SME Interview with Jade Dolor of Little Beans Baby Store

Today, I am again proud to feature a hands-on mommy and her name is Jade. I’m really proud and happy to see more and more mommies and daddies who are going for their dreams of starting their own businesses. I love writing about them here in my blog because I know that they need all the help they can get in terms of promotions and marketing. I know because I have been in that predicament when I started.

 

Munoz Family
Jade owns and operates Little Beans Baby Store – doing virtually everything from sales and marketing to design, supplier coordination, and even manual work when we do bazaars. She also work two full-time jobs, one as a Director of Operations for a company that provides reservation systems to over a thousand hotels worldwide. She also works from home as the Copy Manager of a company based in Canada.

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Between juggling these three things, I also take on some writing projects when I have free time. For instance,  I recently completed a project as one of the scouts for Yelp for their Manila launch. I am a hands-on mom to  my toddler. We have never had a yaya since birth and I breastfed her for two years – this was a time I truly  cherished and even now that I am no longer a breastfeeding mommy, it is still one of the things I advocate. I  am able to balance all these because I have a very supportive husband and family.

 

 

Interview with Jade of Little Beans Baby Store

Ginger: Thank you, Jade for agreeing to be interviewed. First of all, can you please tell us more about your brand/business? What is it about and how long have you been in business?

Jade: Little Beans Baby Store is currently the only brand offering Filipino statement onesies for infants and toddlers. While that is our main product, we also carry other brands for hip accessories that we import from other countries. We started in September 2013.

Little Beans Logo Lazada
Ginger: Who is your market and why did you choose this market?

Jade: We want to cater to A,B and C markets by providing quality products at an affordable price point. Our onesies come in three sizes: small fits 3 to 6 months, medium is for 6 months to 9 months and large is for 9 months to 12 months. However, our sizes run a bit big, so it usually fits up to 18 months.

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

Jade: When my daughter was about 6 months old, I was definite that I wanted to get out of the corporate world and start my own business. The first thing I tried my hand on was organizing bazaars. My first bazaar was a baby bazaar in Ayala Ave. It was pretty successful. I interviewed some of my merchants (who eventually became my friends) and they were really happy selling baby products. I was inspired and decided to try to be at the other side of the fence by going into retail. I made some very good connections with suppliers and started from there.

Ginger: That’s a great story! I didn’t know that you had that jump from being the organizer to being one of the sellers. In this journey, were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur?

Jade: While I had a lot of experience in events, managing a business for other, online marketing and a lot of other things, retail wasn’t really my strength. So I started with very little capital and a lot of trial and error testing. I did make some mistakes with product choices at first, so I have some stocks from two year ago that still haven’t sold.

Little Beans Filipino Statement Onesies Banner

Ginger: How do you market your products?

Jade: Online (through facebook and an ecommerce store), by real life interactions in bazaars and through business partners like Lazada.

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

Jade: Having your own business is very similar to raising your child. You may think you know things or that you can learn about it just by reading, but when you really get deep in the trenches of everything about your business, you’ll find out just how little to know and you’ll have to adjust quickly to different situations. Don’t be afraid to fail because it is in those mistakes – whether they be big or small – that you learn the most from. As an entrepreneur, the willingness to learn new things is definitely a must and so is bravery – don’t be afraid to fail or to try new things.

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Ginger: How about unforgettable moments or any lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur?

Jade: I think the most unforgettable moment has to be my first taste of success. I joined a bazaar where I sold out most of the items I had and I was really happy with the results.

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Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?

Jade: Just keep going at it and keep believing in yourself and in your product/brand. No one ever became a success by giving up on their first try or their second or even their third.

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Jade: Honestly, it is not for everyone, but I certainly hope those who dream to be entrepreneurs get the support they need and the courage to take that first step.

Ginger: Amen to that!  Thank you very much, Jade, for sharing your thoughts and your experiences. I’m sure a lot of retailers and those with online stores will be able to gain knowledge from this article.

To contact Little Beans Baby Store, here are their contact details:
Website: www.beansbabystore.com
Email address: violetdolor@gmail.com
Mobile Number: 09162475704
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/BeansBabyStore

SME Interview with Albert Salvador, Owner of Sarap Mag Biyahe or SMB Travel and Tours

I think it’s unfair that I only get to interview women entrepreneurs in my blog, so I have decided that for the SME Interviews section, I will start interviewing and featuring stories of men, as well. Today’s interviewee is Albert Salvador. He is the General Manager of Sarap Mag Biyahe (SMB) Travel and Tours. He has been married for 3 years now but they have been together for more than a decade because they are childhood sweethearts. He is a father of two sweet and lovable kids.
Albert Salvador and Family

He used to work at a pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim, as a Product Manager. Four years ago, he put up my own travel agency while working full time. A year after, he decided to be a hands-on entrepreneur because he has seen the huge potential of the business. “I am glad that I made the right choice because now I can spend more time with my family,” says Albert.

