SME Interviews

Mommy Ginger shares interviews with momtrepreneurs that will inspire you through and through!

#BOUNCEBACKFORBUSINESS: Sarap Mag Biyahe (SMB) Travel and Tours Bacoor

One of the industries that’s greatly affected by the pandemic is the travel industry. Our local travel and tours business in the country will need your support after all of these. One of the MSMEs that I have talked to is Sarap Mag Biyahe (SMB) Travel and Tours – Bacoor Branch Services.

SMB Travel Bacoor usually offer Airline Ticketing (Phils. & International Destinations), Hotel Booking (Phils. & International Destinations), Sightseeing Tours (Phils. & International Destinations), Theme Park Tickets (Phils. & International Destinations), Travel Insurance (Phils. & International Destinations), Visa Assistance (Korea, Japan, China, Dubai, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Schengen, Turkey), Pocket Wifi Rental (Phils. & International Destinations), Car, Van, Mini-bus, Bus Rental (Phils. & International Destinations), Phils. & International Tours (FIT/Groups, Customized Tour Packages), Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions/ Events (M.I.C.E) Conference and Team Building / Company Excursion / Company Outing.

The have just recently started their business last February 8, 2019. Like most of these travel agencies, they earn service fee from the transactions.

Due to this crisis, they had to close their office. They haven’t gotten any sales since they have been no operations (No Sales) since President Rodrigo Duterte declared flight cancellations for one month.

SMB Travel Bacoor wishes that we could all help them out. We could help them and other travel agencies by not canceling our trips when we have bookings. Let’s just change the travel dates and save tourism!

“Many of us in Travel Industry might start with nothing if you cancel your trips. Save your desire to travel and let us assist you still after this challenge we all have right now. Another thing is and this is a fact, due to numerous requests, airlines will be taking up to 3 months to process refunds. But as we coordinate with them, changing the travel dates is allowed until June 30, 2020,” they said.

SMB Travel Bacoor continues on to assure us that we don’t need to change your travel dates and there is no need to rush in deciding when to travel again. SMB Travel says that they will be awaiting for your new travel dates.

This is good to know since I know that most of us will be raring and daring to travel once we wipe out and win over this Corona virus.

They also mentioned that this is the time that they are doubling up on their marketing efforts. They are also offering promo packages.

When asked about the lessons that they have learned from this pandemic, SMB Travel says that all businesses should save up as a contingency plan.

For future bookings, you can contact Sarap Mag Biyahe (SMB) Travel and Tours – Bacoor Branch Services via FB messenger (https://www.facebook.com/smbtravelbacoor) or email.

For now, stay at home and stay safe!

P.S. Please follow https://www.facebook.com/groups/BounceBackPH/ to see how you can support the Philippines.

P.P.S. Please follow #BounceBackforBusiness #GInspiration #GoLocalPH for more Local SME and Professional stories that we can support!

P.P.S. If you want to be featured next, please visit this link https://mommyginger.com/smes-and-professionals-unite-during-this-time-of-crisis.html and for Women Founders, please visit this website and sign up: http://startupwomenconnect.asia/

#BOUNCEBACKFORBUSINESS: Carsoncrest International School

With the spread of COVID-19, schools had to either close early or move their curriculum online. For my daughter, it was the latter. We had to set aside time to teach her the lessons given by the teachers. I actually enjoyed doing this with her. I immediately thought of how schools were affected (if they were) and how can we help these schools ran by our fellow MSMEs. For today, I’ll be sharing the story of Carsoncrest International School.

About Carsoncrest International School

Zeeka at Carsoncrest International School

Carsoncrest International School educates children of any nationality, race, or culture with programs ranging from preschool to senior high school.  It believes that children learn best when multidisciplinary, play-based, investigative, experiential, and practical approaches are used and supported with appropriate technologies that enhance the fun of learning and gaining knowledge. 

It also partners with parents to nurture their children into highly motivated, globally competent, academically excellent, and values driven lifelong learners.  Thus, it positions itself as a progressive institution that supports a multi-faceted philosophy in educating the young.  For its stockholders, it seeks aggressive growth and maximum returns at any location it decides to be.  While for its employees, it promises meaningful human development and adequate compensation.

I was lucky enough to talk to Carol Del Rosario, the woman behind Carsoncrest International School and asked her about running a business in the time of COVID-19.

Ginger: Can you describe your business model, Carol, and how were you impacted by the spread of the virus and the Enhanced Community Quarantine?

Carol: Like any school, we earn by collecting tuition fees. Right now, we can’t accept inquiries and enrollees in the school.

Ginger: How can people help you moving forward? What kind of help are you looking for? 

Carol: Right now, we are looking for ways to accept online enrollment. We’d also want to ask for people to spread the word about Carsoncrest International School.

Ginger: Because of the things happening now, what changes will you be implementing in your business? 

Carol: With these things happening, we’re thinking of implementing work at home or trying out home school (integrated with our curriculum) 2-3 times a week.

Ginger: What are the business lessons that you have learned from this? 

Carol: One of the things that we learned form this is that we should have contingency measures of moving everything online when situations like this happen.

Ginger: Thank you so much, Carol! I continue to wish you luck and success. I hope that parents consider enrolling their kids in your school. I’ve seen you and your school take good care of the kids who are there, and I’m sure parents who are reading this will want to support you after this crisis ends.

Let’s help support Carsoncrest International School. Please visit their website: http://carsoncrestinternationalschool.org/index.html

Instagram: https://instagram.com/carsoncrestinternationalschool

FB Page: https://facebook.com/carsoncrestinternationalschool

Twitter: https://twitter.com/carsoncrestinternationalschool

Stay safe!

P.S. Please follow https://www.facebook.com/groups/BounceBackPH/ to see how you can support the Philippines.

P.P.S. Please follow #BounceBackforBusiness #GInspiration #GoLocalPH for more Local SME and Professional stories that we can support!

P.P.S. If you want to be featured next, please visit this link https://mommyginger.com/smes-and-professionals-unite-during-this-time-of-crisis.html and for Women Founders, please visit this website and sign up: http://startupwomenconnect.asia/

#BOUNCEBACKFORBUSINESS: Mama V Delicious

There are friends that you meet who are always ready to lend helping hand whenever you need it. Amidst the chaos in social media, there are a lot of good news and positivity going around. One of the kindest and helpful people that I know is Tina from Mama V Delicious.

More than a week ago, my friend whose family runs a hospital called out for help. They were in need of PPEs, food, etc. I helped them and called out for help from friends, and one of the people who quickly responded was Tina Vitas, the owners of Mama V Delicious.

The food industry is one of those who are badly hit by this epidemic. Big food chains and home based businesses like Mama V Delicious are all equally affected. This is because of the disruption in the supply chain — ingredients are hard to come by these days.

Let’s get to know more about Mama V Delicious

Ginger: Hi Tina! Can you tell our readers what your business is?

Tina: Mama V Delicious is an online food delivery business. I spent 17 years in the United States. I, then, decided to come back home to the Philippines in 2004. My mother (Mama V) and I (Tina V) decided to open a restaurant called Mama V Restaurant on the Ground Floor of Providence Tower, 2471 Leon Guinto Street, corner Estrada, Malate, Manila.

Then around August/September 2018, we started Mama V Delicious. Our mission is to bring my Mom, Mama V’s 60-year old recipes cooked with passion & love to a wider audience. It is a related, but a separate business from Mama V Restaurant which we started in March 2004.

Ginger: Can you describe your business model? How can you earn? 

Tina: Offerings are Single Servings, Party Trays, Dine At Home and Set Packages. We are a company, earning both through good volumes of orders (that is the goal) and a well thought out margin.

Ginger: How were you impacted by this pandemic and by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ)? 

Tina: Business slowed first and then picked up. The challenge now is finding ingredients & supplies.

Ginger: How can people help you moving forward? What kind of help are you looking for?

Tina: We need to have more options for suppliers for all our ingredients, particularly ones that can deliver. This is very crucial in times like these! We, of course, are still in the process of getting known through social media marketing, PR & the help of influencers. Spreading the word to other people that we exist will help a lot.

Ginger: Because of the things happening now, what changes will you be implementing in your business? 

Tina: To have more payment options online, to upgrade other financial accounts related to business to be online, to use more online tools for operations, to be more on top of stocking of fast moving items, to give monthly incentives to employees based on their performance and the company’s sales.

