Shekainah Chen Shares What it Takes to be the CEO
The Diet Coach’s owner gets candid about running a business.
If you know about The Diet Coach, then chances are, you also know about its 24- year-old founder, Shekainah Chen. A YouTuber, a mom, a wife, and the CEO of her own company, she knows a thing or two about having to intentionally create time for self-care despite a busy schedule. And this is exactly why she is her brand’s first customer and it’s perhaps the reason for TDC’s success.
With a company that has closely associated its products with the word “glow”, Shek makes it a point to show her readers that she herself looks and feels good with the help of the products she’s created. It all seems like a well-oiled machine to a spectator’s point of view but The Diet Coach wasn’t actually always the game plan for Shek. Those who know her may have thought that starting her own brand was a natural thing for her, what with her family having their own business and her very own business degree under her belt, the CEO admits that she did not plan to be in this industry and it only happened after a series of events and an introduction to collagen. She shares, “I never expected that I’d be in the beauty and supplement industry because I’m a business graduate and our family is engaged in the manufacturing industry. But ever since talaga, I’ve always had some body image issues so I was interested in products that could potentially help me. Pero siyempre, before trying any product, I do extensive research first and I find that I quite enjoy reading articles about it.”
With a somewhat serendipitous start for the brand, The Diet Coach has now become a go-to for those looking for quality, locally-owned beauty and health supplement products minus the hefty price tag, with Shek at its helm.
As she celebrates her 25th birthday this month—amusingly only one month after The Diet Coach’s own anniversary— Shekainah shares the mutual love between her and her Shekitings and how she’s helping them get #TheCEOGlow, her humble beginnings, and what's next for The Diet Coach.
The Diet Coach just turned one! Can you share how you started the company?
I started The Diet Coach when I was at the lowest point of my life. I quit my job at our family business because my boss (Dad) and I had a lot of disagreements and I felt like I was no longer growing as a person. My parents hated the idea and they cut me off— my allowance, salary, and even stopped paying my bills just so I would go back.
At that time, I only had my small YouTube channel and a small amount of savings. The videos that I was initially doing on the side suddenly became my only source of income. So, I was left with no choice but to step up my vlogging game to sustain my lifestyle. I actually remember posting my weight loss before and after photo on Facebook without the intention of selling anything and my friends asked me what product I used to help manage my weight. Na-realize ko na pwede siyang maging negosyo because at that time, super sikat ‘yung mga imported na makeup then ire-resell online. Naka relate ako sa business model na ‘yun since the product I used was from the USA too.
I started with 10 bottles and since my savings was not enough, I used my credit card as puhunan. My initial capital was P35,000 and I think 'yung kita ko was P2,000 lang. Surprisingly, na sold out 'yung initial 10 bottles in just a day. Lumaki ng lumaki 'yung orders and hindi ko ginagalaw ‘yung pera talaga until kaya na mamuhunan for larger orders. I just started in my bedroom and I kept all of my stocks sa cabinet ko. It's still surreal to me to see how far The Diet Coach has come.
It’s no secret that you champion collagen any chance you get and have integrated it in most of The Diet Coach’s products. What made you love this particular ingredient so much?
I had a very bad breakout that required me to go to my derma every week so I got to talk to my doctor about my skin concerns pretty often. Because of that experience, nagkaroon ako ng credible source of information. I got addicted to effective but really costly treatments. It was actually my Ate that tried collagen supplements first and she asked me to try it also. Nakita ko agad ‘yung results and it was my first time to see results that drastic from a skin supplement. It became my trusty skincare ingredient and it helped me cut down on my skin treatment expenses but I still get glowing skin.
Honestly, I never really intended to sell collagen supplements. Not until pati ako, namroblema na ko sa limited choices sa market. I fixed what needed to be fixed (price, taste, after-service, etc.) then had my own collagen line!
What were some of the biggest struggles you experienced when starting up a business?
First thing is capital. Nahirapan talaga ako sa capital ‘cos I was so young when I started. I think I was only 21 years old. Then ‘nung nag launch kami ng Ultra Collagen Drink, hindi ko inexpect na sobrang mamahalin siya ng tao. We only had 25,000 bottles as our initial inventory and as we speak, we’ve already sold 1M bottles and counting! Insane! Second: planning. To all of the young brands out there, don’t get discouraged if you can’t figure everything out right away and you feel like lagi kayong naghahabol. Take it one step at a time. It’s one of our greatest struggles in the beginning and until now, we still encounter it once in a while.
What are some of the memorable experiences you've had with The Ultra Business Partners?
One of the most memorable would be seeing them grow as an entrepreneur. I am really committed to training young individuals to be competent entrepreneurs. ‘Nung nagsisimula pa lang kami, my SHEKitings, even though wala pa silang experience with selling, trusted me and the brand. They helped me with things I needed help with, and I tried my best to help them too. A year after, I see stronger SHEKipreneurs!
Did you expect The Diet Coach to have so much community support?
Actually, I didn’t foresee na ganito lalaki ‘yung brand when I just started. I wanna thank my SHEKitings for trusting me and of course the Ultras who continuously believe in my vision. I appreciate you all and rest assured, we will continue to do the very best for our brand!
What are your future plans for the brand?
My future plans are still based on the exact reason why I started this brand. I want to carry products that aim to help. Products that are effective and cost-efficient. Right now, the team and I are working on developing new products that WE need. There will be something for everyone soon! *wink*
What's your birthday wish?
TDC HQ! We’ve been saving up for our very own warehouse and office to accommodate all of your orders, Ultras! So close yet so far!