Albert Salvador and Wife 2

Albert Salvador and Wife

“My wife and I really love to travel, the ultimate reason why we ventured into the travel industry. We also enjoy bringing our kids with us whenever we explore different places. At the same time, we gain more knowledge about a certain destination, which is very beneficial to our business,” adds Albert.

One of his goals in life is to make traveling affordable to almost everyone so that Filipinos can experience the joy of traveling. They would also like to promote Philippine culture, that’s why they make it a point to visit different places in the country to familiarize themselves with different traditions and to immerse themselves with our culture so they can offer nice tour packages to their clients. “Recently, I have started mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs to put up their own travel agency, it’s our way of giving back and help aspiring entrepreneurs jumpstart their own business” says Albert.

Interview with General Manager of Sarap Mag Biyahe or SMB Travels and Tours, Albert Salvador

Ginger: Hi Albert! Do you know that this is the first time I’m interviewing a gentleman? All of the people I have interviewed are ladies, so I’m really excited to hear your story! So first of all, can you tell us more about your brand/business?

Albert: Our travel agency offers both local and Asian packages which include hotel accommodation, air and land transfers as well as sightseeing tours. We have been in the business for four (4) years already. We also offer seminars and trainings on “how to put up your own travel agency” for aspiring travel entrepreneurs.

Ginger: That’s great, Albert! You may want to offer those trainings in ManilaWorkshops.com, too! Just let me know. But I’m curious about how you came up with this idea. Can you tell me more about it, please?

Albert: My wife and I are very much into traveling. Before we started this business, both of us are working full time. My wife used to work at the Philippine Senate while I was busy working in a multinational company. At some point, we realized we needed to take control of our decisions and find our own work/life balance because we do not want to spend the rest of our lives working for anyone else. Another motivating factor is the fact that we are starting a family and our earnings as employees may not be sufficient to support their education and daily needs given the inflation rate and other economic factors. That’s the time when we decided to invest a portion of our savings on starting a business. Before we knew it, we have turned our passion, traveling, into a profitable venture.

Ginger: Who is your market and why did you choose this market?

Albert: We cater to both the young professionals and budget travelers. We believe that traveling is not just for the rich and retirees. Everyone, whether be it a student or an ordinary employee, has the right to enjoy life and to take a breather once in a while.

Ginger: Albert, what are ways that you can do to raise capital for those who want or are interested to start a business?

Albert: For me, Teaching / sharing my knowledge is our best way to raise capital / investments. Currently, we have helped a total of 200 new travel agencies in starting their own business.

Ginger: How do you market your products?

Albert: I market my services through social media like Facebook and Instagram. We also make it a point to keep our clients in the loop about promos, etc through email or SMS.

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

Albert: We use the latest ticketing systems from INDIA capable of booking both domestic and international airlines. We also invest of specialized systems like AMADEUS E-POWER which makes our booking a lot easier.

Ginger: Seems like you have got all your bases covered, but were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?

Albert: There’s always a risk in running your own business and we have prepared ourselves for failure and challenges because it’s a game of probability. There’s a 50-50 chance of either failing or succeeding. Just like any budding entrepreneurs, we have encountered challenges and stumbling blocks along the way. Some of these obstacles were hiring the wrong person, committing errors in booking, giving credit lines, among others.

Sarap Mag Biyahe Package

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

Albert: a. He/she must be emotionally prepared (one should be good in managing risks); b. Focus and diligence and c. Innovative mind (competition is tough that’s why we need to constantly innovate and offer something new to our clients so that we won’t be left behind) d. Hard working (we usually cater inquiries until 1:00am)

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

Albert: The most important lesson I’ve learned is that failures are part of the business operation because that’s how you will learn and gain more knowledge. What you have to do is to not commit the same mistakes again. Therefore, you have to avoid the things that will pull you down. Like for instance, I made the mistake of trusting too much. A high school classmate booked their tickets and land arrangements with us. Since I know the person, I allowed her to settle the payment after the booking has been made. To make it short, I spent more than Php100,000 for their booking and I did not get any payment from them. She cut her ties with us and her parents flew to the States already. Trust is really important in the business but be extra cautious in dealing with other people. Make sure to put your policies in place.

Albert of Sarap Mag Biyahe Travels and Tours

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?

Albert: Engage with your customers, get feedbacks from your clients, get the right people, be adaptable to change, continuous learning is very important (because we Filipinos were not raised as entrepreneurs so I always read books to supplement my knowledge), do not spend beyond your means (eg. investing too much on a fancy office is not necessary in a start-up phase); take risks and do you best to overcome obstacles.

Ginger: For my last question, Albert, do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Albert: I believe everyone should be self-employed either as business owners or consultants in their respective fields. I believe you’re missing a lot of opportunities if you’re confined in a box.

Ginger: Thank you very much, Albert! I wish you more success in your business. For those who want to travel and who want to see the many gorgeous places in the Philippines, check out Sarap Mag Biyahe Travels and Tours contact details below.
Sarap Mag Biyahe Contact Information
Website: sarapmagbiyahe.com / smbtravel.com.ph (soon)
Email address: sarapmagbiyahe@hotmail.com
Mobile Number: 0999-9981535
Facebook Page: smbtravel
Instagram acount: @smbtravel

 

Interview with Entrepreneur Sheryl Kiong of Curtsy

Good morning! Today is the first day of my Love the Leap Entrepreneurship Program and I am excited to meet these people who will, I know, be successful entrepreneurs in the future! It’s nice to see that there are a lot of young entrepreneurs who are going into business. What I like about these young people is that they have a lot of great, new and fresh ideas.

In this interview today, this young lass experienced how it was in the corporate world, but early on realized that she wanted to start her own business. Here is the story of Sheryl Kiong, the Proprietor of Curtsy.

Curtsy logo-1

I’m Sheryl, 25, graduated from De La Salle, College of Saint Benilde AB Production Design. After graduation, I took short courses in the Fashion Institute of the Philippines (FIP) then worked in the corporate world the following year. After leaving the corporate life, I started to build Curtsy. I started by making baby headbands, but then eventually, I created ladies apparel. I hope to make it a lifestyle brand in the future. Every year, before the school starts, a portion of my sales buys school supplies for the the children in Payatas. This is my way in giving back and a reminder that I am blessed that I was able to study in a good school and now I’m chasing my own dreams.

Interview with Sheryl Kiong of Curtsy

Ginger: Good morning, Sheryl! Can you tell me more about what your brand is, what is it about and how long have you been in business?

Sheryl: Curtsy is a phonological change from “courtesy” which means a gesture marked by polished manners. Inspired by whimsical-romantic aesthetics with a strong influence of Japanese and Korean fashion. It is an online boutique that tells a contemporary fairytale. It caters to modern girls who are naturally feminine and confident yet retains a delicate innocence. Fresh and classic styles that symbolizes a romantic and playful world where anything is possible.

The business started on July 2013 selling handmade baby headbands and made to order hair accessories then eventually evolved to clothing for ladies. Our merchandise are personally hand picked by me through various suppliers around the world.

Curtsy Denim

Ginger: Thank you for this information, Sheryl! And really, that’s true. Sometimes, we start a business as something and then we eventually evolve and change it into something else, and I think this is a pretty normal occurrence. So with these new products, who is your market and why did you choose this market?

Sheryl: My market is from 16-35 years old who loves classic and trendy fashion. Since I have a wide range of selection of apparel and novelties. This age bracket starts from self explorations and discovery of their style reference.

Ginger: How do you market your products?
Sheryl: E-commerce needs good photos to attract customer visually.

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

Sheryl: It’s my dream to have my own clothing line. Just like any other girls, I love to shop. I have my spurge and save moments when it comes to shopping but most of the time I’m on the “save” side. That’s why Curtsy serves premium quality clothes at an afforable price.

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Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?
Sheryl: Yes of course. After working for corporate companies, I decided to venture my own business. Since I’m just a newbie, I was very overwhelmed with everything that I forgot to focus. I did a lot of trial and error and the true identity of Curtsy as a brand starts to grow.

Curtsy Pink Dress

Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur should have when starting their own business?
Sheryl: Hardworking, Positive and Focus.

Ginger: Any unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur?
Sheryl: Everyday is a new learning experiece for me because I get to experience the entire process. From branding to marketing to finance and so on. And of course the people you meet along the way in this business.

Curtsy Skirt

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?
Sheryl: Everything is possible but it depends on the person if he/she wants to be a team leader or just a role player.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other young Entrepreneurs?
Sheryl: Don’t lose hope when you feel like it’s not working out. Everything has its own perfect timing. Be open minded about other people’s advice and other entrepreneurs successful and downfall stories. Most of all, never stop yourself from learning.

Ginger: Thank you so much for your time, Sheryl! 🙂 For those who want to check out the products of Curtsy, the contact details are indicated below!

Curtsy Contact Information:
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/curtsyph
Email address: curtsy.hq@gmail.com
Mobile Number: +639273475511
Twitter account: @curtsyprgirl
Instagram acount: @curtsyprgirl

Interview with Entrepreneur Ivorie Acosta of Cookie Bar

People ask me if this section where I interview entrepreneurs and SMEs are solely for moms. Of course not, guys! 🙂 Today, I’m featuring a young lass who’s single and 28 years old. Last week, I featured Ava Diaz Daza, also very young and still single. So, to answer your question, I am very much open to featuring entrepreneurs of all ages, marital status and gender! And today, I am very excited because my young entrepreneur’s business is all about making cookies, and I love love love cookies!

Entrepreneur Ivorie of Cookie Bar

Entrepreneur Ivorie of Cookie Bar

Ivorie Acosta of Cookie Bar is a 28 year old cookie lover. She loves eating, cooking and food styling! She is single but she has been together with her supportive boyfriend for 6 years already. “He’s the one who helped me with the business and he handles the finance side of Cookie Bar,” says Ivorie. This lady is a pretty laid back person. She likes staying home on weekends and she likes trying out new restaurants. She also has this love affair with New York City. Sge goes there every other year since 2009 and she says that it’s a small cookie shop named “Levain Bakery” that inspired her to do my business here in Manila.

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The Interview with Ivorie Acosta of Cookie Bar

Ginger: Good day! I’m with Ivorie Acosta, the owner of Cookie Bar. Ivorie, can you please tell me more about your business? What is it about? How long have you been in business?

Ivorie: Cookie Bar is a home based cookie shop since 2009. We specialize on making cookies in different shapes, sizes and textures. We take pride in creating a product list that is only centered on cookies. I started Cookie Bar as a sideline business while I was still a teaching preschool during the day. My main clientele were friends, family and co-teachers. As Cookie Bar gained popularity through word of mouth and social media, the business expanded and now Cookie Bar has it’s own kitchen/commissary where people can pick up cookies or choose from the variety of cookies available daily.

Ginger: Who is your market and why did you choose this market?
Ivorie: My market are young teens and young adults who love sweets! Some of our cookies are pretty rich and filled with different chocolates that’s why some older clients might not enjoy it. We try to make sure that cookie lovers of all ages get to enjoy our cookies so we make different kinds to tap that specific market. We have cookies for Vegans, for Diabetics, for people who like oatmeal, for people who like crunchy cookies or soft batch. Cookies are so simple and quick to make but each tweak in every recipe can make a huge difference is taste and texture.

Ginger: How do you market your products?
Ivorie: The internet is the best way to market your products. Everyone has smart phones and laptops so you have to be present in all the social media platforms. Constant posting of photos and reaching out to your customers is one way to get your products out there!

Cookie Bar

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? And what made you decide to start this kind of business?
Ivorie: I went on a trip to New York City in 2009 to visit my Mom where she was based. I was really amazed with all the restaurants and bakeries in Manhattan. It’s all filled with wonderful pastries and people just come in and out of these small shops holding some sort pastry. I also noticed how cookies were such a big thing there like cupcakes. One certain bake shop caught my attention because they were known for their COOKIES! Levain Bakery is on the upper west side of Manhattan. It’s a small shop, with no dine-in area, just take out counter for cookies, breads and coffee. I really wanted to replicate their big crusty on the outside and soft on the inside cookies back home. I went back home to Manila, with so much inspiration and an idea of making cookies the next big thing.

Cookie Bar 2

Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?
Ivorie: One of the obstacles I faced was deciding to quit my job as a preschool teacher and do Cookie Bar full time. I knew the business won’t be able to grow as quickly as I wanted it if my mind and body wasn’t 100% in it. I had to weigh the pros and cons of staying and leaving my job and eventually I had to decide on choosing to do Cookie Bar full time. It was nerve wracking not knowing If the business will really take off but now that I look back, it made me realize that it was one of the best decisions I made in my life.

Another obstacle I encountered is not knowing how to start registering the business. It was numerous trips to the city hall, BIR and other government offices. There are forms and requirements to be submitted. I did not hire anyone to do the leg work for me. I decided that I had to do it myself to get things done quickly and at the same time, I can learn it for future business endeavors. It really was a learning experience for me.

Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur should have when starting their own business?
Ivorie: Passion – Without this, the business will have no heart. It will have no personality. I think customers can tell if a business is run by remote control rather than a hands on owner who has so much love to his/her products. Patience – It won’t be successful overnight. Your product won’t sell instantly. You also cannot just wait for it to sell. You have to get up and work. Drive – Ask yourself what drives you to do this every single day. Is it for your future, to help others (like your employees), is it to help your family? Every person has a different reason why he or she will start a business but if you focus on a certain goal and why you are doing this, you won’t get confused and get disappointed with problems that come your way.

