Learning about Seaweed and My Natural PH

This month for me has been knowing more about skincare and the different ingredients that I should look for or watch out for. There is a plethora of products that you can choose from in the market, and the challenge really for retailers now is how do I stand out and what will make me unique and different. Looking at different skin care products from Korea and Japan, you would notice that they make use of quite interesting products like snail, lava, horse oil, orange, grapes, and even “unicorn tears” (I wonder how they got that! haha!). Then I got myself looking at Filipino made products, too (of course!) and one brand caught my attention, and that was My Natural PH. They make use of Seaweed.

I wanted to know more about the whats, hows and whys of My Natural. This is why I interviewed, Marina, one of the co-owners of My Natural PH.

Mommy Ginger and Marina Morada

About The Moradas

Marina is the daughter of Noel Morada, who started the business. Noel is a UP Alumnus and has an MBA in Marketing and Finance. He is a graduate of Business Administration and is a businessman who has been in the seaweeds industry for more than 20 years.

Marina is an IMC Graduate from UA&P (yeeeeah! same school and course as me!). She is also a graduate of Masters of Applied Business Economics. EJ Morada is the younger brother who helps in the business. He graduated from Ateneo de Manila University (Business Management).

Interview with Marina of My Natural PH:

Ginger: Hi Marina! It’s great to meet you. Can you tell everyone what My Natural is about and how long have you been in business?

Marina: We’ve been in the seaweeds business for more than 20 years but our personal care line  made out of seaweeds was only launched June this year after 2 years of research and product development.

Mr. Noel Morada with the the country’s seaweed experts

 This new venture is all about providing SAFE, HEALTHY, and EFFECTIVE natural products.  It stems from our belief that having a healthy lifestyle does not stop with developing healthy habits and eating healthy foods but should also include the use of different products for personal  care, home care and air care which are natural and environment friendly. Consumers need such products that will help them sustain a healthy lifestyle. This is the need that we wish to address through MyNatural products.  

Ginger: Who is your target market? Why did you choose this market? Can you give us the insight behind this market?

Marina: Our product line generally caters to the health- conscious natural advocates who keep on finding ways on how they could maintain a healthy lifestyle. They have personal preference over natural products knowing its benefits.  

We have 3 brands and each have distinctly identifies the type of consumers to address their needs.

 

Algynatural: For the regular consumer who wish to have the benefits of seaweeds and natural personal care products which they could sustain for their everyday needs.

Ocean Blue: For the ultra- sensitive skin consumers who are looking for natural, safe, and effective solutions that could help them manage skin conditions.

MyNatureland: For every homemaker that wishes to keep every corner of her home naturally fresh and clean without using harmful chemicals.

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?

Marina: Being in the seaweeds industry for several years, we have attended International conferences and exhibits and learned the benefits of seaweeds for skin care and other personal care needs. These are evidenced by numerous scientific studies, presentations and research papers by experts in the fields. More than this is our ardent desire to promote sustainable healthy lifestyle through products that help consumers take care of themselves as well as the environment. Last of course is our determination to provide more livelihood and continuously build self-sustaining and sustainable communities.

Before embarking on this business though, to be viable we asked ourselves 3 basic questions:

– Is there a market for the product?
– Do we have the resources ( capital, human, raw materials, etc.) to be in this business?
– Do we have the competitive advantage?

Ginger:  Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?

Marina: Oh A lot. Putting up a business is always a challenge. But as an entrepreneur, you got to have the grit. You have to be tough – psychologically,  physically, and emotionally, you have to have  the capacity to find solutions to complex problems,  the ability to see the opportunities and potentials of future products to fulfill human needs, the steadfastness to pursue your dreams and strong faith in yourself and God of course.

Ginger: What are the greatest challenges in putting up and maintaining a business?

Marina: Getting the right product that will address the need of the market. This is the product development stage where you really spend a lot of time, resources and human talent to be able to get a perfect product as much as possible. Then you have the challenge of getting your product to the market. Identifying the right market and communicating to them. How is your product relevant to your market?  What are the right channels to reach your market?  What marketing mix shall you use…  Then you have the logistics side of it so that products get to the customer in a seamless and faster way.  Finding customer expectation and fulfilling them is huge challenge for entrepreneurs. Getting the needed resources is likewise a challenge. 

Ginger: What are three traits that you think a Start-up Founder/Entrepreneur should have when starting their own business?

  1. The passion to succeed no matter what the odds (grit)
  2. Eagerness to learn to keep up with the changing times.
  3. Perseverance / Hardwork

Ginger: Do you have any unforgettable moments or  lessons that you learned as an Start-up Founder/Entrepreneur?

Marina: Think ahead. As an entrepreneur you should always be forward looking. Your decision today may no longer be applicable tomorrow so you should be always have plan B and C.

Learning is a continuous process.

There is an opportunity that lies for every problem. You just have to identify it.

Of course, never give up!

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Start-up Founders/Entrepreneurs?

Marina: Equip yourself with the right tools and mindset before starting a business. Learn from the mistakes of others. Always put your customers first (know and understand your market ) they are the lifeblood of any business. Never stop learning.

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Marina: Everyone has the opportunity but only few succeed. The general ratio they say is 1:10; that means only 1 out of ten succeeds. Being an entrepreneur is a conscious decision that you make to achieve a higher purpose ( change lives, create positive impact, etc) . It’s a commitment you should be willing to make to yourself and to your stakeholders (partners, consumers, investors, suppliers, etc).

