Learning about Seaweed and My Natural PH

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

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

Mommy Ginger and Marina Morada

About The Moradas

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

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

Interview with Marina of My Natural PH:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learning is a continuous process.

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

Of course, never give up!

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

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

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?

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

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

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

Ginger: How do you market your products?

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

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

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

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

Contact information about your business:

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

5 Key Things to Remember when Creating a Retail Business

I always had a fascination with retail businesses. I think it is because I like the idea of having something tangible that you create. Although, I don’t think I, myself, can actually make the actual product (unfortunately, I don’t have the skill for that). For those who don’t know and probably a lot of you don’t know this, but a few years back, I actually dabbled into starting my own retail business, too. It was called HYD or Hot Young Designers. The idea was to collaborate and carry the lines of 5 new fashion designers, and help market them. In essence, it was a social enterprise.
creating-a-retail-business

 

This business only lasted a year though. My business partner and I decided to cut our losses short and just be happy with what we attempted to do and learn from it. There is part of me that still wants to pursue having my own retail business, but a part of me that also says that I have to say no. So, i’ll probably just take it easy first and chose the latter. I need to focus on the things that I am involved with now. With that, I think the help that I can give those aspiring retail entrepreneurs is through writing about my experience, sharing with you the experience of other successful retailers and to come up with learning events that you can attend.

For today, I’m listing down 5 key things to remember when creating a retail business:

Understand your Customer

In this business, for whatever it is that you will sell, it’s about understanding the customer. Oftentimes, having a tangible product can make it even more distracting to veer away from the customer and focus on the product, especially if the product that you are selling is a customised one (you created it from scratch). My suggestions is identify segment or segments of the market that you want to sell to and show the design of the product or a prototype, even before you create the actual product. By doing this, you get to garner feedback that will be crucial to how you create your business or product.

Research More about the Retail Industry

Going into retail, just like any other business, is risky. Retail usually involves creation or even just handling actual products that may be more capital intensive than a service based business. When aspiring to be a retailer, it may be beneficial to talk to already successful retailers. One of the successful ones that I have come across and interviewed is my friend, Cory Marquez of Invitation House. Here is her story on the humble beginnings of Invitation House, which now has 5 stores in the Philippines.

Check out the Different Types of Retail Businesses

* Store retailing. Store retailing is basically having a brick and mortar store, whether it is your own store or if you just have a spot given to you at a department store. Choosing this type of retailing business usually addresses the basic needs of man, like food, clothing, etc.
* Specialty stores. These kinds of stores normally focus now on a specialised “want” of the customer. Invitation House is a sample of a specialty store. It focuses on the desire of customers to have special invitations, cute artsy notecards, etc.
* Nonstore retailing. These retailers have chosen not to sell via a brick and mortar store, but through other means like building an eCommerce shop, selling via Easy or Shopify, selling via HomeTV shopping, or through catalogs that are sent out. It can also be non-digital, like having pop up stores.
* Other forms of “Retail”
– DIY Retailing. An example of this are the vending machines that you see around — from coffee to sanitary napkins. The only thing that the owner needs to do is to replenish supplies and collect payment.
– Crowd Funding platforms. Some of the new retailers also turn to crowd funding platforms like Kickstarter.com.

Check out the different Business models

There may be a dozen ways to sell your products and services, but here are some of those that I can think of:
– Consignment (be it in an actual brick-an-mortar store or via an online shop like Lazada, Zalora, etc.)
– Direct Selling or Door-to-Door
– Crowd Funding (as mentioned above)
– Sales from Social Media Channels

Create a Business Plan after doing all of your Research

It will really be beneficial if you could write down the plan, including the projections for both your expenses and income. Before the launch of HYD, we actually had this in place. What we lacked was more research about the retail industry. We didn’t know that return on investment (ROI) would be longer for retail than it is for a service based business. We also forgot to take into consideration the expenses for keeping the Quality in check. Writing it down will be beneficial since you will be able to go through different scenarios in your mind and you’ll often see it more clearly when it’s written down.

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Sign up to join this WORKSHOP at: http://manilaworkshops.com/events/starting-your-online-retail-business

 

There are a lot more lessons that I have learned from other more successful retailers that I can share via this blog. I will continuously share these things with you. I hope that you have learned from these few tips. If you are a retailer with a story that others can learn from, just leave a comment below and let’s talk about it.