In college, we were required to study a foreign language. I chose French. I learned but never really got the chance to use it and to converse with someone else in French. In third year, we were supposed to go to France with my classmates. Although it did not push through, I remember my teacher telling us all about his backpacking trip. He would just buy a baguette and would slowly consume it during his entire trip. I remember this tip clearly and so when I saw this brand called Baguettini Sandwiches, I really wanted to find out more about it.
I found out that the owner of Baguettini was Ava Daza who was the daughter of Gloria Diaz and the granddaughter of Nora Daza. Ava’s love for food comes from both her mom and dad’s side of the family. Her mom’s side all love to eat and whenever they gathered together for a meal, it’s always a survival of the fittest sort of thing! As for her dad’s side, they are the ones who are great at cooking. As mentioned, her lola, Nora Daza, is the pioneer of Filipino food in France and she also brought in French food to the Philippines!
These all contributed to Ava’s decision to start her own business. She decided to come up with Baguettini as a proposal for her 4th year thesis in Ateneo de Manila University, but unfortunately her professor didn’t feel she would have enough time in the semester to create a business from scratch. It wasn’t approved for her thesis but because she had already written her business plan, she decided to push through with the business and see how it would do.
“After I graduated, I decided to work for a production designer as well because I’ve always been interested in film and production. Right now, I work as a production designer and I run baguettini as well! It’s so exciting to have your own business, especially one close to your heart because (seriously) nothing is more fulfilling than seeing customers satisfied by a product you’ve spent tons of time and so much energy creating!”, Ava inspiringly says.
Interview with Ava Diaz Daza of Baguettini Sandwiches
Ginger: I am so honored to have you Ava as my guest interviewee today. Ava, can you tell us more about your business?
Ava: My business is called Baguettini. We sell mini baguette gourmet sandwiches. We have flavors such as four cheese honey truffle, adobo flakes with basil cream cheese topped with roasted tomato & garlic cream pesto, Chorizo basil with Arugula Pesto, Barbecue Rib Flakes with Onion and Chive Cream cheese topped with Cilantro Pesto, Gambas with Arugula Pesto, Asian Lechon Kawali, and more to come. I launched Baguettini through instagram in 2013, but I paused operations for the year 2014 because I started working for production and I had a hard time juggling both. I relaunched it this year with a new look, better recipes and hopefully I will be able to put up my first shop by next year!
Ginger: Wow! I’m sure this year will be an exciting year for you. For Baguettini, what segment of the market did you plan on tapping?
Ava: Initially I thought my market would be purely people with a high amount of disposable income, which I would classify as Class A. Because my sandwiches are 90 pesos and advertised as mini (for variety’s purpose) people can easily get turned off by the value for their money. I was surprised to find that as I ran my business most of my costumers were people working in offices with a spending capacity of around 150 pesos for lunch. At first I thought maybe it was because Baguettini was able to stir up some hype through social media, but later on I found costumers returning to place orders and telling me how much they love my product. I then realized that when coming up with a food business, well for me at least, its important to create a product that can attract the attention of pretty much all classes (targeting A B and C) so long as they feel they are getting the full experience for the amount they’re paying. This is because food is everyone’s interest and for some it may be a luxury to spend a bigger amount on certain food, but most people are more willing to indulge in food than other products.
Ginger: I’m interested to know on how you came up with this idea. What made you decide to start this kind of business?
Ava: I came up with this idea when I was interning in the Philippine stock exchange for my third year in university. I always considered myself as a corporate worker so owning my own business was just a dream I never thought I’d really pursue. I came up with the idea for Baguettini because when I was living in Madrid, I was on a tight budget so I was constantly on the hunt for the next cheap but delicious restaurant to try. I remember one place that caught my attention (I found myself there every Wednesday ordering 10 of their 1 euro sandwiches lol) was a deli that sold 100 different kinds of bite sized sandwiches. The thing about me is that I love variety. Whenever I sit down in a restaurant, its so difficult for me to choose 1 dish so I usually coerce the people im with to order with me and split so I have other dishes to choose from. So when coming up with baguettini, I envisioned a convenient, on-the-go snack that offers a lot of flavors so that consumers could experience more than one flavor if they wanted to. The “mini” feature to my product I added so that customers don’t feel too guilty ordering more than one flavor for themselves.
Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?
Ava: It’s crazy how much I’ve learned since I launched Baguettini. Everyday I learn more about running a business and it’s a lot more pressure on my part because its my own business. A lot of times I needed reassurance that my decisions were the right decisions but I learned that in business to get somewhere you must be a risk taker. When I launched, my business sky rocketted. In 2 weeks, we were featured on prime time news for TV patrol as one of the newest food crazes in town. In a months time, we were given a whole page on the lifestyle section of Inquirer featuring our mini baguette sandwiches. You could imagine how exciting it was for me, but at the same time I was the most stressed ive been. Demand was so high and meeting them required my full attention. Don’t get me wrong, this was a good problem. After awhile demand lowered and there were times we wouldn’t sell a single baguettini in a day which really dampened my spirit. I learned to keep on going despite days like that because nothing is consistent in sales.
Ginger: How do you market your products?
Ava: I really believe in the power of social media, so I try my best to maximize the internet as a platform for marketing. For baguettini, I usually send samples to different people who have a big following and ask them to post it on their profiles if they like the product.
Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur should have when starting their own business?
One is tenacity. Tenacity is important because it is what will drive you to do your day-to-day duties as an entrepeneur. Setting a goal for yourself is very important and you will often encounter obstacles but its so important that you persevere through these experiences because you will come out a better informed entrepeneur.
Being open-minded will also play a big role in running a business. A lot of times people will tell you their opinions on running a business or the products you offer, and it is so important that you see this in a constructive way. You may think you have your vision for your business all locked down but sometimes someone comes along and suggests something that can make all the difference.
Lastly, I think confidence is key. Being confident in what you’re selling will translate to your consumers. When you start your own company, or even start working for a company, you sort of sign up to be their representative and adhere to everything the brand is about. In that light, I feel that believing in what you sell is so important so that people can see the passion you have for it and will feel that it is worth their time and money.
Ginger: Any unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur?
Ava: There was a time I sold out all my sandwiches in a bazaar that happened on a Saturday and I was expected to be present in another on Sunday. I was so overwhelmed with sales on Saturday that I neglected prepartions for Sunday so I had to cancel. It is important to keep your word as a business owner because it’s reflective of your work ethics. I realized that it is so important to always be prepared for possible problems so that you always are able to live up to your agreements.
Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?
Ava: Don’t sell a product you yourself don’t believe in or love! When you love your product, you can talk about it for days and people will see the value in it just in the way you promote it.
Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?
Ava: I don’t necessarily think that owning a business is for everyone but I do believe the traits of an entrepeneur should be acquired by everyone who aspires to have a stable career. Entrepeneurship itself is the process of starting a business and I feel that every potential worker should see themselves as a business. They have to market their image to different companies so that they will be willing to hire them.
Ginger: Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for MommyGinger.com, Ava. It was so nice to learn and to hear from you. I hope your story will be an inspiration to a lot of young entrepreneurs!
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