Ginger: What is your belief about raising capital? What are ways that you can do to raise capital?

Marina: Generally the source of initial capital are personal savings then additional capital from relatives and friends. The formal channels of raising capital like banks, venture capital and other financial intermediaries or institutions and eventually the equity market, come in only in the growth stage  of the business. So raising capital during the start up stage of the business is always challenge.

Ginger: How do you market your products?

Marina: Right now our products can be purchased online through our own website and other online shopping sites like Beauty MNL.

Ginger: What are tech tools that you use for your business?

Marina: On line marketing tools and apps. ( Facebook, Instagram, e- store). Automation of the accounting, financial, inventory and customer base.

Ginger: Thank you so much, Marina, for spending time with me! I learned a lot about seaweeds, its benefits and of course, a lot about starting a business!

Contact information about your business:

Website:  www.mynatural.company
Email address: sales@mynatural.company
Mobile Number: 0917 132 1977 OR 0920 977 1977
Facebook Page : MyNaturalPH
Instagram account: @MyNaturalPH

The Reading House and Teacher D

I’m not sure of my daughter, at age 4, should know how to read words already. What is your experience on 4 year olds? Since I’m panicking, I found this The Reading House online. I found the concept to be very interesting, so I decided to know more about the business. The Reading House is ran by Teacher D and her husband. Read her story here!

Teacher Deidre Story’s

My name is Teacher D and I am a mom to our sweet little Tala. I’m married to Marky, who works in IT Sales.  I have 2 older sisters who have their own families already.

Both my sisters were equally thrilled when they found out that I was pregnant, because finally I’m no longer the “Fun Aunt” and I’m going to parent an actual human being already (haha!). My parents are simple business owners, who like any other grandparents, are “obsessed” with all their apos. Apos call them Abuelo and Abuela. All our kids are lucky to have them.

I have been a teacher for almost 10 years now (and counting). My first teaching job was in Wordlab, a school that specializes in teaching kids with Learning Disabilities. During the years that I stayed there, I taught in the Reading Clinic, a one-on-one learning set up that closely implements reading intervention programs for kids with learning needs, mainly Dyslexia. I became the Head Teacher in that Department. I learned a lot about how to become an effective teacher, one that assures that no child is left behind. But being fairly young then, I wanted a new environment, I decided to resign and try out other types of school. That’s when I applied to Xavier School, something new and also somewhere close to where I live before. I taught 3rd Grade English there for 3 years. I have nothing against traditional schools because I am a product of one, but the ways of it didn’t conform with what I believe as a teacher so I decided to transfer to Keys School Manila, a progressive school. I enjoyed my stay there in Keys. I like that the students are assessed not just as a learner but also as a person and even a citizen.

Then last year, after some waiting time, I got pregnant.

When I decided to resign from teaching, I told myself that I am going to enjoy motherhood in all its glory and I am! I enjoy each day that I get to see her wake up, bathe, eat her first solids, the teething drama, dressing her up in cute outfits (by far my most favorite), story time, nap time and all her other firsts. Apart from all these, what I really enjoy is I don’t need to pump anymore! Yayy! One (sort of) promise that I made to Tala and myself is to do all my best to breastfeed her up until her toddler years. I guess that makes me a breastfeeding believer too.  During times that Tala allows me to have free time (a.k.a. her nap time), I enjoy reading and watching TV series. I’m lucky that I have a husband that is very hands on and just willing to grant me “Me Times” from anytime I ask for it. I’m thankful that we both believe that self-care is an important part of being parents.

 

The Reading House’s Story

Ginger: What is your Startup/brand/business? What is it about? How long have you been in business?

Teacher D: The Reading House is a Literacy Center that aims to help children with Learning Disabilities and Difficulties. The services of The Reading House covers all the sub-skills of reading that we use in order to read continuous passages meaningfully.

Ginger: Who is your target market? Why did you choose this market? Can you give us the insight behind this market?

Teacher D: We aim to help children with Learning Disabilities and/or Difficulties. We chose to help these kids because as a teacher, each child learns differently which is why I believe that no child should be left behind in learning.

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?

Teacher D: I wouldn’t have learned everything about Reading intervention, if not for my first teaching experience. That is where I will credit this idea to. As a teacher, I know that there aren’t enough teaching facilities here in the Philippines that can help children with learning needs.

Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?

Teacher D: This center took me almost a decade to build. I had to learn a lot about the approach that is proven effective for these types of children. There were moments of self-doubt whether I am fit to build such center. There were a lot of questions (largely from me to me) if I am equipped enough. I know that these children need consistency and dedication. I know that because of frustration a lot of them just lost their interest in learning overall.

I studied, did a lot of research and studied again and really took time to further educate myself about Learning Disabilities and what is the best way to help children with these conditions.

Ginger: What are the greatest challenges in putting up and maintaining a business in your country?

Teacher D: The greatest challenge that I have had ( and so far I am having ) would be how to spread awareness about it. Sadly, the Philippines’ education system is not completely geared to help children with Learning Disabilities. Learning Disability is something that we misinterpret as a lot of things, slow, lazy, disinterested and other more. What I want is for teachers to have patience and understanding before tagging a child. I want to convince them that not all children learn in the same way and it’s our job as teachers to determine what way do our students want to learn.

Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder should have when starting their own business?

