How Mikee Quintos’ Reconnection To High School Friend Led To Establishing Her Beauty Store, Tribute PH

Mikee reunites with an old friend and pursues a business with her!

Mikee Quintos has proudly unveiled her online beauty store, Tribute PH.

For this beauty store, the Sparkle artist is working with Yeji Kim, a friend from High School.

The partnership blossomed in 2022 when Mikee went on a leisure trip to Korea, where she had the chance to reconnect with Yeji after almost eight years. 

Mikee Quintos
Mikee Quintos and Yeji Kim
PHOTO: @o.j.ella on Instagram

FreebieMNL—together with select media—attended the official launch of Tribute PH at Balara Studio, Quezon City, on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

During the interview, Mikee and Yeji share a glimpse of their friendship, leading to establishing their own beauty brand.  

Yeji says, “She [Mikee] visited for a vacation, ‘tapos we met after seven to eight years, di ba? Since high school, we were friends… but because of work and everything, I came back to Korea. We weren’t able to see each other [since then].”

It was also due to the pandemic in 2019 that made it impossible for them to meet. They can only manage a few bumps and small chats on social media.

Yeji explains, “Yeah, ‘Hello!’ ‘How are you?’ Ganun. Because in-between, may Corona. COVID pa. She [Mikee] wasn’t able to visit Korea.”

Then, in 2022, Mikee visited Korea. Her sole reason, in the first place, was to imitate something related to Jeon Jungkook, her bias from her favorite K-Pop boy group, BTS.

She shares enthusiastically, “I’m an army. Bias ko si Jungkook… yung unang-unang punta ko sa Korea, noong 2022, kaya ako nagpunta kasi nagpa-tattoo ako sa artist ni Jungkook. So, meron kaming tattoo from the same artist.

“‘Yun yung reason ko for flying there. Sinamahan niya [Yeji] ako kasi yung tattoo artist ni JK, hindi masyado nagE-english din. Nagta-translator [si Yeji], so nakatulong siya dun.”

Yeji is based in Korea and was working in a business incubator at that time.

Mikee, on the other hand, has a background in marketing, which rooted from her work as a celebrity. 

Their meet-up in Korea became the perfect opportunity to merge their skills for Tribute PH. 

Pointing to Yeji, Mikee explains, “Nag-catch up kami noong 2022. Napanood niyo yung ‘Start-Up,’ ‘di ba, na yung work talaga doon noong bida, sa Sandbox na naghe-help sila ng mga start-up companies. So noong nag-reconnect kami noong 2022, ‘yun yung job niya nun

“So, nakaka-help siya ng iba, parang ganun. Dun siya mismo sa parang Sandbox na partnering with different start-ups. 

“So, yung knowledge na natutunan niya from working there, ‘tapos ako, yung natutunan ko from marketing dahil kasama naman ‘yun dito sa showbiz, ‘di ba? Pinut namin ‘yun together to create Tribute. ‘Yun yung naging baby nung lahat.

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The beginning of Mikee’s business venture 

This is Mikee’s very first business, yet the young business owner stands fearless of failures for as long as it comes with a valuable lesson.

She brightly said, “They say start early, di ba? Para madapa na kung madadapa, para matuto.”

But what urged the former “Encantadia” star to start a business amidst her already stable job?

She answers, “I think it felt right. Mararamdaman mo naman ‘yun, e, when it’s time. So, all the clues were there, all the opportunity was already there, who am I to say no to God’s blessing, ‘no?”

PHOTO: Tribute PH on Facebook

Also, Tribute PH’s focus on merchandising Korean Beauty essentials is an evidence of Mikee’s heart for Korean Culture, specifically for Hallyu, to which Yeji is supportive of.

But actually, the business idea had been on her mind for already a year before Yeji came into the picture, who then offered guidance in designing its model.

Mikee said, “One year, before niya [Yeji] in-offer lang, parang naisip ko, mayroon nang ganung thoughts. ‘Tapos wala pang plans. Then one year later, dun nag-start yung planning.”

Initially, she had zero interest in skincare, but her change of heart was inspired by the sense of fulfillment she gets from practicing self-care.

She admitted, “Alam mo, when I started showbiz, wala akong interest sa ganun at all. Hindi ko alam kung bakit wala akong patience and love for it, until nakita ko na iba din yung ‘pag mayroon kang routine. 

Kapag binibigyan mo ng oras yung sarili mo, ang sarap ng pakiramdam. Parang mare-realize mo at one point, hindi mo kailangan hanapin yung love sa ibang tao.

“Plus na lang ‘yun ‘pag nabigay nila yung love and support nila sayo pero kung kaya mo iyong ibigay sa sarili mo, why look for it somewhere else, ‘di ba?”

Yeji agrees and highlights self-care as a love language for oneself. 

In her words, she says, “Skin care is the basics to everything, di ba? And I think that’s the basic step to loving ourselves.”

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They pre-released their first set of products in December 2023 at Noel Bazaar.

Mikee shares about this, “It was our first bazaar pero okay naman yung sales. Happy yung mga taong bumili. 

Medyo bago lang yung paulit-ulit mong sinasabi yung mga facts about the product. That’s new for me kasi usually, isang video lang, keri na, ‘di ba? So ito, talagang face-to-face yung selling and I’m very hands-on on that too. So bagong experience pero happy ako kasama ko si Yej.”

The official launch of the online store happened on March 6, 2024.

In the long run, they plan to expand Tribute PH’s array of products and build a physical store soon.

Mikee hopes, “Eventually, we would love to have a physical store offering not just beauty products. Like room decor, but everything Korean. So, that’s the same there.

“So, uso na ngayon yung mga physical store na may iba’t-ibang brands within that store right? So, we wanna do something like that, but everything Korean.”

Words Pamela Torres
Interview Jimpy Anarcon
Banner Art Dani Sison

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