Ginger: Unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur?
Ivorie: Listen to your customers. They are the ones who can tell you if a product is good or not. If something you like isn’t really selling then there must be something wrong with it. It hard to get criticized but just realize that it’s not a blow on you as a person, it’s the product. I was creating a recipe for a certain event last year, I was so excited to launch it because it took me so many test batches to get it right according to my taste preference. In the end, my clients didn’t order this type of cookie. It wasn’t too appealing to them and I had to scratch if off the menu.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?
Ivorie: Never stop learning. In 2011, I took a cake and bread baking class in The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City just to give myself more knowledge about the basics of baking. I never really had formal baking training so this was really important for me to learn. Always push yourself to become better and always know that there is room for improvement. If you’re not good with numbers or accounting, there’s a class for that too! That’s my next goal. 😀

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?
Ivorie: No, not everyone is cutout to do business. It’s something you have to be mentally prepared for. Your business becomes your life. You cannot just run away from problems that come your way or even give someone a task only you can handle. If you are the type of person who can accept failure and its inevitability in life, then you can be an entrepeneur.

Ginger: Thank you so much, Ivorie for such inspiring words from such a young entrepreneur. I hope you can share this inspiring article with other aspiring, young entrepreneurs!

PS. For those who want to order cookies from Cookie Bar, here are their contact information:
www.ILOVECOOKIES.NET
Email address: cookiebarmanila@gmail.com
Mobile Number: 09175551228 or 09065696019
Facebook Page: www.fb.com/CookieBarManila
Twitter account – @cookiebarmanila / @ivorie_a
Instagram acount – @cookiebarmanila / @ivorie_a

PPS. For those who want to start their own business and start early, feel free to join my Love the Leap sessions this July! Sign up here: LOVE THE LEAP ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM

 

Interview with Entrepreneur Ava Diaz Daza of Baguettini Sandwiches

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.

Baguettini Sandwiches

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!

Interview with Ava Diaz - Daza
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!

Baguettini's Lechon Kawali

Baguettini’s Lechon Kawali

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.

Baguettini's Gambas

Baguettini’s Gambas

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.

Baguettini's Chorizo

Baguettini’s Chorizo

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?

Ava:
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.

Baguettini's Adobo Flakes

Baguettini’s Adobo Flakes

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.

Baguettini's Four Cheese

Baguettini’s Four Cheese

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!

To order from Baguettini Sandwiches, please check out these information:

Website/Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Baguettini
Email address: baguettinisandwiches@gmail.com
Mobile Number: 09173007282
Twitter account: @baguettini
Instagram acount: @baguettini

Interview with Cristina Cruz of Ysabel’s Daughter Bath & Body Products

I recently got to try products from Ysabel’s Daughter Bath and Body. I super loved their Peppermint Moringa Body Wash that I decided to ask the background of their story.

Cristina Cruz is the entrepreneur behind Ysabel’s Daughter. She is an entrepreneur who started an independent cosmetics company in 2011, using 100% all natural ingredients that come from different parts of the globe. “I love conceptualizing ideas that can be used for the future products of the business, staying fit and living a healthy lifestyle, but most of all, spending time with my kids when I am allowed time from my busy schedule,” Cristina said.

Cristina Cruz of Ysabel's Daughter

Cristina Cruz of Ysabel’s Daughter

She and her husband were both former flight attendants for Philippine Air Lines and that was how we met. His hobby of backyard bee farming actually led to this business venture as they were trying to figure out ways to use the premium honey produced for more than personal consumption. After thorough research, they decided to take a chance on this idea. Now, Cristina is a full time entrepreneur, but she still finds time to slip in fitness in her everyday life. She does yoga, boxing and muay thai.

“The advocacies I have participated on involve giving education to less fortunate children which the business has been a part of. As of right now, my goal so far is to have a successful business, as well as create the awareness and uniqueness of what our products have to offer in the market,” says Cristina.

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Interview with Cristina Cruz of Ysabel’s Daughter Bath & Body Products

Ginger: Good day, Cristina! Can you tell us more about your brand/business? What is it about? How long have you been in business?

Cristina: Ysabel’s Daughter deals with cosmetics, we manufacture 100% all natural bath and body products using premium honey as our base ingredient. We have been in the business for almost 4 years now.

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Ginger: I actually have a set a home and I really loved the scent and the packaging! Tell me, who is your market for your product and why did you choose this market?

Cristina: We cater to class A & B consumers. We chose this market since they are the major proponents of the healthy lifestyle and wellness movement that has surfaced in recent years. Our products embody the vision of taking care of one’s self by using what nature has to offer, with no traces of synthetic materials.

We Celebrate Nature. We are an advocate against toxins and so our products are kept 100% toxic free.
To arrive at the raw materials to be used, each product underwent a loving process that involved thorough research and careful assessment of all ingredients to assure our customers of the product’s potency, safety and high quality.

We Promote Wellness. Every product of Ysabel’s Daughter is meant to help create a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit that is meant to result in an overall feeling of well-being.

