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  • Mom We Love: Michelle Asence-Fontelera

    The businesswoman lets us in on her fragrance products for the home, how she stays inspired, and on raising a child with cerebral palsy.
    by Stephanie F. Esguerra .
  • Michelle Asence-Fontelera with kids

    Click "View slideshow" to see what's in Michelle's bag!

    With the dedication and creativity of mom, owner and founder Michelle Asence-Fontelera, successful fragrance company Zen Zest continues to expand as it introduces personal care and beauty products. She shares with us her personal favorites, how she de-stresses, and the joys and challenges of raising two boys, one with cerebral palsy.

    What’s the best thing about working in this industry?
    Fun things become work. You have the privilege to buy beauty stuff!

    Do you have any scents that were inspired by your kids, or a kiddie line?
    The anti-mosquito room spray with citronella and eucalyptus. I thought that we needed something for the kids’ room so you also repel the mosquitoes inside the room. You can also spray it on the bed because the scent lasts longer on fabric—around eight hours.

    How about your husband?
    Another thing that was inspired by my husband is our kitchen fragrance. It’s called “Chocolate Cappucino”. It’s actually coffee with a hint of chocolate, and it masks any of the unpleasant odors.

    My husband loves to eat danggit and longganisa and he doesn’t like the scent ‘pag niluto sa kitchen, so I created a scent to mask that. Because if you spray our kitchen fragrance after cooking food like dried fish, mawawala talaga ‘yung smell and it will really smell like coffee. My friends like it din.


    Do you feel that your kids share an interest with the fragrances or the personal care products?


    My two-year-old son likes to put on perfume. He just likes to smell good. He also likes my colognes.

    How do you stay inspired for your company?
    I travel abroad and I read magazines. I do a lot of research on the Net.

    What are the joys and challenges of raising two boys?
    Well, of course, just having kids is a joy in itself. The challenge of course would be the condition of my eldest son, cerebral palsy, but I’ve learned to accept that, and he’s eight years old already. He’s a very well-behaved naman, he’s very good all the time, he’s a happy boy and he’s improving.

    During the very few hours that you get to unwind, what do you enjoy doing on your own?
    Read. Instagram at 11 pm. I like reading business books, marketing books, self-help books, Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic books. We watch nice films. My husband and I, we like watching old films and we like watching Filipino films.

    What would be your word of advice for other working parents who have a special child?
    It’s really hard if they’re working. [I know that] as much as possible, they would want to be with their children and be with their children during therapy sessions, but on the other hand, they have to work so they can afford all those therapies. My advice for them is to keep praying and to accept their child for who he or she is, kasi whatever the condition is, God gave them to you.

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    Read more about Michelle in the September issue of Smart Parenting magazine!


    Photography by Rico Jose

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