The Secret Lounge’s Benjamin Sadac Spills His Secrets to Success

March 14, 2024 – Alike Editorial

In the hot, busy, and bustling streets of Metro Manila, one can feel and look “haggard” or worn down by the daily stress that we experience. Often we think, “I deserve a break!” and that’s right, we do. Somewhere where we can feel refreshed, rejuvenated, renewed, and perhaps (if you enjoy drinking), a place where we can grab a drink or two.

An oasis to the worn-down residents of Metro Manila, The Secret Lounge beauty salon and bar offers exactly all of the above. During the daytime, guests can relax and enjoy themselves with beauty treatments such as mani-pedis, foot spas, and massages. At night, relaxation takes on a different form as the space transforms into a dark bar, where you can try their signature cocktails, dance the night away, and if you’re feeling courageous, maybe even spill your secrets.

What’s that? You’ll tell me yours if I tell you mine? Well, I’m not sure that I want to, but Benjamin Sadac, a founding co-owner of The Secret Lounge, spilled his secrets to success with Alike.

From Riding Waves To Making Waves

In the beginning, Benjamin never envisioned himself living in the Philippines. Like a lot of Filipino children, Benjamin grew up in a traditional household that believed in the usual spiel for success: stay in school, get a job, and climb the ladder. But Benjamin knew that he was meant for other things, so he sought out opportunities to work outside the country.

After almost a decade working in the hospitality industry of both luxury cruise and airlines, Benjamin returned to the Philippines armed with a fresh perspective and an open mind. “I decided to come to the Philippines and to see what opportunity I can have here. But the goal is only to stay for a few months, not even to stay for a longer period of time. My plan was to either migrate to Canada, New Zealand, Australia, or the [United] States. During that time, that’s what my intention was,” he said.

Putting together a company with his former cabin crew colleagues, Benjamin forayed into the real estate business. “My experience back then is in hospitality. So I was like, ‘Okay, this is easy.’ But then it wasn’t, I kind of underestimated the industry.” he said.

After putting up his own brokerage company, Benjamin dipped his toes into the lifestyle industry. Returning to Manila from his trip to El Nido, Benjamin shifted his real estate focus to island and resort properties. From there, Benjamin would also go into the beauty business, with the opening of The Secret Lounge speakeasy beauty lounge.

Much like living in the Philippines, Benjamin wasn’t sure if the beauty industry was a venture he was interested in. “It’s not totally my cup of tea at the time, but I’ve seen the opportunity to do something there. And then, I told my partner that I’m going to get on board with this business,” he said. This gamble has paid off. At present, The Secret Lounge has three branches in Metro Manila: 28th Street in Bonifacio Global City, Mother Ignacia Ave. in Quezon City, and Aguirre Ave in BF Parañaque.

On struggles, lessons, and realizations

There is no doubt that Filipinos are skilled and hard workers in the hospitality industry. Knowing these things, Benjamin wanted to go beyond these expectations. “I wanted to prove to myself that Filipinos are more than what other people see,” he said. “There are stereotypes that we excel in nursing or hospitality, but for me, to be part of it is one thing. To become a mover and shaker of the industry is another. So, I pushed myself to the limit.”

Being away from the motherland, Benjamin had to be on his toes and adapt to a foreign culture. “I was assigned in Europe, so it’s very challenging. So you need to keep up with them and the way they do things,” he said.

This didn’t hold him back. “During that time, I told myself, ‘I’m not going to settle for less.’ In a span of a few years, I was able to climb the ladder and eventually became the head of my department. The experience gave me that grit that structured me with the things that I’m doing now in business,” he said.

It’s his can-do attitude that drives his success. When asked how he faces challenges, Benjamin answered, “It’s all about mindset. For me, it’s all about learning. Whatever happens now, I learn from it. I don’t believe in failure, but I believe in learning so that’s how I see it for others.”

He also advised aspiring entrepreneurs to focus on their strengths. “I focus on my strengths in any business that I do,” he said. “For example, I understand numbers, but I’m not good at it. My strengths are in operations, PR, and marketing. So, in any business that I do, that’s where my focal point is.”

Community is also an important aspect for Benjamin. “When you create a community, it will solidify you from the ground up in building a business. One of the reasons why my business survived after the pandemic is because I reached out and created a community beforehand.”

Most importantly, Benjamin wants you to ask yourself, “What is your purpose?”

“You should know your purpose. You need to have a vision, a short-term and long-term vision for the company. From there, I think it will direct you to the right thing,” he said.

What lies ahead

The sky seems to be the limit for Benjamin. From cabin crew worker to becoming a business owner, he seems to be sure-footed in his steps even under shaky circumstances. Currently, the entrepreneur is planning to open two new projects: a bar in Poblacion and a club in Makati Cinema Square. As he spoke passionately about these upcoming ventures, one cannot help but admire his confidence and passion for his businesses.

Emanating his admirable can-do, go-getter attitude, Benjamin leaves us with one piece of advice: “If you see an opportunity, just grab the opportunity that is in front of you.”


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