Fashion retailer turned fragrance magnate Joel Cruz has weathered a major business crisis that led him to discover the business of perfumery. It was, by chance, that he got to meet a businessman from Germany who introduced him to European fragrance oils, which are used to manufacture world-class quality products at mass pricing.
Central Affirmative Co. Inc. was born in the late ‘90s and the brand Aficionado was set for IPO registration in September 2000 and has exponentially grown to offer franchising opportunities, direct dealership, domestic and international distributorship, tolling, contract manufacturing, and personalizing services. With the brand being accessible in major supermarkets, drugstores, and convenience stores nationwide.
With the many awards the company has received, including The ASEAN Business Awards 2017 Nomination for Oustanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship for Joel Cruz, one would think that he has it all. “There was this longing to have a family of my own. Having your own family is a different kind of fulfillment.” Adoption was out of the question for Cruz: “I decided to go for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) as I wanted to have my own. I tried it here in the Philippines with a Singaporean doctor, buying eggs from foreigners as I wanted a mix of Asian and Caucasian. Their attempts failed. I, then, decided to go out of the country where IVF is advanced and well accepted. I was supposed to go to Ukraine, but being a single father is not legal there; only couples who cannot bear children are allowed. I was advised to go to Moscow instead. That is where I utilized the services of a law firm. They provided everything from the selection of a surrogate to the medical services, from documentation until birth.”
The Joys of Fatherhood
To date, Cruz has three sets of twins, with another one on the way this month of June. “I wanted eight kids. I am actually having a seventh baby as we speak. It is a baby boy. The baby is from the same mother, so all seven kids are actually siblings.”
His first set of twins are named Prince Sean and Princess Synne. “I added the Prince and Princes as I was popularly referred to as ‘The Lord of Scents.’ I thought that if there is a lord, there should be a prince and a princess,” explains Cruz. The second set are named Prince Harry and Prince Harvey. “I was inspired by our travel to the U.K. The third set is likewise inspired by the British Royal family, Charles and Charlotte. Although in Russia, they did not allow me to add the prince and princess as names anymore and I just followed suit.” He plans to name his seventh child, Zade.
When meeting his children for the first time, he would do the same thing. “I would whisper to them, ‘Daddy is here,’ and they would smile at me. However, the more touching moment for me was when I first heard the words ‘Daddy, I love you.’ That was a happy moment for me and a fulfilling one indeed.”
Working Daddy Duties
Cruz is a workaholic, and he stays up late at night. Sometimes, even until early morning before the kids get ready for school. He adds, “They usually come over to my bed for a brief pep talk.” He goes back to sleep when the kids are off to school, and brings them to work in the late afternoon when they get back.
“We also play together in my bedroom in the morning and call it ‘Wakey Wakey Time.’ They jump up and down on my bed. I make it a point to give each of the attention and a hug. They also love playing with my accouterments, like pretending to massage me with Aficionado Massage Oil. These are simple things that make us happy,” shares Cruz.
Known to be a hands-on CEO, he makes sure to leave reminders on the nursery door such as being mindful of proper hygiene. “I teach them the use of our products such as Aficionado Liquid Hand Soap and Hand Sanitizer. I make this an activity with them to make it a fun learning habit.” He also has a note on the fridge that serves as a reminder on feeding them with healthy food. “It really is a balancing act, and time management is important. It requires manpower and logistics to care for my children. Our company, Aficionado, is already established here in the Philippines, and we want to grow our business in the international market and this is why I have to do a lot of business travels. If the school would permit, I would bring them along with me in my travels and this is our bonding moment.”
For inquiries about Aficionado business opportunities, please call 74-00000 or 740-8888. Visit their website at www.aficionado.com.ph or check them out via social networking sites (facebook.com/aficionadoPH ; twitter.com/aficionado_ph ; instagram.com/aficionado_ph ; youtube.com/aficionadoPH).