An Interview with May S. Pono, Co-Founder of Ono All-Natural Skin Care

Friday, August 17, 2018

An Interview with May S. Pono, Co-Founder of Ono All-Natural Skin Care

I am a big proponent of using natural, organic, eco-friendly skincare products so I often try my best to convince more people to also make the switch. However, most of them would say they find natural/organic skincare products so expensive, making the conversion impractical for budget-conscious consumers. I actually can relate to their dilemma because there are times that I’m reluctant to buy certain brands of natural products due to their high price tag.

This is the exact same problem that inspires the birth of Ono All-Natural Skin Care – a Cebu-based brand which aims to provide effective and affordable 100% natural skincare products that cater to the masses. For the past few years, the brand has already gained loyal customers which are evident by the number of testimonials shared on their Facebook page. To give you an idea how budget-friendly their products are, their smallest bar of handmade natural soap is just less than PHP 50! They also offer discount if you buy large quantity of the products.

I’m very grateful that I got the opportunity to interview May S. Pono, co-founder of OnoAll-Natural Skin Care, to learn more about the company and its products.

Tell us about Ono All-Natural and its mission as a company?

Our mission is to provide effective and affordable ALL-NATURAL skin care to as many members of the population as possible.  We are aware that “organic” products are expensive.  We want ONO to change that.

By the way, we use “all-natural” instead of organic to emphasize that our products have zero chemicals.  Organic can mean that one or two ingredients are organic but the rest of the ingredients are chemical-based.  But when we say all-natural, it means that all ingredients are natural, and the products do not contain synthetics or chemicals.

What inspired you to start making your own organic skincare business?

Poverty.  We were not exactly poor, but we were not rich either.  One day, my husband and I realized that we’re ingesting too many chemicals (in our food, in our beverages, and even in the skin care products we put on our bodies), so we decided to shift to organic (at that time, we were not particular about the difference between organic and all-natural. It would not be until we were producing our own products that we would realize the difference).

We went to a health store to buy organic products and were aghast at the prices.  We could not afford them.  I am a lawyer, and my husband is in business, and yet we found organic alternatives to be very expensive.  I thought that if we could not afford them, how much more other people who had less in life?  Right then, it seemed to me that “health” was a privilege of the rich.  It felt like the poor had no right to be healthy.

When we went home, my husband said that if we cannot afford organic products, then we might as well make them.  That was how it began.  After the products were made, I bragged about it to my friends on Facebook and was surprised that many wanted to try them.  I was even more surprised when they liked it.  We then decided not only to sell the products, but also to sell them at the lowest prices possible to make them affordable by everyone. The rest is history.

How will you differentiate your company from other organic skincare brands?

We are different because we are not just organic. We are all-natural. As I said earlier, organic can mean that the product has one or two organic ingredients (which means that the ingredient came from the soil), but if the rest of the ingredients are synthetic, or chemical, or artificial, the product may not be as healthy an alternative as it claims to be.  These synthetic ingredients can include artificial color, artificial fragrances, hardeners, bubblers, emulsifiers, and many others which most of the public do not know about or which they have no idea went into the product.  Many of these ingredients can cause irritation and allergies, which is why some people ask why they continue to have allergies even when using “organic” products.

Our products are not only organic (meaning coming from the soil). They are also all-natural.  They have no chemicals, no synthetics and no artificial ingredients.  Our soaps use caustic soda, yes, but caustic soda evaporates completely after the curing process and nothing is left on the product when it is released for use.

What are the biggest challenges you have experienced in starting an organic skincare business?

Ironically, convincing people that our products were good was our biggest challenge. The reason people initially eyed us with suspicion is that our products were cheaper than most.  They’d say “why is this cheap?”  Automatically, they’d think that the products are not good because they are cheap.

To be clear, our products are not cheap. They are affordable, and affordable does not necessarily mean cheap.  There are three reasons why they are affordable:

(1) They come in small sizes, so we are able to price them low. Most manufacturers do not sell their products in small sizes because it means that they will have to sell bigger volumes to make the same amount of money.  But we had to do it because it was a good way to bring the prices down.

(2) Our packaging is very simple.  Organic products usually come in beautiful, fancy cardboard or paper packaging. We cannot afford it. Going fancy on the packaging means we had to increase our prices, and we did not want to do that. Not only was it impractical (i.e. you throw the packaging away when you use the product), it will also defeat our original intention of making the product affordable.  Initially, people would say “I am not buying that product because its packaging does not look nice”.  We would tell them that the “not nice” packaging is the reason our products are cheap. Now that the products are gaining popularity, people say “We are buying your products, but you should use paper to wrap them with because plastic is non-biodegradable”.  We tell them that we have to keep the packaging as it is for now because we want to keep the prices low, although we continue to study how to shift to biodegradable packaging without changing the price.

(3) We only do direct selling.  We have been approached many times by networking outfits who offered to sell our products through their network. It would have made us money, but we said no.  Networking will mean that the prices will have to be increased (to accommodate the profit margins of all the people within the network). Again, it would have defeated our original intention of making the products affordable to everyone, even the poor.

What types of skincare product do you sell?

We have soaps, creams, scrubs, shampoo bars, and a dog soap. Our soaps come in 2 sizes of 37 grams and 67 grams.  Our creams are about 45 grams net.  The scrubs, shampoo bars and dog soap are 67 grams.

What are your bestseller products?

The soaps with big sizes are the ones that are bestsellers.  They are
ONO Tea Tree soap is ideal for people with pimples or acne-prone skin.

Among the creams, the bestsellers are Anti-Itch Healing Balm (AIB), Body Butter and Facial Moisturizing Cream (FMC).

ONO Anti-Itch Balm is effective against insect bites, diaper rashes, minor cuts & wounds, among others.

Among our scrubs, Mudpack is the bestseller.

ONO Mudpack is multipurpose since it can be used as face mask, face scrub & body scrub.

Where can we buy your products?

You can buy from us directly by posting your orders at our online store  We will ship the order as soon as the order is paid.  We also have resellers in different parts of the country.  If you want to buy from a Reseller, PM us and we will give you the name of the active reseller in your town or city.

Where can they follow you on social media?

You can follow us on Facebook at this link:

What are your future plans for Ono All-Natural?

To continue making products that are affordable to everyone in our society for as long as we can, and to take things one small step at a time.  Where the business takes us in the end, we leave it all up to the Almighty, whose wisdom is greater than any human mind can ever comprehend.


Again, thank you May S. Pono for taking some time to share your company story with us J Don’t forget to checkout Ono All-Natural Skin Care to see a complete list of their products.

P.S. To always get the latest blog updates, don’t forget to follow me on Facebook.

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