Known as the President and CEO of the prominent perfume in the Philippines, Joel Santos Cruz was born on February 5, 1965 and conducted his studies in University of Santo Tomas with the degree of Bachelor of Science Major in Psychology.

Aside from being a degree holder, Cruz took the courage to tell his family that his calling was meant for something else — would be happier and better off as a businessman.

His mother, seeing how Joel had pined for a different life from what she had envisioned for him, and realizing that it was after all in a life of business that he had grown and from which he had imbibed the values of an entrepreneurial father, allowed Joel to follow his dream.

With his parents’ blessings, Joel then proceeded to explore the possibility of manufacturing his own clothes.

“I asked myself why I should be selling other people’s products and I had yet to source my merchandise in Bangkok and Hong Kong when I can have my own apparel manufacturing firm. After all, we were rich in talent in the Philippines,” said Joel.

“So, I started with a small shop,” he recalls.

Initially, he had the support of a friend from his UST days, Marcelino Hernandez, a fashion designer. In time, Joel himself would manufacture his own designs and deliver them to Syvel’s in Escolta, Landmark in Makati, Rustan’s, and Robinsons.

“I grew my business and that’s how I was able to save for bigger things and so my dream to become a driver came true,” he humorously said.

Unfortunately, when the Asian financial crisis reached the Philippines in 1997, everything that he earned and saved wiped out.

“I lost everything. I was back to ground zero and I left for the States hoping I could find something to do there. I was not happy in the United States. For one thing, I wasn’t used  doing my own thing, washing my own clothes, cleaning my own room, and cooking my own food. It was quite a shock for someone who was used to having a helper at home and my own staff in my office. So, I decided to come home to the Philippines in 1999.”

With a businessman spirit, he restarted.

Through the help of everyone who believed in him, little by little, he created a brand that will mark in the perfume industry.

Years later, CEO Cruz not only focus on the latter industry but he decided to invest in real estate, restaurants, and so on.

One would think that Joel Cruz, the perfume tycoon, knew from day one that he would become the person he is today, yet that was not the case for this flamboyant gentleman who, in his youth, was once a dreamer before.