Teacher D: According to importance, I think that first is to be passionate. I don’t want this to sound as a cliché, but passion is what really pushed me build The Reading House. I think that I gained an interest on helping these children and worked for it to become a passion. Second would be patience, it’s not a secret that putting up, let alone maintaining a business is a lot of work. I believe that every challenge and all the hard work that we pour into it will all be worth it at the end.

My last most definitely not the least choice is, prayer, some of my friends would probably be surprised if they hear me say this. I am known to be the type of person that keeps it to herself and misconstrued as carefree, but throughout this whole process of putting this center up, I found that prayer is a sure fire tool that helped me in all my decision –making, be it a small one or the most major of all. I became more secured and assured when I talk to God about it first, whatever it is.

Ginger: Any unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder?

Teacher D: This venture is a partnership with my husband. Being in the line of sales, at times, my husband tended to deal with things in a ruthless (for lack of a better term) manner. This would sometimes contradict with how I, a teacher, is used to doing things with diplomacy, gentle and thorough processing and explanations. It’s like he’s the brain and I’m the heart, and we can’t work things together. It’s also heartbreaking that sometimes it happens in front of our daughter, which really truly concerned me. This is the sole reason that brought us to the resolution that we, in the future will really have arguments and sometimes we won’t be able to keep it from our children, but what’s important is for them to see that we make up and fix things at the end of the day. We also made sure that all mealtimes are (and will be) spent together, argument –free.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?

Teacher D: One advice that I can give other Entrepreneurs is to have a perfect balance of mind and heart.  You have to be logical in all your decisions but at the same time be kind and considerate on how people around you would feel. I also strongly believe that if you treat your employees right, they will in turn develop a genuine love for what they are doing.

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Teacher D: I’d like to believe it, because initially I didn’t see myself as an entrepreneur. All I wanted was to help kids with Learning Disability, but with the challenges that came in my way as I am building this center, along with the struggles of a first time mom, I was able to make it possible.  I believe that’s what being an entrepreneur is about, jumping over hurdles and still finishing strong.

Ginger: What are ways that you can do to raise capital?

Teacher D: My husband saved up for this. We opted to have a small and intimate wedding so that we can use the money up for something we think is more worthwhile. Aside from these, we pitched the concept to our trusted friends and family and gave them share of the ownership.

Ginger: How do you market your products? Growth strategy?

Teacher D: Our main marketing strategy now is through the Internet. We spent on a website and created a Facebook page where interested people could reach us. We also gave out leaflets to schools that are near our center. We reached out to fellow parents who we think has a great influence on others.  The Reading House sought their help in not just promoting or featuring our center, but more importantly, to raise awareness about Learning Disabilties.

Ginger: What are tech tools that you use for your business?

Teacher D: Our “edge” from the other Literacy Centers here in the Philippines is that we use a digital multi-sensory program. The name of the program is iSpire. iSpire fleshes out all the subskills of reading to assure an optimum learning experience for its users.

Ginger: Other things that you want to mention which you think are important

Teacher D: The Reading House is also open to conduct some workshops about spotting and handling children with Learning Disabilities in a classroom set up.

Ginger: Thanks for the inspiring story, all of the advice and for the tips, Teacher D! 🙂

We have a surprise for our readers! We will be giving out ONE FREE  Literacy Diagnosis + Reading Enrichment Session. All you need to do is leave a comment below on why do you think you need to win this! 🙂 We will raffle of this prize on July 25. We will announce the winner on this page, too! 🙂

For more information about The Reading House, check these out:

Website: thereadinghouse.ph
Email address: info@thereadinghouse.ph
Mobile Number: 09178314920/ 09498717901
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheReadingHousePH/

Easy Cures Story (Interview with Entrepreneur Tina Vitas)

I meet a lot of interesting people during the workshops that we conduct at Manila Workshops. One of the interesting people that I have met was Tina Vitas. Tina is the owner of Easy Cures.

Having coffee with Entrepreneur Tina Vitas of Easy Cures

Tina’s Story

I studied in Boston University for college, worked in Los Angeles for 3 years and then worked in New York for 9 years before finally making Manila my home again in August 2003. I got the inspiration to open an online store for natural remedies – Easy Cures – from watching my Mom do this as a hobby for 30 years. She was in the costume jewelry business.

On top of that, I held her hand through a health crisis as she approached her 70’s where we discovered a few different alternative healing modalities that worked for her.

She is obviously a fabulous inspiration for me being an ultra-successful businesswoman. She is also my favorite person in the world, my best friend and my mentor (we have very different ideas about how to run a business since I tend to be more modern, in general).

I thought that bringing these products that have helped us on our journey to health, wellness and happiness to a wider audience online would be a great idea, in tune with the times. After being employed in the corporate world most of my life and having dabbled in a few different businesses (restaurant, food, fashion, fragrance, education), I wanted to do something that resonated so deeply with who I am as a person and where I am on my life journey. I am on a continuous personal evolution and spiritual awareness & awakening.

I am a consistent practitioner of Vinyasa Yoga at Urban Ashram Yoga and Kundalini Yoga at Sat Nam Shala in Urdaneta with Madonna English. I meditate daily for about 20-25 minutes. Although I am not 100% vegetarian, my diet has very little animal protein in it. That is deceiving because I love to eat (chocolates, ice cream and pastries are a weakness, thus, I have to budget them strictly on a weekly basis). I’m dining out with family & friends about 5 to 6 times a week. I lived and worked in New York City for nine years. If I can walk it, I will. I support the Missionaries Of The Poor in Sta. Ana which is my charitable institution of choice and I also support the Library Renewal Partnership. I am a member of the US Alumni Club PH, Asia Society and the Business Professional Women’s Group.

Easy Cures Story

Ginger: What is your Startup/brand/business? What is it about? How long have you been in business?

Tina: Its an online store for natural remedies. Officially started in May 2016.

Ginger: Who is your target market? Why did you choose this market? Can you give us the insight behind this market?

Tina: The target market for natural remedies, in my mind, is anyone who has the consciousness that there are alternatives to Western medicine and harsh, chemical-laden products that are commonly found in the market today. But because one of our star products is for aches & pains, the natural market for this would be someone who is a bit older, approaching forties. Or someone, even younger, who is extremely active or has a recurring condition that can be managed with such natural remedies.

 

Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?

Tina: Obstacles for a start-up entrepreneur who is self-funded is almost always the available resources – money, marketing, staffing, logistics etc.

Ginger: What are the greatest challenges in putting up and maintaining a business in your country?

Tina: What I encountered is that many people still shy away from purchasing online. It will still take some time for Filipinos to be completely comfortable with e-commerce in the way they are with bricks & mortars stores. Having accepted this year, I decided that I have to compliment my online store with offline partner stores who share the same values & mindset at Easy Cures. Filipinos, particularly if they are buying something that needs to be tried and is also not yet a known brand, will want to see the product in person. The actual product experience is important to them. It builds trust and reputation faster than if they just read about the products online. Online and offline work well together and can drive each other.

Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder should have when starting their own business?

Tina: Patience, flexibility and grit.

Ginger: Unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder?

Tina: Ask for help from others. You’d be surprised at how accommodating and generous people can be when asked.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?

Tina: A start-up business is very unpredictable. Finding your market who loves you/your products is key to growth and will take time. After you find them, you have to make sure you keep them coming back. Know from the very beginning that you will question yourself many times during this journey and you will also change your roadmap because reality requires it. But if you truly believe in what you are trying to do, keep going at it. You and your goal will find each other, eventually….. It takes time!

This is a product that I love very very much!

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Tina: Nope, not everyone has the ability to handle the unpredictability, the inconsistency and the build-as-you-go structure of starting and running a business. At the start, you will be doing pretty much everything and involved in every detail.

Ginger: What are ways that you can do to raise capital?

Tina: Through family & friends. I have raised capital before with another business, through a bank loan. I don’t recommend it. The larger the capital you raise, the bigger the pressure you feel to deliver in a short amount of time. For me, at least, this has resulted in my making decisions that I would not have made had I continued to be self-funded or funded with a limited amount of money.

Ginger: How do you market your products? Growth strategy?

Tina:  Social media and SEO. I also sponsor health & wellness related events. Grow online with the help of offline.

Ginger: What are tech tools that you use for your business?

Tina: Online platform for the store, Facebook Instagram, Google Analytics & SEO.

Ginger: Other things that you want to mention which you think are important?

Tina: It’s a long, winding road. Remind yourself always why you started in the first place and have fun! Have a few businesses, if possible, so you have different income streams at any given time.

Ginger: Wise words from a very wise woman! I hope you continue to inspire more people, Tina! 

 

Contact information about your business:
Website: http://www.easycures.com.ph/
Email address ask@easycures.com.ph
Mobile Number +639178117580 on Mobile, Viber & WhatsApp
Facebook Page: @easycuresph
Instagram account: @easycures.ph
Pinterest: easycuresph

Interview with Blogger Sherwin Ramos-Yeo of Techglimpse

For today, I interviewed a fellow blogger. I love interviewing bloggers that focus on technology and business, because, obviously, these are two things that I love, too! Today, I’ll be interviewing Sherwin Ramos-Yeo of Techglimpse.

Sherwin Ramos-Yeo is the founder of Techglimpse. With his passion on technology, he decided to gather all his research into one repository (the current site). He studied in De La Salle University with a degree in BS-Information Communication Technology Management. Sherwin started his career as an IT professional then shifted his focus to digital marketing, focusing now on eCommerce. Through this, he has learned a lot through his different projects, including the ins and outs of using technology for marketing. He also took up several certification courses to strengthen his skills.

Outside the “digital” world, he also joins billiard tournaments and plays the guitar. He is the eldest among the 3 siblings.

Techglimpse’s Story

Ginger: What is your brand or business, Sherwin?  Please tell the readers what is it about and how long have you been in business?

Sherwin: My blog started as a tech blog, but it focuses on innovations like AR/VR, tablets, mobile apps, etc. I have always been fascinated with technology, and how it affects our life. I had a shift in career, now focusing on digital marketing. I’m not a marketer. I graduated as an IT professional. Digital marketing lead me to see “creativity” and on how technology can be used as a marketing tool. Since then I started to do consulting from watch brands, restaurants, etc.

Ginger: Who is your target market? Why did you choose this market? Can you give us the insight behind this market?

Sherwin: My target market would be the the SME’s who don’t understand how they can leverage on digital platforms for their business. And my other market are people who are tech savvy, since I feature tech innovations.  When I started with the blog, it contained most of my research and findings. Later on, I saw the line between innovations in technology and digital marketing has become blurry.

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?

Sherwin: Everybody is into tech/digital nowadays, whether you are just an individual who most likely from time to time try to be updated with the latest gadgets and technology. Now the challenge for the entrepreneurs is how they can maximize this changing lifestyle. Small entrepreneurs can’t afford big ad agency to help their business, so this is where I come in. My aim is to focus on the SME’s or those organizations that are in the stage of “exploring” digital as one of their channels. Big agencies tend to amplify a digital campaign, what I can offer is lay down the basic foundation of your digital strategy. From building your social presence, to understanding how the data you collected can be maximized.

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Sherwin: As much as I want everyone to be an entrepreneurs, not all are fit to be one and has the mindset to go into entrepreneurship.

Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?

Sherwin: I’ve met with different clients, I tried to solve their problems. Even though all my solutions were good and all of them were theoretically correct but not all didn’t meet the right objective which mostly is creating additional revenue. Clients hire you because mainly they want to increase revenue, and be able to justify their ROI. I started with focusing the whole strategy for the client while the client wanted instant change.

Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder should have when starting their own business?

Sherwin: Always continue learning. I have always been insecure with my skills. I’m not a marketing graduate and I’m just your average IT student in school.  Competing with others who graduated cum laude, masteral degrees, marketing graduates, I was thinking of how can I stay competitive compared to others? I started reading about digital marketing everyday before anything else, I open my favorite websites to keep me updated on what’s happening. Since I’m not a marketing graduate but doing actually marketing strategies, I took up a diploma course on marketing to at least gain my foundation on basic marketing principles. As of today, I already have more than 10 certifications from marketing, digital marketing, operations, excel, etc.

Ginger: Unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder

Sherwin: It is definitely getting that first client. When I started my blog I didn’t have the intention to earn from it, all I wanted was to have my own website. I then tried adding a section on my website offering my services, then eventually someone emailed me. After my first pitch/meeting with the client, it was a success, she actually made a follow up meeting inviting the rest of the team to discuss my plans for the company. It was then that I realized that I can actually be good at this, this is something that not all is knowledgeable with.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?

Sherwin: Being an entrepreneur is not about having your own office, flexible schedule, or generating more income. It always goes back to doing what you love. It may sound cliche, but really when tough times come, the only thing that will get you moving is doing what you love. For me, the exciting part of being an entrepreneur is the challenge. The challenge of solving problems of your clients, seeing satisfied clients and thanking you on how you have contributed to their business.

Ginger: What are ways that you can do to raise capital?

Sherwin: For now I’m using up my personal money for my expenses, since it is still minimal. What I usually do is use my earnings from the business to expand the business. In this way I can always improve what I can offer to my clients.

Ginger: How do you market your products? Growth strategy?

Sherwin: Since my website is a blog, I usually write content that is made for my audience and potential customers. This is to establish my skill and knowledge in the field. Currently I have no plans yet of expanding the services since I still handle the business on my own.  For now, the focus is on digital marketing + eCommerce, I feel that this will be the next shift in digital.

Ginger: What are tech tools that you use for your business?

Sherwin: First important thing is to put your files on the cloud. Whether that’s dropbox, google drive (which i recommend), etc, It is always important that you have access and control towards your files. You may never know when you would need them. Website is another must have for any entrepreneur. You can start creating your own website for free, or invest with a freelancer which will cost you around Php 10,000. A website is your online business card, it will showcase what you have to offer and provide information to your potential customers.

Ginger: Thank you for spending your valuable time, Sherwin, in answering our questions for my readers. For those who want to contact Sherwin, I have placed different ways on how you can get in touch with him.

Talk to you soon! 

Contact information:
Website: www.techglimpse.ph
Email address: sherwin.yeo@gmail.com
Mobile Number: 0917-5328482
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/techglimpseph
Twitter account: https://twitter.com/techglimpseph
Linkedin account: https://ph.linkedin.com/in/sherwinyeo

Kiddie Art Kart

Last week, I had a wonderful time with my family in Japan. I promise to share with you snippets from my trip in another blog post. We will also share tips on how to get around Japan with a Toddler with you. Speaking of toddlers, it will be one week to go before Zeeka goes back to school. I’m sad, but at the same time relieved since I’ve been constantly looking for activities for her.

For this week, I’m featuring a young entrepreneur. She has a business for kids who want to practice art and for parents who want to teach their kids creativity!

Anna Cristina L. Ignacio, also known as Teacher Anna to her students. She’s 26 years old, single, and love to travel. She graduated from UP Diliman with a Fine Arts degree in Industrial Design. She’s been teaching art in various preschools in Metro Manila for the past 7 years, helping kids of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds discover and hone their creative talents.

In 2015, after completing the course on Program and Project Management in Tokyo, Japan, she was awarded the Honor Certificate of International P2M Practitioner by the Project Management Association of Japan. She’s currently the Head Art Teacher for a Likhang Bata Creativity Center, and Chief Creative Director of Kiddie Art Kart. She is a strong advocate of creative self-expression, which she believe is very important to a child’s positive development.

She comes from a family of 6 – 3 older brothers with her being the only girl and the youngest.

Their family loves to travel and exploring places together, and they also have high appreciation for the arts. She have a very supportive family who helps her with all the marketing efforts for Kiddie Art Kart, and they are always present in all of her events.

Kiddie Art Kart’s Story

Ginger: What is your Startup/brand/business? What is it about? How long have you been in business?