We are proud to be Philippine-Made. Despite our International standards, the foundation of a Filipino family is an essential component on how we run things, as well as how we would like our patrons to feel when they use what we offer – with the warmth and relaxation of home.

Ginger: It’s so nice to meet entrepreneurs who are proud to say and who really push for products to be Philippine-Made. I really admire those who do that. How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?

Ysabel's Daughter

Cristina: It started out as a hobby to use the excess honey from our backyard bee colony, we then focused on the other benefits of honey in a cosmetic sense. We then dabbled in creating home made products which my friends and family used during its early days. I was then convinced by my loved ones to start taking this hobby seriously, and Ysabel’s Daughter was born.

Ysabel is an actual person, she is my mother, If you one day have the fortunate chance to meet her, she is now a grandmother with enormous charm and grace. She is the epitome of a mother who raised her family in endless, selfless and enduring love. This is the same care that we would like to share with our patrons. This is also in many ways a tribute to her.

The name also stands for all daughters nurtured by loving mothers, women who have grown up confident, empowered, inspired and happy.

Ginger: I would love to meet your mother in the future! I’m sure that just being around her would be very inspiring! I know, putting up a business in the Philippines, is not that easy. Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?

Cristina: There were numerous obstacles along the way, which we still encounter presently from time to time. The biggest would be the budget needed to create such products. Our mind may have an infinite amount of ideas it can put out, but you have to carefully choose which ones are more practical to apply in your business. You have to objectively see the bigger picture, as well as balance it with your own personal desires for the company and the goals you set for it.

Ysabel's Daughter 2

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

Cristina: Passion, Dedication and Creativity.

Ginger: How about unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur? Are there any that you would like to share?

Cristina: Well, the best moments are the compliments and feedback you get from friends, loved ones, and most especially customers. There’s nothing quite like it, there’s an assurance that you get from them, it makes you feel that you’re on the right path with the business in general.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?

Cristina: If you have an idea, and you have the means and time to work on it, go for it. You’ll never know the possibilities ahead. It is not an easy path, but if you’re really devoted to it, it is definitely fulfilling.

Ginger: Such inspiring word. Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Cristina: Yes I do, just be practical about it. Do as much research as you can about your specific idea. Everyday is a learning process.

Ginger: Thank you so much Cristina for agreeing to be featured here in MommyGinger.com 🙂 For those who want to try out product from Ysabel’s Daughter, do check out the links below.

Contact Information of Ysabel’s Daughter:
www.ysabelsdaughter.com
Email address: ysabelsdaughter@gmail.com
Mobile Number: 0918 887 1886
Facebook Page: Ysabel’s Daughter
Twitter account: Ysabel’s Daughter
Instagram acount: @ysabelsdaughter

Mompreneur Jennelyn Faiwas of Chubby Toes Ceramic Impressions

When Zeeka was 17 months old, I had a ceramic impression of her little hands and feet made by this very talented lady. You can check out my review here: http://mommyginger.com/2014/10/chubby-toes-ceramic-impressions.html Today, I’m happy to share with you the mompreneur story of the Jennelyn Faiwas, the owner of Chubby Toes Ceramic Impressions.

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Mompreneur Jen with Julian

Who is Jen?

I am a licensed financial advisor, a breastfeeding peer counselor and a full time mompreneur. My strong advocacy is for breastfeeding. I believe that it is every mothers’ and babies’ right to breastfeed. Mothers should be given all the information about it and the dangers of artificial feeding. While the system protects , promotes and supports this right. I also love to babywear, cloth diaper and co-sleep with my son.

My son is 2 years old. I’m a single mom. And that is why my world revolves around my son. Before I got pregnant, I’m contented with my life as an employee in an IT company. But things really will change when you have other priorities.
Well, my dream is to be a bearer of financial independence to more people, to be a gentle birth doula, a very successful entrepreneur and a good homeschooler. A tall order eh? 🙂

My interview with Mompreneur Jennelyn Faiwas of Chubby Toes Ceramic Impressions:

Ginger: Hi Jen! Can you tell us more about your business? 

Jen: Chubby Toes Ceramic Impressions specializes in creating a unique keepsakes of our loved ones, especially the very cute babies. Newborn babies are my specialty. Because they just grow so fast. They start to be this teeny weeny creatures with tiny hands and feet then it feels like in an instant they will become this running, talking small people.

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So Chubby Toes captures this moment on clay and transform it to ceramics. I do children of any age as well, since they will just grow and grow but we can still capture their little hands and feet sizes now. I also do any member of the family, including pets! I started last year and it started growing. I have an FB account dedicated solely for my business. Recently, I also set-up a website that showcases my work since I started in 2014.

