It’s a good thing she joined, [because] there’s a lot of hi-tech things which I think I’m not good at, and it’s a turn of the millenials to go in and take over, so I just share to them what I know, and I learn from them.”

In terms of priorities, Sy prioritizes God in the center above all, and then taking care of his people and employees is second. “It’s like a basketball team. Michael Jordan cannot win on his own. It has to be teamwork, so that’s why I always tell my people, ‘We have to work as a team, move as a team, and everybody should be on the same page so everything is well-coordinated. Otherwise, if you don’t do that, it’s going to be sabog. It’s so hard to run a company like that,” he says on why coordination and agreement are important.

Dioceldo Sy (left) with his daughter, Denice (right). Taken from GMA News


“Everybody is allowed to dream, but a dream cannot happen if you cannot do anything. You have to work on it, persevere. There should be a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to accomplish that dream. If you accomplish that dream, that is the way to success. Just work on it, persevere and have patience. There’s no such thing as instant success,” he advises. “You have to really build a house on solid foundation, and slowly do the dirty work, and eventually success will come in the latter part of your life.”

“It boils down to marketing and the needs of our market. As you go along, you will recognize and understand that the market is not singular,” he explains as the reasons behind the different types of products behind the Ever Bilena, Careline, and Blackwater brands, among others. Sy is proud of shaking the market by bringing down prices of cosmetics and makeup in the country in comparison to expensive imported brands back in the day, paving the way for more local brands and entrepreneurs to enter the cosmetics industry as well. “Make the product very affordable, and always make sure the price is not more than 50% of our minimum wage, otherwise the product is gonna be tough to sell if you’re gonna go more than that,” he shares as advice for the next generation. 

Sy does not believe in luck – only hard work, and God’s blessing and guidance. He counsels the younger businesspeople to be wise on investments, from not spending too much of excess money to being knowledgeable of the backgrounds of the companies being invested into. With Ever Bilena paving the way, he’s glad that there are now more people who have stepped up, saying, “I’m happy for all these young entrepreneurs. Maybe they’re looking at us as the market leaders. It’s an open market. At least there’s a lot of players now, unlike before. The more, the merrier.”

If you want to learn more about this Chinoy, watch his extended CHiNOY Profiles here, and check out the first part here! You can read our first interview with Sy here.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply