Online Software for Developers: Samebug’s Renata Irsai from Hungary Shares her Story

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From one of the largest cities in the European Union, Budapest (in Hungary), a very admirable lady named Renáta Tamási-Irsai runs a technology company. She is one of the women in power that I have met during my short visit to Israel. She is the CEO of Samebug, a technology company.

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Renata founded Samebug with her husband who she married 10 years ago. She is a mother of three young children. “I am raising a child who is different than other people, through this I develop an understanding of what it means not fitting in to society. Using this experience I am able to listen and help other mothers who are in the same situation,” Renata added.

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Renata also mentions that her Christian faith plays an important role in her life.

She is a very organized person and she love things to be in order in every aspect of her life. She’s a member of the Budapest Toastmaster Club: http://toastmasters.hu/. She is also very passionate about cooking. She loves inviting people either to cook together or eat what they have cooked. In fact, cooking is another shared interest with her husband. “I am an introvert, but if you know me deep and long enough, you would not tell. Reading is my favorite activity when I want be alone,” Renata says. “My goal in life is to get to know the purpose of my life and become the person who I was created to be.”

My interview with Start-up Founder, Renáta Tamási-Irsai, CEO of Samebug

Ginger: Hi Reni! Can you share with my readers what your start-up is about?

Renata: Samebug is an online software startup company that builds a platform to help developers to find solutions to software problems. Simply take a stack trace from a crash, plug it into Samebug (either via a browser or plugin to IntelliJ IDEA or Android Studio) and it will search across over 800,000 (and growing) solutions to determine if the problem causing the crash has been solved by another engineer or not. If it has, Samebug will present the solution, if the problem has not been solved, Samebug will connect you with experts who can help. Founded in 2015, Samebug is headquartered in Budapest, Hungary and owned by a Delaware Corp, Samebug, Inc. The three co-founders are full-time employed, two of them are computer scientists, the CEO has a MBA degree in Finance.

Samebug

Ginger: Your product is a bit technical. I was wondering who your target market is for your product/services?

Renata: 18.5 million developers all over the globe. Our software is a developer tool, the market is given. The technical founders who are developers are solving their own problem. Developers are spoiled all of over the world – they are in high demand as every company is becoming more and more digital. Good developers are expensive and rare. They are used to use development tools free, so it is hard to get them to pay for any tool.

Also in our market the user and the customer is two different person, and you have to find the ways to make both of them happy at the same time.

Ginger: Excellent! So how did you and your husband come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?

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Renata: My husband, Árpád has been a developer for 25 years and an entrepreneur for 10 years, developing tailor-made softwares to a financial company. 3 years ago, when the business was struggling and he got his Master degree, we both felt that we need to change what we are doing. Samebug was one of the option out of the three we evaluated, things pointed towards Samebug and we took plunge, jumped and has been doing it for 3 years.

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

Renata: Lack of knowledge of startup world, funding.

Ginger: Yes, I have to agree. This is what we went through as well. How about anything specific to your country? What are the greatest challenges in putting up and maintaining a business in your country?

Renata, CEO of Samebug

 

Funding. Lack of understanding of the startup world, building a global company and lack of trust. Most of our family and friends do not understand what we are doing, what we are live on and why is it exciting.

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

Renata: Risk taking, commitment and willingness to be different and work hard.

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

Renata: I rather let go of what I have worked for and sacrificed a lot rather than doing a bad deal or make compromises on my values.

Ginger: Oh, that’s great! I just read an article yesterday of one company that was looking to hire a CEO that would die working or would rather spend time working than spend time with his family, and I just thought it was so sad. So, what advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?

Renata: Act as you don’t have Plan B, but have a Plan B to act on it when it is necessary. Be honest and transparent and stick to your values (if they are good) I also don’t believe tha everyone should be entrepreneurs. I believe there are many things that has to play in harmony for someone to be willing to take the risk.

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

Renata: Angel investors abroad and when the product gets to that stage later stage investors in abroad. There is very little chance to raise it in Hungary. The culture of building a global company is almost non-existent. We can provide services and from the money we can fund our startup.

Ginger: What is your growth strategy?

Renata: We are Software-as-a-Service company, selling online and later on targeting major enterprise corporations.

Ginger: Just to give others an ideay, what are tech tools that you use for your business?

Renata: Evernote, Slack, Jira, Skype, Google Docs, Balsamiq Mockup, Sketch

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us today, Renata. Again, it was great having one of the women in power from Hungary join us today! 🙂

If you want to know more about SameBug, here are the details:
Website: https://samebug.io
Email address: renata.tamasi@samebug.io
Mobile Number: +36 70 381 9619
Twitter account: @samebug

Hire Outsource Service Providers with Anytimes! (Interview with founder, Chika Tsunoda from Japan)

It’s Thursday! It’s another wonderful day to share insights and tips from founders and entrepreneurs from all over the globe. Today, we will talk to the CEO of Anytimes, a platform to hire outsource work from people who are in the neighborhood.

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Going to conferences and networking events is always a motivating and empowering experience for me. You get to meet women in power who manage businesses and who are influencers in the space that they are in! One of the women in power that I met during the DLD Festival in Israel and a women delegate for StartTelaviv was Chika Tsunoda (From Japan). She is the CEO of Anytimes.

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Chika graduated from Keio University, Faculty of Law in 2008. After graduation, she joined Nomura securities for their sales team. She worked for Cyber Agent Inc. after. In that company, she was a PR planner. In 2013, she founded Anytimes Inc., and launched a skill share service platform in Japan where you can hire outsource service providers called “ANYTIMES”. She is currently a director of the “Sharing Economy Association Japan” and auditor of “Adventure Inc.”.

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I had fun talking to Chika. Mind you! We didn’t talk about work all the time. This lovely lady also loves road bikes, dancing, yoga, climbing, diving, flower arrangement (IKEBANA) and other fun stuff! We also talked about love and relationships (but I am obviously not going to share our “girl talk” details here.. haha!).

But, let me share what I learned from Chika about her business!

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

Chika: We provide a platform service called “ANYTIMES” which connect people who need help or those who are looking to hire outsource service providers to those who want to work in their neighborhood. Jobs and tasks include everyday household chores, pet care, assembling furniture, language lessons, and so on.

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

Chika: In Japan, the total number of elderly/single/double income households reached 25million and government estimates continuous growth due to the aging population. This number also shows the growing demand for support services such as house cleaning, baby/dog sitting, any kinds of helps. People will look to hire outsource help more frequently. The demand for daily errands is increasing recently and this data shows the current market size is almost USD 60 Billion in Japan. Anytimes would like to grasp market share in the each field by providing a new skilled share platform We have confidence to achieve 5% market share initially.

Also, we are able to impose significant impacts on Japanese labor market by providing the platform. We estimate our platform can supply USD 9.6 Billion market value to the labor market if 5 Million users use Anytimes for 96 hours a year with USD20/hour. Given the tight labor market in Japan, the potential supply growth has meaningful impacts on Japanese economy.

 

Chika and Ginger, women founders!

Women Founders, Chika of Anytimes and Ginger of Taxumo, talking about how life, business, love, yoga, exercise, LDRs, etc!

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

Chika: I believe people should have options of how to work going forward. Working from 9-6 in the office every day is an old idea. We should be able to work anytime and anywhere and important factor is to maximize individuals skills and time. I am confident that Anytimes can impose positive impacts on economy, community, and peoples happiness by providing the limitless opportunities. In the future, I would like to penetrate this idea globally and that’s my final goal as an entrepreneur.

Ginger: That’s such a noble mission, Chika. What are the greatest challenges in putting up and maintaining a business in your country?

Chika: I would say that it would really be government regulation.

Ginger: What do you think are three traits that a Startup Founder should have?

Chika: They should be flexible, humble and faithful.

Ginger: Not all of my readers are familiar with this topic. For Anytimes, how do you raise money or what are ways that you can do to raise capital?

Chika: There are Venture Capitals, Companies and Angel investors that startups can approach.

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

Chika: We have a three year mid-term plan until CY 2019. We are targeting 10 Million users, which is 10 times our target for CY2017, and USD 60 Million transaction values (tenfold increase from our CY2017 target). In order to achieve this plan, we will focus on online and offline growth strategies.

For online marketing, we will mainly invest in SNS and listing advertisement in order to grow our users. We will focus our offline strategy on building alliance with government, connecting with local communities, and corporations. These will all build brand recognition. We have successfully reached an alliance with local governments and some corporations, such as Airbnb.

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

Chika: We use Github, Google Cloud platform, Slack, Waffle, Zendesk and Mailchimp.

Ginger: Thank you so much, Chika, for your time! So there you have it! These are insights for a woman in power who is the CEO of a Start-up company who let’s your hire outsource service providers within your neighborhood in Japan! Read more interesting stories every Thursday for my BE INSPIRED blog series!

 

More information about ANYTIMES!

Website: https://www.any-times.com/en/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/anytimes.co.jp/
Twitter account: anytimes_info
Instagram account: anytimesjp

Businesses for Couples to Start: An Interview with Jeff & Ingrid of Stationer Extraordinaire

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I met up with a couple who wanted to to share with me what their business was. It was perfect! I get a lot of inquiries about what types of businesses for couples to start that can give them financial success and happiness (awww…). I was truly inspired by this couple that I met. They made me thing about making my interviews with new businesses as regular as possible. I dub Thursdays to be the BE INSPIRED DAY! haha!

Every Thursday (hopefully), I plan to continue the tradition of interviewing startups and small businesses all around the globe! Yes, I definitely said ALL AROUND THE WORLD! I will interview single people, who found it challenging to uproot themselves from their current mindset. These people launched a successful business. We will learn from married couples who have amazing tips on businesses for couples to start. I will meet and interview tech start-up founders. Interviewing these tech-y peeps is so cool. Every Thursday will be such a happy and inspiring day!

So going back, today’s topic is a classic example of one of the businesses for couples to start. Jeff and Ingrid have been married for 10 years. They decided to put up a retail business called Stationer Extraordinaire. With only a few months into it, this lovely and cute couple share their experience as a couple in running a business together — a business that is in its early stages.

Jeff and Ingrid of Stationer Extraordinaire

Jeff and Ingrid of Stationer Extraordinaire

Check out this interview with Jeff and Ingrid if you are interested in getting into a retail business or to know what happens when couples go into business together. By the way, this interview is a part of the Pay it Forward Facebook Live sessions brought to you by Payoneer Philippines and the Work in Freedom community. We, at the work in Freedom community, will be doing this on a monthly basis!

Sharing this video interview which I uploaded on GTV (wooohooo! It’s alive again!).

It was one of the most fun interviews I had. We really had a great time laughing and sharing thoughts! Hope you learned a lot! Share with us what new insights or realizations you had after watching this video. Feel free to comment on the video in Youtube!

For more information about Yumi Journals and Kaweco Fountain Pens:

Website: https://www.stationerextraordinaire.com/

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Interview with Entrepreneur Cheryl Serafico of Cheri Handicrafts

I haven’t personally met Cheryl, the entrepreneur behind Cheri Handicrafts, but I wanted to share with you my interview with her. She is one of those entrepreneurs whom you know will inspire a lot of people, because she just speaks from the heart. When the heart talks, it’s different — it just hits you and inspires you.