Ginger: Interesting and such a unique idea. Who do you plan to tap?
Jen: The primary market for my business is families with children or pets. Now, I have a vision of expanding my business as notable and special keepsakes. I am experimenting on my impressions so they can be used on occasions like weddings, debuts, birthdays, wedding, baptism etc.

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Ginger: How did you come up with this idea and what made you decide to start this kind of business?
Jen: Since giving birth to my son, I was always looking for ways to capture milestones and memories of his “littleness”. I have a monthly photo of him. I (tried to) journal his every milestone. So this included getting his hand and foot prints regularly. I have used ink and those DIY salt dough and plaster of paris. I used to be so crazy about it.

Anyway, I used to always encounter this ceramic impressions thing during my search for ways to capture (and display) my son’s keepsakes. I know that it’s not available here in the Philippines, but I so wanted it! I salivate just looking at all those beautiful ceramic plates, but all out of reach for me. So after months of constantly coming across it, I just thought why not start it here? How awesome would that be!
So I started to ask around and research about it some more. Then I met my mentor/trainer and things started rolling. I purchased a complete set of training materials, ordered my kiln. And so Chubby Toes is born.

I started practicing with my son’s impressions, then I asked friends and neighbors if I can borrow their babies and have their impression taken. Most of the time people can’t really understand what I want to do, or what my product is. But when they see the finished product in person, they are ecstatic that I have made this special keepsake for them. So I’m happy. 🙂

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matthew's impression taking

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

Jen: Yes, I used to be an employee with a decent enough income. When I took the leap, I have to adjust to the fact that it won’t be the same as when I hold a regular job, at least financially. Also I have to get out of my comfort zone. It entails meeting more people, marketing my product, etc. My usual routine before was to work then go home, that’s it. But now I have to constantly socialize and be out there, which really is a new experience and enlightening for me 🙂

Ginger: What are three traits that you think a Mompreneur should have when starting their own business?

Jen: It has been said before, but you really need to find a business that you are passionate about. We can all start a business, but sustaining it is another thing. And I think that’s what our passion does, it fuels us to continue and breeze through whatever we may encounter along the way. I sincerely believe that, love what you’re doing and success will follow.

I think another thing that made many Mompreneurs successful, is their motivation to always be there for their families. Being at home is a constant reminder of that.

Ginger: Any unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as a Mompreneur?

Jen: Things won’t always go as smoothly as we plan. I have my day clearly planned, but no, my son won’t allow me to do my things. He needs to feed, he needs me to change his diaper, I’m the one he needs to read him the book he wants. It’s crazy really. But I think it’s part of all the fun and challenges as a Mompreneur. And I love every bit of it! 🙂

I clearly remember my first customer, she contacted me through my facebook page. With full faith she asked to have her son’s impressions taken. Ok, with what I do, sometimes clients can’t really appreciate my beautiful product, at least on that first meeting because they will only see the plain-looking gray clay I use for taking their baby’s impressions.
So with this customer, I handed her her son’s impression plate after it was completed. And she was so happy and said “Maganda nga pala talaga!”. And so it made me happy too, to have had a chance to preserve a special keepsake for them that they can forever cherish. 🙂

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Mompreneurs?

Jen: Find that something that will light your inner fire. It is sometimes easy to jump on the bandwagon but always ask yourself if this is really what you want to do. You have to have a clear vision of why you do what you do. And if the going gets tough, you will only have that fire to hold on to.

Ginger: Thank you Jen for such inspiring words. For those who want to contact Jen, the information of her company is seen below. Thank you again for reading this inspiring mompreneur story! 

Contact information on Chubby Toes:

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Website: chubbytoes.com
Email address: chubbytoesph@gmail.com
Mobile Number: 0917.840.7405
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ChubbyToesPH
Instagram: http://instagram.com/chubbytoesph

Love lots,

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

 

 

 

 

PS. Please follow me on instagram! http://instagram.com/mommyginj

An Interview with Leah Dy of Fruits in Bloom

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I have been thinking of nice gifts to give my loved ones. Have you ever experienced thinking about something and suddenly it happens? The other day, I was ‘intensely’ looking and searching for things to give my loved ones for Valentine’s Day, and I couldn’t think of anything. I stress over these kinds of things and thoughts. Then that night, I came across Fruits in Bloom. It was the perfect gift! It was such an innovative idea! Imagine, who would have thought of creating an arrangement made out of fruits in the shape of flowers? It was just a brilliant and innovative idea.

Fruits in Bloom - Valentine's Day Collection

Fruits in Bloom – Valentine’s Day Collection

I decided to contact the owner and I got to talk with Leah Dy. Mompreneur Leah is the wfe to Francis Dy, a businessman. She is also a mother to Leanne (11yo) and Yohji (8yo). Daughter to Arch and Mrs del Rosario.