Ginger: What are the business lessons that you have learned from this pandemic of Corona Virus?

Tina: How can we be more inclusive and socially responsible (as best as we can be) in our respective businesses that value goes from us, to our employees, to our clients and to the marginalized in society? I think the last few decades have seen too much hoarding of resources that created such insane levels of inequality in most parts of the world. The much awaited reset button is here. I hope we all use it wisely!

Ginger: Thank you so much, Tina! I really hope that businesses think of inclusion and become more socially responsible after this. More power to you and your company!

Please support her by visiting her website and social media accounts: http://www.mamavdelicious.com

@mamavdelicious.ph on Instagram

Mama V Delicious Meals on Facebook

Stay safe!

P.S. Please follow https://www.facebook.com/groups/BounceBackPH/ to see how you can support the Philippines.

P.P.S. Please follow #BounceBackforBusiness #GInspiration #GoLocalPH for more Local SME and Professional stories that we can support!

P.P.S. If you want to be featured next, please visit this link https://mommyginger.com/smes-and-professionals-unite-during-this-time-of-crisis.html and for Women Founders, please visit this website and sign up: http://startupwomenconnect.asia/

#BOUNCEBACKFORBUSINESS: Featuring Dev Depot

Today, I’m so honored to be sharing such an endearing story from parents of a little lady named Zen, who started a business called Development Depot or Dev Depot.

dev depot logo

We know that it’s essential to for our kids to always be physically fit and strong. We do this by encouraging them to exercise and get into different kinds of physical activities and sports. Today, our feature is about Brian Tan’s business where they create pediatric therapy equipment, kids’ furniture, wooden toys, and Montessori materials. What I love about them is that all their products are made by Filipinos, from start to finish.

The Story of Dev Depot

Brian and Anne started their business because of their daughter Zen who is living with Down Syndrome. They said that their daughter started physical therapy at just 2 months old. Ideally, families should replicate what happens during therapy at home (since therapy is just a couple of hours per week). They sourced for therapy equipment that we can use at home, and in doing this, we saw the need for locally-produced equipment. Since a lot of these items are huge, shipping from overseas will more than double the price. Brian then did a crash course in woodworking to be able to make the items that their daughter needs.

Their mission is to provide high-quality, sustainability-sourced play and therapy equipment to Filipinos.

They do in-house manufacturing, marketing and sales, as well as event rentals. Mommy Anne does most of the marketing, customer service, and market research tasks. Daddy Brian, on the other hand, plans the design and also is very hands-on with production. They have assistant craftsmen on board, who help mostly with sanding, painting and finishing. For the functions that are beyond their main competencies, such as wood milling and latheworks, they outsource the work. They also launched our #OnTheGoPlayground a few months ago, which is basically a mobile play area for playdates, parties, photo shoots.

Dev Depot equipment

Business and How the Corona Virus (COVID-19) Affected their Business

As you can imagine, events-related businesses are one of the most affected by the pandemic. All their events were rescheduled to a later part of the year. They are also unable to finish and deliver (and consequently collect) a few huge orders because of the Community Quarantine. Mang Boy, one of our assistant craftsmen, is unable to come to work as well. With the help of a few friends who pitched in, they opted to give him his wages even if he doesn’t come to work, to help tide his family through this crisis.

When asked about what help our countrymen and the community can offer, they mentioned that word of mouth marketing / advertising is more than enough help for them.

Brian and Anne with Zen of Dev Depot

“We currently have a couple thousand followers on Instagram. Still a small number, and we’d love to reach more moms, therapists, and school-owners – people needing our products but sincerely have no idea that such things are available from local builders,” added the couple.

The couple also mentioned that it’s so difficult to compete with mass-produced items from nearby Asian countries. The other countries really sell at such a low price. Their edge is providing value for money instead by choosing quality raw materials. This makes their products durable, lead and toxin-free, child-safe, made with love – the works! “Though we have a long way to go in promoting locally-made products, we are thankful for initiatives like this which seek to help Philippine businesses like ours,” the couple added.

Since this unforeseen event happened, I asked them what changes will they be implementing in their business. They said that they would probably set aside a buffer for emergencies in our working capital. Since this is a first for many of us, quite a number of medium-scale businesses are struggling to provide weeks to months worth of salaries to their employees.

They continue to say that as much as they’d like (and other business would like) to give enough until the Community Quarantine ends, many businesses are still trying to cope with its financial impact, and they can only do so much in providing the emergency funds that our people and partners need.

They say that the lesson that they have learned is to put in place business continuity / contingency plans. Also, business owners should provide emergency healthcare benefits to all employees.

To follow and spread the word about Dev Depot, please visit https://facebook.com/devdepotph and https://www.instagram.com/devdepotph/ on Instagram.

Thanks for continuously reading these SME and local business features!

P.S. Please follow https://www.facebook.com/groups/BounceBackPH/ to see how you can support the Philippines.

P.P.S. Please follow #BounceBackforBusiness #GInspiration #GoLocalPH for more Local SME and Professional stories that we can support!

P.P.S. If you want to be featured next, please visit this link https://mommyginger.com/smes-and-professionals-unite-during-this-time-of-crisis.html

#BOUNCEBACKFORBUSINESS: Featuring Automart.ph

Looking out my window here in BGC, I don’t see any movement. This enhanced community quarantine has turned this hustling and bustling place into a quiet and somewhat eerie neighborhood. Weirdly so, I miss seeing people and cars.

This got me thinking about the Auto Industry. How are businesses in this industry doing. Fortunately, Automart.ph, one of the startups in this environment is the hero of my feature today. Here is my interview with the founder of Automart.ph, Poch Ceballos.

Ginger: Hi Poch! Can you tell readers more about Automart.ph?

Poch: We sell used and repossessed cars at prices far cheaper than what you can get from most dealers and marketplaces. We follow a strict “no patong” or no premium over what the suppliers sell the units for, so you’re assured that you get the lowest rates possible always.

Poch Ceballos from Automart.ph

While buying a brand new car is always a nice goal – and the brand new smell can be intoxicating – it’s simply not a practical choice especially with a global recession looming. Automart.Ph has a lot of almost-new and very high quality cars, at around 30-50% lower prices vs brand new cars. That’s the practical way to go about it. We have branches and car lots in QC, Paranaque, Cebu and Davao.

Ginger: I agree with that during this time, it may be wise to really think about purchases and having this option from Automart.ph for buying cars is great. So tell us, why did you start your business? And what is your mission? 

Poch: Our mission is to provide Assets for All. We provide practical, low-cost options for Filipinos nationwide, especially for items that are normally very expensive, like cars.

Ginger: To give people insights on different business models out there, can you describe your business model?

Poch: We work with suppliers who need to sell cars and place their inventory on our site. In return, we get a small commission for every sale.

Ginger: So, Poch, everyone’s talking about the Pandemic. Can you share how was Automart.ph and you as a founder impacted by this pandemic both or either positively or negatively? Were you also impacted by the Enhanced Community Quarantine? 

Poch: Our folks are doing study-from-home, and we’re upskilling them so that once we’re ready to go back to work, they’ll have more and better skills.

Ginger: I love companies who give high regard for their employees. How about your company? How can people help you moving forward? What kind of help are you looking for? 

Poch: I’d love to encourage and ask them to buy used and repossessed cars from us, instead of brand new. It’s cheaper, kinder to the environment since nothing new is produced.

Ginger: Because of the things happening now, what changes will you be implementing in your business? 

Poch: We might be trading down – selling even lower-priced cars than before. We’ll also be working with more partners who need help disposing of their added inventory.

Ginger: To end this interview, Poch, what are the business lessons that you have learned from this? 

Poch: You must be able to weather sudden downturns – have enough reserves if possible, and be kind to your employees. If you can have them work from home or study from home, do so.

Ginger: Thank you so much and more power to Automart.ph.

For those interested in collaborating or purchasing, please visit: https://automart.ph

Facebook: https://facebook.com/automartph

Instagram: https://instagram.com/automartph

Thanks for reading these SME and local business features!

P.S. Please follow https://www.facebook.com/groups/BounceBackPH/ to see how you can support the Philippines.

P.P.S. Please follow #BounceBackforBusiness #GInspiration #GoLocalPH for more Local SME and Professional stories that we can support!

P.P.S. If you want to be featured next, please visit this link https://mommyginger.com/smes-and-professionals-unite-during-this-time-of-crisis.html