About Cheryl

Cheryl is a mother of two little angels and a wife to husband Carlo whom she met in high school. “My inspiration for my crafts is my eldest Child (Czy) who is hearing impaired. We discovered it when she was 3. Akala namin huli na ang lahat para sa kanya (We thought that we couldn’t do anything about it). During the first year after we discovered her condition, we were always thinking of the challenges and trials that she will have to encounter. But from that experience, we trusted God more and realized that you just need to accept what He has given to you.”

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Cheryl started making scrap materials into beautiful, useful things in high school. “In 2010, when I gave birth to Czy, I also started planning for her christening and 1st Birthday. I started creating handmade cupcake towels as souvenir to lessen the expenses since my husband was the only one who was working at that time. I posted it online and that was the start of my small business, but at that time, we it wasn’t something that I would do constantly.”

In January 2012, Cheryl and Carlo decided to get married. When they both searched for suppliers, the lack of funds drew them to consider creating some items by themselves for their wedding. Cheryl read from a forum that handmade bouquets are easy to do, so she started creating her entourage flowers out of felt fabric. After finishing it, she posted it on Facebook and a friend of hers ask if she could make her Bridal and Entourage flowers, too. Without any hesitation, Cheryl said yes, and she was her first customer. The rest was history.

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The interview with Entrepreneur Cheryl of Chery Handicrafts

Ginger: What is your brand/business?
Cheryl: Cheri Handicrafts offers fabric bouquets, wedding accessories and event styling. We started making handmade products since Nov. 2010, while we started making handmade flowers in 2012. We use different types of fabric materials like felt fabric, satin, chiffon, lace, brooch, paper, clay, rubber and wood.

Ginger: Who is your market? Why did you choose this market?
Cheryl: Our market are those who are Newly-Engaged and clients who want to style their events based on a particular chosen theme. Since the time we started this business during our own wedding preparation, we just kept at it and continued doing the business. We really think God lead us to this field.

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?
Cheryl: Since I am a crafter by heart, I want to show to other crafters that we can also build a good business out of crafting. Sa panahon ngayon specially homebased-moms hirap maghanap ng extra income to fulfill the needs of the family. Parang ang laking factor ng merong pinagkakaabalahan tayong mom’s while taking care of our children.

Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?
Cheryl: Yes. Nung mas pinili kong maging fulltime mom and crafter kesa maging isang empleyado. It was really hard at first pero God lead me to the right path.

Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur should have when starting their own business?
Cheryl: Patience, love your passion and don’t stop learning.

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Ginger: Unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur
Cheryl: Well, one thing I learned from being an Entrepreneur is to build good relationships with all your clients. If they feel important and genuinely cared for, they will refer you to other people.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?
Cheryl: Use the skills and the talent that God has given you. Be patient. Learn from all your mistakes; these are the things that will help succeed.

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Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?
Cheryl: Yes. Strongly agree.

Ginger: How do you market your products?
Cheryl: I promote through my Facebook page. I also offer budget package and freebies to confirmed clients. I post photos of my finish products everyday so that people will see that i’m hands-on.

Ginger: Thank you Cheryl for agreeing to be interviewed! I wish you all the best. I know one of your dreams is to have your own workshop. Don’t worry, Cheryl! Fate must have brought us together! Cheers!

Contact information of Cheri Handicrafts

Email address: cherihandicrafts@gmail.com
Mobile Number: 09255524374
Facebook Page: Cheri Handicrafts
Twitter account: cherihandicraft
Instagram account: Cherihandicrafts
Pinterest: Cheri Handicrafts

Interview with Entrepreneur Vida Lim

Today, in my blog, I’m interviewing a very inspiring lady. I actually talked to her years ago but I didn’t get to ask if she still remembers me. I have seen her products a long time ago. For today, I’ll be interviewing a lady named Vida to tell us more about her brand Vida Lim.

