Female Visionary: Luxe Group CEO Anna Magkawas Shares Rare Snippets From Childhood

By Marane A. Plaza

Anna Magkawas, CEO of Luxe Beauty and Wellness Group, is probably one of the recognizable faces among the new generation of entrepreneurs today. From luxury fashion to wellness and beauty industries, the female visionary has shown the world that her business leadership goes beyond the social media hype.

In an in-person interview with Stylish Magazine and Style Visionary Network, Anna shared her humble beginnings from childhood, and how she discovered her business acumen at such a young age.

“During my childhood, lumaki akong malayo sa parents kasi nasa Manila sila for work. (I was raised away from my parents because they were in Manila for work.) My siblings and I were raised by our grandparents in Tiaong, Quezon Province. I think the first people to influence me though when it comes to business were my parents, because we had a small eatery in Boni, Mandaluyong. I stayed there during kindergarten before I studied gradeschool in the province. We had a canteen and a videoke hub there. My father was also a jeepney driver,” she said.

“I think ever since I was a kid, I’ve always known that I wanted to have my own business someday when I grow up,” Anna shared.

“I remember me and my cousins used to gather around before to watch TV together, and what I would do was go to a sari-sari store to buy snacks that I could sell to them. I would buy a snack for 2 pesos each, and would sell it for 2 pesos and 50 centavos. So in my head, I would have 50 cents for myself for each one I’d sell. I was already so happy with that because I would have savings. Then at school, I would use my lunch money as my capital to sell snacks. Sometimes I would ask my grandmother to cook champorado that I could sell to my neighbors. So I enjoyed doing that, gaining profits, even as a kid.”

The businesswoman shared she was always into sales, which confused some acquaintances because she was a shy kid.

“People who knew me were always wondering how I could pull off selling anything because I was always a shy person. I was too shy I could not even say hi to people unless they say hi to me first. I was too shy to approach people, but then when I would sell, my confidence would come out,” she said.

By high school, she became the president of YEX, a youth organization of aspiring entrepreneurs. “It’s fun because it was like we were being prepared to run a business. I was the leader. We had a store in our school and I’d choose what products to sell there. I was doing the inventory and all the sales. Somehow, it was my stepping stone in business because I learned a lot about cash flow,” she explained.

It was in college that Anna really felt she needed to earn money as she was faced with the financial struggles of her family. She was transferred from a private school to a state university.

“During college, I went back to Manila and I was really struggling in school, especially with tuition fees. So I needed to get my hands on more side hustles. I decided to do direct sales for companies like Boardwalk and Natasha. My board mates would buy items from me like shampoo, clothes– you name it.”

She was trying to finish her degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering. “I knew the course was far from my career now. But I just really wanted to finish a college degree so I can pursue a better future for myself. I was a working student and really worked hard to have good grades. It was during this time when I first discovered that I wanted I really wanted to start a business in the future. I became a part of a direct sales company from Thailand too, so I would so multi-level marketing on the side for more extra cash. I would literally give flyers to students to make sales. My mindset was I could do business on the side, even if I was studying.”

“After college, I didn’t take the board exam. I was so decided I wanted to have a job right away, so I worked as a call center agent, then as a sales agent for a photocopier machine brand. I also became a medical representative. I did all I could to make money as a full-time employee because in my head, if I would choose to take the board exam first, I would need to shed out money again instead of earning money already.”

In one of her full-time jobs, she decided to sell bags for extra income.

“I was selling low-end bags at first. But there was one client who was asking me for a Louis Vuitton purse. She told me her budget was 25,000 pesos. And I was thinking, ‘do people really allot this much money for a bag?’ So I researched where can I buy this particular Louise Vuitton bag and I found this Japanese store of pre-loved bags. I saw other suppliers of various designer bags along the way. So I found this pre-loved LV bag and I got it for 20,000pesos, and sold it for 25,000php.”

“I eventually opened my bag store in 2015. I really became an expert in determining genuine designer bags from replicas.”

It was the birth of her now successful designer bag store: LuxOnlinePh. The store brand now has branches in a number of malls in the metro.

Anna eventually grew her audience online as she would share her expertise in designer bags in her social media, particularly through her vlogs on her YouTube channel dubbed as Bag Talks by Anna. She would share her hauls, her hacks to determining real from fake designer bags, to even bag raids with celebrities.

By pandemic though, when the malls were shut due to lockdown, she would start hearing comments from her social media fans that she should start her own wellness brand so they can support her.

“Our social media followers would encourage us to start a beauty or wellness line so they can support me during the pandemic, particularly those who expressed they could not afford buying designer bags from me anyway, so they would rather want to show support by buying wellness or beauty products.”

By 2021, Anna launched the Luxe Group, a beauty and wellness direct selling company.

She first introduced Luxe Skin, a beauty brand first introduced with its skin essentials line as anchor products. Today, Luxe Skin offers over 12 different skincare products raved by celebrities and influencers.

After the successful launch of Luxe Skin, Luxe Group then ventured to another product line called Luxe Slim, which specializes in products designed for those who want to live a healthier life and more active lifestyle.

In 2023, Anna’s company launched Luxe Cosmetics, a brand of high-quality cosmetics and personal care products.

Her high quality products have earned the trust and loyaty of beauty and wellness aficionados, as well as aspiring entrepreneurs. The good reputation of the quality of her wellness offerings have made it easier for her direct sellers to maintain their good sales performance, following and business. Luxe Group has provided opportunities for aspiring businessowners across the Philippines to start their own enterprise selling the products– which then has quickly spread across the USA, UAE, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Hongkong, Hawaii, Singapore, Germany, Japan, and Sweden.  

Anna takes pride in empowering women and entrepreneurs by providing economic and business opportunities through her company. She shared with us what she thinks are the strenghts of women just like herself in business.

“Maybe for us women, our being more expressive is a strenght in business. We women are not afraid to say more, to explain more what do we want to do in business, or what is the purpose of what we are doing. We are more expressive in encouraging our staff, our clients and the people around us. I think, being emotional is good for women in business too, although it has pros and cons. Being emotional can help us relate more easily to people and then translate that to what we can offer.”

This story is also available on our lifestyle-business platform Style Visionary Network.