Female entrepreneur brings health, wellness to more Filipinos through infrared tech

March 23, 2023 - 3:23 PM
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Katherine Alejar, i3 Inc.’s CEO and chief innovator (Released)

A marketing executive is seeking to help the public in their weight loss journey and address health problems through advanced infrared technology.

Katherine Alejar, the CEO of a marketing firm called i3 Incorporated, is also the sole distributor of Vital Dome, an advanced therapy machine that uses far infrared rays (FIR) technology for health and wellness.

The “i3” equates to three I’s that mean “initiate, innovate and integrate.” It is a full-service marketing communications agency that has been helping brands stand out in the market since 2014.

In 2019, Alejar decided to launch another product to her agency’s portfolio—a sauna-like machine from France called Vital Dome.

It is promoted as a health and wellness device that uses FIRs to regenerate the skin and give patients a multitude of benefits. These include weight and pain management, detoxification, and revitalized skin.

In an interview, Alejar explained that Vital Dome is not just for beauty, but it is also developed for health maintenance amid the “new normal” under the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s not just a machine for beauty and, in the post-pandemic scenario, it’s timely because this is exactly what we need. After living under the specter of COVID-19, we need to think of ways to live healthier lives. The Vital Dome is one such way,” she said.

Katherine Alejar i3 Inc.’s CEO and chief innovator (Released)

It started with her Sciatica problem

Alejar recalled that her Sciatica prompted her to use Vital Dome for her herself. She said that four doctors have already recommended surgery to treat her condition.

Sciatica refers to pain along the sciatic nerve, which is located from the lower back to each leg.

“Nung bago mag-pandemic, I had a Sciatica din. So kailangan ng surgery ‘pag may Sciatica ka,” she said.

Instead of undergoing surgery, Alejar tried different alternative treatments, citing physical therapy, chiropractic and epidural injection in her spine.

None of these made the pain go away. The corporate executive resorted to trying out the dome for herself.

Alejar stated that using it for her condition would also serve as proof if the product works or not.

“Kung ‘di mag work yung Vital Dome, ‘di ko na ibebenta to kasi baka mapahiya tayo. Sabi ko I would stop doing this business,” Alejar said.

“E nag-iimprove. Little by little. Sabi ko maybe, there’s hope,” she added.

Alejar said that the pain went away after two to three months of using the device.

She also said that she rented a unit at home for weight loss purposes when the pandemic lockdowns hit.

In two months, on top of a healthy lifestyle, Alejar lost 18 pounds.

These experiences led her to promote this technology both for weight and pain management.

 

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Her first big break journey

Alejar’s road to being the sole distributor of a France-based apparatus and handling marketing services was filled with difficulties from the start.

She shared that she got the idea of launching Vital Dome in the Philippines from a French friend who has ties with the company.

Alejar quickly saw its potential in the Philippine market after she saw what it looks like.

After trying it out herself, the entrepreneur pushed for an exclusive distributorship from the French brand.

“He flew to Manila and then we flew to Hong Kong to try it. And then, nung triny ko, sabi ko this machine works. And then, after that, talagang pinush ko magkaron ng exclusive distributorship,” she said.

The hardships did not stop there. Alejar said that it took her seven months to get her first client, Z’Shen Teo, co-CEO of the Aivee Clinic.

Dr. Z Teo and Dr. Aivee Teo of The Aivee Group with Katherine Alejar at the Vital Dome showroom in Paris France (Released)

Alejar was determined and persistent in doing presentations to the clinic to convince Teo to purchase the dome. Her hard work and perseverance bore fruit eventually.

The Vital Dome is now available at all the branches of Aivee Clinic.

It is also available at the Avignon Clinic, The Farm at San Benito, Peak Form, and the Well-Balanced Chiropractic Wellness Center. In Mindanao, it can be availed at the CDO Pearl Body Touch Facial Center.

READ: How this French innovation provides holistic care to Pinoys

Alejar is hopeful that this story would inspire other women to not give up on their endeavors amid the struggles.

“I want to inspire people na don’t give up. Di porket di ka makabenta, tapos na. Di ako sumusuko e,” the businesswoman said.

From a marketer to being her own boss

Alejar did not initially plan to become an entrepreneur.

Prior to launching i3, she worked for companies in different fields. These include telecommunications, creatives and television.

A career-driven woman, Alejar sought to climb up the corporate ladder.

No company back then, however, was willing to pay her asking salary.

“So, I decided to start my own business,” Alejar said.

According to Alejar, finances and lack of clients and a network were her big challenges when starting out.

Her mother also became her motivation during those difficult first steps.

“She’s been there ever since. She’s been very supportive. When I was starting the business, wala talagang nagpapahiram sakin ng money. Siya lang ang nag-tiwala. Sa kanya ako humiram ng pera. Kung hindi niya ko pinahiram, wala. Talagang umiiyak ako no’n,” Alejar said.

Led by Alejar, i3 Inc. is now being run by a small team with several partnerships and freelancers.

She is also looking to expand beyond Vital Dome to launch more health and wellness products in the Philippines in the near future.