Teacher Anna: Kiddie Art Kart is a traveling art room that brings arts and crafts activities to parties, family gatherings, kiddie events, and play dates. We set up an art station and facilitate art activities to kiddie guests. Currently, I have a team of 6 experienced preschool teachers, which we call Creativity Coaches, and a resident Psychologist who guides us in our curriculum development. Kiddie Art Kart creates a positive, encouraging, and nurturing environment so no kid is left behind. Our projects are designed using the principles of creative self-expression and art therapy to help children in the discovery of their creative intelligence. We also incorporate the different developmental skills in each activity so not only do they get to create art, but they also learn something through creative education. We have been in business since November 2016.

Ginger: Who is your target market? Why did you choose this market? Can you give us the insight behind this market?

Teacher Anna: Our target market is AB class parents with children aged 3-15

 

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?

Teacher Anna: Being an art teacher, a lot of my students would often ask me if I can do art activities for them in their parties. Most of the time, parents would like their children to do activities with their friends in the comfort of their homes and not having to go through Manila traffic. Since I love to travel, and I love doing art with children, I came up with a traveling art room wherein we are the ones who go to you and we set up everything at your own chosen venue.

Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?

Teacher Anna: Having no background in business, it was a struggle to start one. I had to do the concept development, inventory, accounting, and research alone. Putting up the capital was also one of my worries. Good thing my family is so supportive of my passion and they were always there to guide me and save me when I was feeling stuck.

Ginger: What are the greatest challenges in putting up and maintaining a business in your country?

Teacher Anna: The greatest challenge for me in putting up my own business was giving up my full time job as an art teacher. It was a risky move and a huge sacrifice because that means I will no longer have a stable income. Aside from that, I became fearful of the unknown. So many questions like “will people avail of my services?” or “will they like the projects we offer?” or “is this a long-term business?” kept popping up in my head. But I learned to just believe in my concept and work my best to put it up. It was a great factor that I love what I am doing and I enjoy it, and I can only hope that other parents will see it and I’ll be able to share with them and their children the same love and passion I have for art.

Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder should have when starting their own business?

Teacher Anna: Commitment – There’s this quote I heard which says “Entrepreneurs are the only people who will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.” Being an entrepreneur needs a lot of commitment because if you want to succeed in your business, you have to do everything yourself and not ask someone else to do it for you. It’s okay to get help from other people, but at the end of the day, it’s ultimately up to you to control your own success.

Being able to accept constructive criticism – I believe that in every business, you always have to see it from the point of view of the client or customer. What may seem great to me may not seem great on the other end. I appreciate hearing feedback because that is one way of knowing the needs and wants of my client so I will be able to improve my services and give the best experience to new and returning clients. I also do meetings with my team of teachers and ask them about the good points and points for improvement. As the boss, I may be overlooking something and might be expecting so much from them that it makes them uncomfortable or less motivated. So I also like hearing their side and take them into consideration.

Believe in your product/service – This is very important because how can you expect other people to buy your product or avail your service if you yourself are not confident that it is effective. You have to back it up and be able to defend it 100% but also make sure that you can deliver. I wouldn’t recommend going into anything that does not align with your own values, beliefs, and practices because if something goes wrong, you won’t be able to save it.

Ginger: Unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder

Teacher Anna: Everything is a learning process and no one has it easy from day one. It is constant work and you have to be patient. I learned to stop and take a breather when I feel like something is not going the way I want it to be so I can bounce back better and think clearer. I also learned to not make decisions based on emotions because feelings come and go, but the damages you make when you do emotional decisions are there forever.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?

Teacher Anna: Don’t get easily discouraged. Take negative comments and turn it into positive ones. Not everyone will like what you have to offer, but there is always someone else who will.

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Teacher Anna: I believe anyone can be an entrepreneur, but it takes a lot of courage to finally decide to be one.

Ginger: What are ways that you can do to raise capital?

Teacher Anna: Savings from job income, De-clutter and sell items that other people can use. A garage sale is a good way to do this. Look for investors and sacrifice the wants, and only spend for the needs.

Ginger: How do you market your products? Growth strategy?

Teacher Anna: We do a lot of online marketing on Facebook and Instagram. We also attend or join expos and events. We build connections with other entrepreneurs and this is very helpful when you want to collaborate on certain projects that will be beneficial to both businesses. We also build relationships with parents and children to get them to keep coming back. We send monthly newsletters to our subscribers to keep the updated with our events.

Ginger: What are tech tools that you use for your business?

Teacher Anna: Microsoft Excel, Afterlight photo editing app, Mailchimp for sending newsletters to subscribers, Facebook and Instagram, Trello for organizing tasks and to-do lists

Ginger: Other things that you want to mention which you think are important

Teacher Anna: Kiddie Art Kart believes in the benefits of creative education and creative self-expression. We do not impose on the children and we give them full freedom to do art with the guidance of our creativity coaches. We build an environment that is encouraging to all children so they become more confident within themselves.

Ginger: Thank you, teacher Anna, for sharing with us your entrepreneurial journey! For those who want to learn more about Kiddie Art Kart, please see the contact numbers below.

For Contact information:

Website: www.kiddieartkart.com

Email address: hello@kiddieartkart.com

Mobile Number: 09178610022

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/kiddieartkart

Instagram account: @kiddieartkart

Youtube account: www.youtube.com/kiddieartkart

Versatile Fashion with a Heart from Aurelia & Amelia

It takes a certain type of personality to be able to start your own business and make it fly. From the minute I got to know this lady, I knew that she was a go-getter! I felt that she was someone who would make things happen. We met in a coffee shop and immediately and excitedly told me about versatile fashion. I loved the passion and the enthusiasm. Lo and behold, after a month, Katrina Manalo is now launching her own social enterprise business called Aurelia & Amelia.

Aurelia & Amelia is a social enterprise and a social-selling organization based in the Philippines that focuses on promoting versatile fashion while enabling Filipino women earn additional income, do something they love and contribute to social-change.

*Please subscribe to my channel http://bit.ly/gtvchannel and like this video!

This was the first time I hear about versatile fashion. I am one who dresses up simply (a shirt paired with jeans does it for me). It’s very difficult for me to spruce up outfits like these. Seeing the different products of A&A made me believe that I, too, can be a fashionista!

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*Image from Aurelia & Amelia

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*Image from Aurelia & Amelia

What I love about Aurelia & Amelia’s products is that there are a lot of details that Kat really thought about, which is present. And example are the little charms that symbolize these four seals. If the product represents some of these seals, the buyer will see charms representing the seals in the piece that she bought. The four seals are Eco-Friendly, Socially Responsible, Shop with a Heart and Made in the Philippines.

aurelia-and-amelia

Another thing that Aurelia & Amelia stands for, other than just versatile fashion, is versatile fashion with a heart. For every purchase of the product, a portion of it goes to the daily expenses and allowance of  a child under Project Pearl’s care. Project Pearl is a non-profit foundation that cares for abandoned children.

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This is the perfect gift for your mother, sister, tita, etc. These are fashion pieces that they can wear everyday. By giving them a piece from Aurelia & Amelia, you are also helping build a brighter future for a child.

Come and join me attend the launch of Aurelia & Amelia at BGC this coming Saturday. If you have the time, please sign up now www.aureliaamelia.com/invitation-for-launch/ See you there!

Christmas Gift Ideas for Family and Friends from Katsa Co.

Since Christmas is fast approaching, I know that you are all busy looking for gifts to give your loved ones. I shared with you my Christmas gift ideas for your mompreneur friends in this link: http://bit.ly/snrChristmasMompreneur. I will be sharing more Christmas Gift Ideas these coming days. For today, I feel so giddy sharing this product with you, since this brand was co-created and built by one of my good friends and event directors in Manila Workshops, Donna. She and her friend created Katsa Co., which I will tell you more about in this post.

Donna, one of the Co-Founders of Katsa Co. with son, Kib

Donna, one of the Co-Founders of Katsa Co. with son, Kib

I haven’t told Donna this, but I really admire her. She is a superwoman! She is a single mom, homeschooling mom, a work-from-home mom, a supportive mom to her busy 10 year old son who gets a lot of tv/print commercial gigs, a mom blogger, and now a budding entrepmom. She like travelling and shopping. She loves eating, but doesn’t like cooking (haha!).

Donna was a banker and a licensed teacher by profession. She started venturing into this business very recently (October 2106), which was co-founded with a friend. She met her friend and was her best friend during graduate school. “We complement each other,” Donna adds. They always get along and are patient with each other. “When one tends to be in a bad mood, the other one gives way. haha!”

They have always thought of starting a business, but what kept them from starting was because of the distance of their homes. Late last year, they decided to get serious and thought of Katsa Co. as their initial venture, being both kikays and who love bags. Her goal as a mom is to inspire other moms that you can homeschool and be a mompreneur at the same time through her blog and instagram posts.

When asked about other goals, she hilariously uttered, “Gusto ko magkaron pa din ng lovelife, haha! (I want to have a lovelife!).” But her main goal is really to raise her son to be a fine young man and to prepare for their future. This is the reason why she has several jobs. “Some of my friends say that they cannot do the things that I can do, because I juggle work, business, parenting, and home management. I just tell them, “mahirap talagang kumita ng pera.. haha! (Earning money is hard!).

Katsa Co.’s Story

Ginger: What is your Startup/brand/business? What is it about? How long have you been in business?

Donna: Our business name is Katsa Co. We thought of that name, because we wanted something that is catchy and easy to remember. Our bags and pouches are basically made of katsa, so having it as our business name is something that people can easily recall. We are into selling personalized bags and pouches. We ask our customers how they want their bags to be and what kind of print should be on the bags/pouches. We have our own line of bags, but we are also open to different customizations. As long as it is made of katsa, we can do it. We just started last October 2016.

Katsa Co. Shoulder bag
Ginger: Who is your target market? Why did you choose this market? Can you give us the insight behind this market?

Donna: We would love to tap everyone who is looking for something to use for their own or someone who would love to showcase their kids’ artwork or maybe someone who is looking for gift ideas or Christmas gift ideas (since it’s almost Christmas). We will serve every one who would love personalized bags and pouches! Our bags and pouches can also be used by men, too! My friend and I love ‘owning’ things so we thought of opening this idea to other people, too.

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?

Donna: My friend and I have already been thinking of a business that we can both work together despite of our proximity, and opening an online business is the most workable for both of us. We’ve thought of also buying a franchise, but the place to put the business is really a big challenge for both of us. It’ll be very difficult for us to physically manage a traditional business because aside from being business partners, we’re also mothers. We also need to find time for our kids.

Katsa Co. Bag
Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?

Donna: Choosing the right business, because we wanted to put up a business that we both like. Another one is the challenge of dividing the task. Proximity is a challenge for us so we need to really plan our strategy for us to make the business work. We need to put more time on this business so that It’ll prosper.

