Chris Daez is half of the husband-wife team behind Fully Booked, handling the PR side of the business and spearheading the Fully Booked Foundation.
Recently, the couple also brought New York’s famous The Halal Guys to Manila, notably being the first to open a franchise outside of the US.
She and her husband, Jaime, have two sons: 4-year-old Matteo and 3-year-old Stefano.
Tell us a little bit about who Chris Daez is.
I grew up in Manila and am the youngest of 6 children. My dad loves the beach so we would travel around the Philippine beaches every chance we had. This is why I am a certified scuba diver and feel at home close to the ocean.
I studied at Assumption San Lorenzo Makati from prep to high school. I then studied college in De La Salle University and finished a double degree in Political Science and Business Management.
Tell us about your work with Fully Booked. What is your role in the business? What is it like working with your husband?
My husband, Jaime started Fully Booked Bookstore. I was working for five years in the beauty industry prior to joining him. I basically do the PR for the businesses and spearhead the Fully Booked Foundation which we started a few years ago.
It’s great to work with my husband because we make a great partnership and we complement each other. His strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa.
Would you recommend working with your spouse?
Yes, I can recommend working with your spouse, though this might not be for everyone. Working together makes us closer as a couple because we face our challenges and celebrate our accomplishments side by side. We love each other more because are able to value each other’s hard work by being present and learning how to always communicate effectively.
Do you have a particular affinity for books and reading? How does running Fully Booked affirm this? What special projects were you able to launch?
I love that Fully Booked is able to build communities, which becomes part of their lifestyle. The best part is also being able to give back to society through our Fully Booked Foundation.
It’s the fact that we can make a difference in our own way and greatly positively impact the lives of others. I think that it’s important to keep the book reading culture alive, especially among young children, to stir up their imagination.
Through our foundation, we have been able to build mini libraries in school, donate school supplies, and encourage children to learn how to read or write.
Recently, you also ventured into the food business by bringing the Halal Guys to Manila. Why did you decide to do this?
It was very serendipitous. We were in New York right when The Halal Guys announced their decision to start franchising the brand. We immediately pursued the franchising rights and we were the first group that closed the deal very quickly. In fact, we are the first franchise to open outside of the US.
We are huge fans of The Halal Guys and had no difficulty at all convincing them that this restaurant will do well in the Philippines. After having met the owners, we immediately had a good rapport with them and had no doubt that this would be the start of a great partnership. They are easily among the top 25 restaurants in New York and it’s amazing how you can experience that for just $7. We are ecstatic to be able to bring that same experience to Manila and not have to travel all the way to NYC for it. It is notably one of the favorite restaurants of Anthony Bourdain in the city, too.
How hectic is your schedule? Can you give us a peek into your daily life?
I start the day with a quick meditation and prayer. Afterwards, I have breakfast with my family. I usually do store checks in the morning or attend to household duties.
I have a quick lunch at home or spend it with some close friends. Most of my meetings in the office are set in the afternoon. If I get off work early, I try to take care of my health by squeezing in some exercise whether it be yoga, running, indoor cycling, or boxing.
When I get home, I like to watch the highlights of the news and cook a simple dinner (during the weekends). If there are no events in the evening, I thoroughly enjoy spending my time at home because we read books and say our prayers together with the kids every night.
In relation to that, do you believe in balance? How has your perception of work-life balance changed over the years, especially as you became a wife and then a mother?
As much as possible, I try to keep a balance though it can be tricky at times since I try my best to give the best of myself to my family first then my work second. And at times, I put myself last. My work-life balance has changed along with my priorities and hopes for the future.
My first priority in life is being a wife to my husband who is also my best friend. We love spending time together and make sure to always communicate.
As a mother, I hope that my children grow up to be God-fearing gentlemen who will grow up to be a moral compass for others.
As a business woman, I really hope to continue to create programs for the Fully Booked Foundation to help alleviate poverty through education. Whether it is our own small way of building mini-libraries in public schools or creating reading/literacy programs for the less fortunate. Hopefully, this can inspire children to stay in school and continue the gift of learning.
What is family life like? What do you like to do together?
I grew up in a very close and tight-knit family. One of the best things my parents ever gave us is the gift of each other. We love each other dearly and love spending time together during the family reunions. Having said that, I would like for my children to grow up in the same way.
Jaime and I make sure to always spend time with them on the weekends by going to mass, swimming, and watching a movie. When the kids are on break, we also love to travel as a family whether at a local beach or somewhere abroad.
What do you do to recharge? How do you take care of yourself?
Random visits to the salon, a weekly home massage, and glass or two of red wine or two always does the trick! 😉
We believe that there’s a “Spoiled Mummy” in each of us. What do you think makes you, Chris Daez, a Spoiled Mummy?
I am a “Spoiled Mummy” because of the constant love and care that my husband and kids shower me every day! They are my life’s greatest blessings.