Most of us realize that our God is a Creator-God, and He even gave mankind the ability and responsibility to create. Deuteronomy 8:18, specifically states that God gives us the ability to create wealth. As creators in the image of God, we create all kinds of things – a colorful flower bouquet; a crab cake; a historical novel; the latest software; a Mozart overture, the COVID vaccine, a Boeing jet, a space vehicle; a drone; and something I just realized – creative fragrances.
Did you know that out of our 5 senses, the sense of smell is most closely linked to our memories and emotions? It has the ability to bring to surface our deepest memories, which is why the art of fragrances has been celebrated across time and around the world, with one of the most recent being the annual Olfaction Week in Barcelona, Spain. It is complete with webinars of perfume and fragrances, an international perfumery contest, and presentations on olfactory science and culture. Eurofragance S.L., an event sponsor, is an international designer and manufacturer of creative fragrances with locations worldwide including a partner in Manila, Philippines.
Eurofragance Philippines Inc. (EPI) forged a partnership with Eurofragance S.L. over 22 years ago and has been steadily growing every year since. It was a stimulating privilege to talk to Catherine Tan, who owns the business along with her husband Richard Tan, who is from Singapore.
You guessed it: EPI is a BAM Company. I would never have guessed that a fragrance and flavor company could be 100% committed to the Quadruple Bottom Line. Here is what I learned.
Our entire conversation demonstrated the importance of God as the owner of the business with Richard and Catherine as the stewards of His resources, and their journey with Him in terms of spiritual growth and making Christ-centered decisions in the world of business.
It was encouraging to hear Catherine center her story around the Quadruple Bottom Line as she reminded me of the challenges of doing business in a developing economy with processes and expectations which counter the values of a Kingdom business. But through it all, God has honoured their commitment to integrity in bookkeeping, excellence in product and service, honesty, fairness, and firmness in the ways of the Lord in all things.
Seven years ago, it dawned on them that Eurofragance Philippines Inc. (EPI) was really a Kingdom company, and they learned of the Business as Mission terminology. Catherine recalls her discussion with her husband regarding a vision they both received from the Lord. It all came together and the “lights came on” when the Lord impressed upon them to construct a new building for the company, with the topmost floor dedicated as a Worship Hall for where His glory will shine forth.
The impression they received from God was something they were prepared for, but they heeded the call and obeyed wholeheartedly, despite the many challenges that they faced.
Now the CRT building, short for Christ our Redeemer we Trust, stands as a testament of God’s redeeming grace and mercy, in the lives of those who obey Him and remain faithful to His Word. At the highest portion of the structure is Bethel Avodah, which signifies “Our work is our worship to the Lord”. It is through the CRT Building that EPI can serve as a lighthouse in the community. In Catherine’s terms, they realized that it can all be described as: Purpose, Profit, People, Planet.
When one clicks on the “About Us” icon of the Eurofragance.com.ph website, the first thing one reads is To God be the Glory and their theme verse for the year, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden,” Matthew 5:14. Elsewhere, the core values are listed as: God-fearing, being first and foremost, followed by: Integrity, Dedication, Loyalty, Team Work, and Excellence.
Catherine was eager to talk about the Hebrew word Avodah and how the word defines three English terms into one – Work, Service and Worship. It is important then that all three function together in their new 5-storey building where they work, serve and worship together; everyone, in one place at one time. All is an integrated whole. She explains that the company is a blessing and a gift from God, therefore worshipping Him through work springs from their heart of immense gratefulness and joy for the faithfulness of God in their lives.
In short, their priority of purpose is to live out the whole gospel, making Jesus known from within the company first and then to the community, and together, glorifying Him in everything – which leads to the founding of Bethel Avodah Foundation, Inc. in 2021.
It is critical that all BAM businesses drive toward profitability, and this company has achieved that some years ago. Catherine gives all the glory to God, as she has witnessed how God sustained them from their humble beginning. As market demand increases, the profits follow, which are plowed back into the business to promote continual growth. Their annual strategic plans are structured on a theme verse impressed by God upon their hearts, which they include in their marketing materials such as paper bags and calendars that they give to clients and partners.
Catherine shares how their annual theme verse for 2016, Isaiah 40:31, gave her the strength and courage to soar above the challenging obstacles that the business faced. Year after year, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, EPI sets into motion plans of heightening the business further, which is also driven by their desire to be used by God as a vessel of blessing for their clients and partners.
People are a priority, so they focus on continuous learning, both in terms of career development and personal growth. Through various programs and trainings, they promote the overall wellbeing of each one at the company. Every person who is part of the EPI team is uniquely valued, as management models the message that the success of one is the success of all. Everyone is aligned together to look ahead and focus on the goal.
But what makes work more rewarding and meaningful for all EPI employees is knowing that they have a Christ-centred purpose complemented by their God-given gifts and abilities. Since the completion of the new building, the entire staff of more than fifty employees gathers weekly at the Bethel Avodah Worship Hall for their worship service, ministered by the company Pastor with praise and worship led by their very own (in-house) Music Team.
At the heart of it all, is the heart – Richard is often heard saying at home and at work, shares Catherine. In EPI, spiritual growth and maturity of each one takes precedence. This is nurtured through short devotions Catherine sends out every morning by phone, daily Bible Study fellowships with different groups, regular sharing of testimonies, daily company-wide prayers of thanksgiving and concerns by the employees through the public address or PA system, home visitation bible study to reach out to the whole families, (house church), and the ministering to the married staff through the newly established EPI Couples ministry. It can be seen that EPI’s definition of development and growth is a matter of the heart and mind – a heart that continuously draws closer to God and a life transformed in Christ.
When I asked Catherine how Creation Care was demonstrated in the Philippines, she pointed to the new 5-storey eco-friendly building, powered by solar power. Check out the solar panels on the roof of the new building on their website. EPI’s ISO certification also includes certain environment friendly initiatives that they incorporated in their facilities, such as water system care and maintenance. In terms of their role in the manufacturing industry, EPI, together with Eurofragance S.L., endeavours to promote fragrances that have long-term benefits to consumer health and the environment.
Much more could be said of Eurofragance Philippines Inc. (EPI) and its ministry, Bethel Avodah Foundation, but for Catherine and Richard, it is all summed up in the phrase, “as for me and for my house (company) we will serve the Lord.” As they worship, serve and work – AVODAH.
The word “Eurofragance” reflects the Spanish source of the company origins.
Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures