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BE HAPPY

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[The welcome sign at the storefront of Clinique’s first standalone in the Philippines]

As a writer as well as a reader, I’m always mindful of consistency.

Maybe this is why, to the consternation of my art directors, I never submit any draft without some format, whether in my choice of font or special margins or even alignment, although the format and design are often really only for my pleasure. Mostly, I leave the art directors to decide whether or not to be influenced by the way I lay out my draft.

Yesterday’s store opening of Clinique at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City, its first standalone store since it entered Philippine retail more than a decade ago, was a study in consistency. The theme of the store launch was simple — “Be Happy” — and everything, including the white dress code for the managers, organizers, and staff, had to at least try to reflect or inspire those simple yet profound words, two words so easy on the ear yet so difficult to do.

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[Sense&Style‘s fashion/beauty editor and creative director Hector M. Reyes and Clinique’s Mira Villanueva]

A film was in the loop, showing vignettes of real-life “happy” stories, sourced from all over the world for Clinique’s annual short film competition, which encourages the consumers to share their ideas and experiences on how to give and receive happiness.

The launch party was one such experience. Happiness was right there in the room with us, in all of its eighty square meters of sleek, stark, ultramodern space.

Most refreshing is the store’s sensitivity to the different moods of the buying public. As brand group head Kay Fidelin showed me, these bracelets are a testament to the brand’s commitment to the kind of retail experience the Clinique shopper expects when he or she walks into the store. Color coded, one of three bracelets is to be worn at the store to make it clear to the staff what kind of service you expect or desire — green if you are in need of consultation; pink if you wish to browse in peace; and white if you are in a rush.

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[These bracelets come in handy, whether you are the type of shopper who wants to be left alone or the type who wants help in deciding which product to try.]

On opening day, indeed, happiness was the tie that bound the entire afternoon affair together. Happiness was everything as happiness was everywhere.

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It was in the drinks…

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It was in the cupcakes, from the Red Velvet to the flourless chocolate…

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It was in the centerpiece of the cupcake buffet, a towering four-tiered cake with all the colors and flavors of happiness, right smack in the middle of the table brimming with goodies…

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And, of course, there were all these happy products, such as this Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Balm, third on the Five Best Sellers list at Clinique.

A facial room is also in store, in case you find yourself in the area and needing a quick fix.

The opening ceremonies at Clinique’s first standalone store in the Philippines were about happy, happy, happy and, if I may use the word again at the risk of overusing it, if I haven’t yet, I am happy the people behind the brand didn’t stray an inch from the goal in executing their vision.

Just when I thought I couldn’t be happier, I got a small vial of Clinique Happy for Men, which I now keep in my pocket. It really is only a few drops of happiness in a small bottle, but a few drops is all it takes.

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