Ginger: What are the greatest challenges in putting up and maintaining a business in your country?

Donna: Our business is fairly new, and we are still finding the right ‘formula’ so that we will be able to last in the business. Online business is really a tough industry to be in, because there are thousands of online businesses out there. We need to really market the business double time and deliver in a timely fashion to our customers. We make sure that we answer all their inquiries on time.

Katsa Co. Sample

Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder should have when starting their own business?

Donna: A start-up entrepreneur must put up a business that they think that they would love, and not just for the sake of earning. A start-up entrepreneur must be flexible to their customer’s needs. Like in our case, even if we have our own line of products, we also do welcome customizations and we really try to meet our customers’ needs. A start-up entrepreneur must be willing to learn. Just like what I’ve learned from the business talks that I’ve attended in the past, innovation is the key to last in the industry. Learning never stops.

Ginger: Any unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder?

Donna: My friend and I always have arguments, hahaha. But towards the end of the day, we’re still friends. Respect each other’s opinion and always consult each other for decisions.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?

Donna: You don’t need to have a big capital to start a business! Start small, and from there, make your business grow ☺ Work on your capacity too, don’t get too excited whenever there are inquiries, just take it lightly. Learn to say no. Pray. Pray to the Lord for the right business opportunity for you, for sure there’s a tailor-fit business for you.

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Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Donna: While being an entrepreneur is one way to achieve financial goals, I guess that being an entrepreneur also needs a lot of preparation and experience. While some can be entrepreneurs at young age, some people need a lot of learning and encouragement to be one. But then, the bottomline is do not be afraid to take risks. The risk that you would take depends on how much failure are you also willing to accept.

Ginger: What are ways that you can do to raise capital?

Donna: Save a portion of your regular pay by tagging it as business fund. Have a small home business like selling ice candy or ice or fishballs. If you are bolder, apply for a bank loan. Borrow money from family members (I say family members because family can be leaner on payment terms, hihi). Cut on luxury expenses.

Ginger: How do you market your products? Growth strategy?

Donna: Since it is an online business, sharing the website to several groups is a good way to make the people aware of the brand. I blogged about my business, haha. Asking friends to spread the love about the business. Keeping the site alive by posting a lot of updates.

Ginger: What are tech tools that you use for your business?
Donna: Our online shop is on Facebook and Instagram for now. Hopefully, we would evolve in the future by having our own e-commerce site.

Ginger: Thank you, Donna, for your time! For those who are looking for gifts to give out this holiday season, do check out these Christmas gift ideas from Katsa co.

Contact information:
Website: https://www.facebook.com/katsacoph/
Email address: katsacoph@gmail.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/katsacoph/
Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/katsa_co/

P.S. This post is dedicated to Alex, the daughter of Donna’s Co-Founder Rowena, who passed away yesterday 🙁

 

Product Development with Young Entrepreneurs behind Tidy Heidy

I’m always blown away when I get to meet young entrepreneurs. It reminds me that creating a business and having that passion for solving daily problems that people face may come from anyone of any age! It’s no wonder that these three lovely ladies created their own brand of instant stain remover. Young entrepreneurs Page, Alyssa and Pebbles will teach us more about Product Development and how they came up with Tidy Heidy!

Tidy Heidy Instant Stain Remover is an on-the-go solution for your everyday food, beverage, and condiment stains on fabrics. What these young entrepreneurs did is that they really understood what the market needed and created a product that specifically addresses what their customers needed. Their initial market are moms with kids who stain their clothes with food, drinks, etc. This market needed it to be non-toxic.

Tidy Heidy uses milder chemicals that is safe to use around kids, plus it can be used on most everyday kinds of fabric like cotton, polyester, dry-fit, etc. It’s also color safe (won’t fade the color of the fabric). Tidy Heidy is also vey handy and portable. It’s in a 19 mL bottle so you can bring it in your bag or your pocket

I asked them about product development and they mentioned that they didn’t get it the first time around. Even if they wanted to remove all sorts of stains, they knew that they needed to focus on the kinds of stains that were most common, which were food and beverage stains Tidy Heidy can remove stains such as coffee, red wine, soy sauce, gravy, tomato ketchup and fruit stains.

To use the product, all you need to do is blot the excess stain, drop the product onto the stain and wipe it away with tissue. It works best with a piece of tissue paper underneath the stained area to catch the stain and to absorb the excess moisture. You can repeat the steps stated above if necessary, until no stain is left.

This locally made product has a shelf life is a year from manufacturing date. Tidy Heidy is sold at a selling price of Php 115. If you want a 5% DISCOUNT, please use the CODE: GINGERxTIDYHEIDY. This is nice Christmas Gift for your co-workers, friends and family members.

To purchase the product, just go to their facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TidyHeidy/?fref=ts) and click on shop now or click on this link: http://bit.ly/mgxtidyheidy

For more information on the product, you can email them at tidyheidyinc@gmail.com.

GIVEAWAY:
Mommy Ginger is giving away three Tidy Heidy products. All you need to do is:
1. Subscribe to http://bit.ly/gtvchannel by using your gmail account.
2. Go to the Tidy Heidy  video and leave a comment! https://youtu.be/CO7GADBYtg4
3. Leave your email address in the comment section below so that we will know that you have joined!

*This is open only for Metro Manila participants
*Giveaway will end on December 10. 🙂 Join now!