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About Vida…
I love being hands-on—in business, but most especially, at home. When my kids wake up, I should be the one by their side. My husband brings them to school and I fetch them. There was never a time that we let our help fetch our kids. I have a lot of help at home but I just give instructions on what needs to be prepared. I make sure to have time to unwind, though. I love music! I sing and sometimes play the piano. I love watching TV series, reading books, and shopping online, even while I’m pumping milk for my youngest. As a born-again Christian, I have devotional everyday. I also have a D-Group; we’ll be meeting again every Monday when school starts for the kids. At the end of the day, I make sure everything I do is to please God.

Interview with Vida Lim
Ginger: Hi Vida! Can you tell us more about your brand. What is it about and how long have you been in business?

Vida: My jewelry line, Vida Lim, started as a hobby around 2004. I was working with my dad in the family’s hardware business but I really couldn’t work in an industry that doesn’t have anything to do with art! I studied interior design in college but pursuing it as a career would definitely have to be full-time—meaning less time for the family—so I took a jewelry design course at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines. I just tried designing jewelry, creating big, bold, vintage-looking pieces I loved that weren’t available in the market. To my surprise, it did very well! I consigned pieces with stores like Firma and AC+632 around 2010 and eventually launched my website, Facebook page, and Instagram account, where I now sell my collections.

The Vida Lim brand is all about bold, dramatic, and glamorous conversation pieces.

FP ROYAL BLUE GALAXY TASSEL EARRING

Ginger: Who is your market? Why did you choose this market?

Vida: I cater to a wide market—from yuppies to socialites, from twentysomethings to senior citizens. Perhaps it’s because I have a variety of designs and different price points as well. I have pieces under 3,000 pesos that even those in their 20s can afford, then I have the more expensive, intricate pieces with semi-precious stones.

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

Vida: Less expenses. There are risks in spending that are not worth it. There are companies that spend millions to market their products even before they’ve really established the company, and sometimes, the money just goes to waste because the campaign doesn’t work. Start small.

 

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

Vida: Clients who don’t pay.

Ginger: What?! Really, there are clients who don’t pay!

Vida: Yes, and another would be training the workers on how to achieve the level of quality you want for your products. There must be symmetry, the stones need to be protected—and so they need to follow a certain process. It’s tough when your instructions aren’t followed and the quality suffers, and sometimes the materials get ruined.

Those losses are part of the business, though. To be successful, you have to be patient, hardworking, and creative. You also need PR skills. Plus, you need to have faith so that any obstacle wouldn’t hinder you from achieving success.

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

Vida: An entrepreneur should be hardworking. Being proactive is key in success because if not, the business could be stable, sales may come in, but there may not be significant growth.

There’s also the need for creativity. You do not want your clients to get tired of the products you are offering. You always need to give the clients something different, something to look forward to. That’s why I continue to do my research on different materials and techniques.

Finally, you need to have faith in your business. You need to believe in your product. If you do not believe in your product, how are you going to sell it?

Ginger: Are there any unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an entrepreneur?

Vida: It was amazing to see my creations featured in magazines and newspapers for the first time! The first magazine to feature my work was Preview, and for newspapers, I’ll never forget the entire spread about my jewelry line in the Philippine STAR’s YStyle section. I was also thrilled when I first spotted celebrities wearing my pieces.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other entrepreneurs?

Vida: You just have to believe in your product, your brand. You should be able to highlight its benefits. If you really believe in your product, you’ll have faith that you will become successful as long as you are hardworking and patient. You also need to be creative, and you need to be good in dealing with clients.

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Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

Vida: No. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses, and the qualities and skills required of an entrepreneur may not be among somebody’s strengths. It is important to know what you’re good at and focus on honing those skills—whether in putting up your own business or pursuing another career. Stick to your strengths.

Ginger: Thank you so much Vida for taking time out for this interview. I hope that a lot of people will be inspired after reading this!

To contact Vida or to purchase from Vida Lim, here are the contact details:

ww.vidalim.com
Email address: vidalimjewelry@gmail.com
Mobile number: 0917-656-5615
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/vidalimjewelry
Twitter account @vidalim
Instagram account @vidalim

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.

Jade_Office 

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