I got to interview Leah about Fruits in Bloom and this is what we talked about:

Interview with Mompreneur Leah Dy of Fruits in Bloom

Ginger: Hi Leah! Can you tell us more about Fruits in Bloom?
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Fruits in Bloom 1

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Leah: Fruits in Bloom creates Gourmet Arrangements made of fresh fruits designed artistically for any occasion. These fruit arrangements can be enjoyed in so many ways. It is a great gift for any occasion such as Birthdays, Anniversaries or Just Because. Instead of debating flowers over pastries for hospital visit, this arrangement answers both that surely cheers up the patient. Wedding centerpieces can be practical yet elegant with Fruits in Bloom arrangement that surely leaves a statement to your guest. Business Meetings or Conferences need not be dull and boring with its fruit platter served fresh for everyone’s thinking tank. Parties and Cocktails are adorned if it’s done with Fruits in Bloom. Fruits in Bloom Gourmet Arrangement cater every occasion in the calendar.

Arrangements are delivered to every recipient with much attention. Packed in food grade cartons, each arrangement is handled by its delivery specialists to maintain its freshness.

The company strives to stimulate its market continuously with its strength of Fresh, Innovative and Premium design and service, truly Fruits in Bloom.

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?
Leah: The idea for Fruits in Bloom was planted in our minds five years ago – unknown to one another, we have all separately explored foreign franchises for this concept but something was always amiss.
Then one lazy evening early 2011, three of us were casually talking about business ideas and boom (or should we say bloom) – Fruits in Bloom was born. We are friends and family who share a common passion for creativity, love for the finer things in life and the drive to go beyond the ordinary

Every Fruits in Bloom creation is the brainchild of our creative team headed by Pat Kierulf-Mauricio who collaborates with Ancherie Ohagen, a London based designer by profession and Malinie Nimmanwathana, based in Bangkok, Thailand to bring you our unique collection of fruit arrangements. Our creative team can design customized arrangements to fit your theme and motif as well.

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Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming a Mompreneur? What are these?
Leah: Time. Balancing time and being productive all at the same time was a challenge. Often times my daughter would call me asking me what time I’d go home- it pains me to say I won’t be home yet since I’m still at work. The thing is, I have other businesses also and one of the other business I have is a spa (day spas situated in hotels) and my spas operate until the wee hours so there are days I’d really come home late as I visit and check my spas so hearing my daughter’s voice looking for me is really painful. I have learned to adjust my time- I have agreed not to work on weekends except for special events and occasions (Mother’s day and Valentine’s Day) so I get to spend time with them. I also explain the nature of my work to her and when possible, I bring her with me so she knows what I do. I like my work and I love my family and I need both of them right now so I make sure I give time to both.

Ginger: What are three traits that you think a Mompreneur should have when starting their own business?
Leah: Hard work, Passion and Dedication.
Hard work means knowing your business, being able to do all the things that needed to be done- you shouldn’t be afraid that a staff/employee might leave because you know the business. Plan your business strategically to keep you focus. Passion- to have the desire to be good and be the best on your field and Dedication, dedicate your time and effort on your goal in order to succeed.

Ginger: Any unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as a Mompreneur?
Leah: Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are our all time year high. We do not sleep on these occasions. Our production is round the clock; our staffing multiplies in volume; orders are extremely high; delivery has always been a struggle (traffic- demand); we do not see our beds till the 3rd day— this has been our cycle since we had Fruits in Bloom. My husband jokes me that having Fruits in Bloom saves him from expensive dinner dates on the 14th  but at the end of the day, bringing smiles to our clients, delivering their arrangements on time and making the recipient happy is always fulfilling. It pays all the hard work.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Mompreneurs?
Leah: Know what you want and believe you can achieve it. You have to start from somewhere to get to your goal It doesn’t matter if it takes baby steps to achieve your goal, what matters is you take steps to achieve it.

Ginger: How do you market your products?
Leah: In today’s age of social media, tweeting, posting and promoting your business online is easier. However, I believe in the old school, basic key of marketing- ‘word of mouth’- if a client is happy, they will spread the word and that word multiplies instantly. So its happy client=good sales. Fruits in Bloom does after sales and in doing so we make sure to be efficient and precise in doing this. It’s simple and efficient which our client appreciates.

Ginger: Thank you so much, Leah! I really loved hearing about your story. And stay tuned everyone! This week Fruits in Bloom and Mommy Ginger will be holding a giveaway tomorrow. Visit this site again to know more about it!

Fruits in Bloom Contact Information:

Fruits in Bloom Website: www.fib.com.ph
Email address: fibstore@fib.com.ph
Mobile Number: 09336244119
Facebook Page: fruitsinbloom philippines
Twitter account: fruitsinbloom
IG account: @fruitsinbloom