Since Christmas is fast approaching, I know that you are all busy looking for gifts to give your loved ones. I shared with you my Christmas gift ideas for your mompreneur friends in this link: http://bit.ly/snrChristmasMompreneur. I will be sharing more Christmas Gift Ideas these coming days. For today, I feel so giddy sharing this product with you, since this brand was co-created and built by one of my good friends and event directors in Manila Workshops, Donna. She and her friend created Katsa Co., which I will tell you more about in this post.
I haven’t told Donna this, but I really admire her. She is a superwoman! She is a single mom, homeschooling mom, a work-from-home mom, a supportive mom to her busy 10 year old son who gets a lot of tv/print commercial gigs, a mom blogger, and now a budding entrepmom. She like travelling and shopping. She loves eating, but doesn’t like cooking (haha!).
Donna was a banker and a licensed teacher by profession. She started venturing into this business very recently (October 2106), which was co-founded with a friend. She met her friend and was her best friend during graduate school. “We complement each other,” Donna adds. They always get along and are patient with each other. “When one tends to be in a bad mood, the other one gives way. haha!”
They have always thought of starting a business, but what kept them from starting was because of the distance of their homes. Late last year, they decided to get serious and thought of Katsa Co. as their initial venture, being both kikays and who love bags. Her goal as a mom is to inspire other moms that you can homeschool and be a mompreneur at the same time through her blog and instagram posts.
When asked about other goals, she hilariously uttered, “Gusto ko magkaron pa din ng lovelife, haha! (I want to have a lovelife!).” But her main goal is really to raise her son to be a fine young man and to prepare for their future. This is the reason why she has several jobs. “Some of my friends say that they cannot do the things that I can do, because I juggle work, business, parenting, and home management. I just tell them, “mahirap talagang kumita ng pera.. haha! (Earning money is hard!).
Katsa Co.’s Story
Ginger: What is your Startup/brand/business? What is it about? How long have you been in business?
Donna: Our business name is Katsa Co. We thought of that name, because we wanted something that is catchy and easy to remember. Our bags and pouches are basically made of katsa, so having it as our business name is something that people can easily recall. We are into selling personalized bags and pouches. We ask our customers how they want their bags to be and what kind of print should be on the bags/pouches. We have our own line of bags, but we are also open to different customizations. As long as it is made of katsa, we can do it. We just started last October 2016.
Ginger: Who is your target market? Why did you choose this market? Can you give us the insight behind this market?
Donna: We would love to tap everyone who is looking for something to use for their own or someone who would love to showcase their kids’ artwork or maybe someone who is looking for gift ideas or Christmas gift ideas (since it’s almost Christmas). We will serve every one who would love personalized bags and pouches! Our bags and pouches can also be used by men, too! My friend and I love ‘owning’ things so we thought of opening this idea to other people, too.
Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?
Donna: My friend and I have already been thinking of a business that we can both work together despite of our proximity, and opening an online business is the most workable for both of us. We’ve thought of also buying a franchise, but the place to put the business is really a big challenge for both of us. It’ll be very difficult for us to physically manage a traditional business because aside from being business partners, we’re also mothers. We also need to find time for our kids.
Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?
Donna: Choosing the right business, because we wanted to put up a business that we both like. Another one is the challenge of dividing the task. Proximity is a challenge for us so we need to really plan our strategy for us to make the business work. We need to put more time on this business so that It’ll prosper.
Ginger: What are the greatest challenges in putting up and maintaining a business in your country?
Donna: Our business is fairly new, and we are still finding the right ‘formula’ so that we will be able to last in the business. Online business is really a tough industry to be in, because there are thousands of online businesses out there. We need to really market the business double time and deliver in a timely fashion to our customers. We make sure that we answer all their inquiries on time.
Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder should have when starting their own business?
Donna: A start-up entrepreneur must put up a business that they think that they would love, and not just for the sake of earning. A start-up entrepreneur must be flexible to their customer’s needs. Like in our case, even if we have our own line of products, we also do welcome customizations and we really try to meet our customers’ needs. A start-up entrepreneur must be willing to learn. Just like what I’ve learned from the business talks that I’ve attended in the past, innovation is the key to last in the industry. Learning never stops.
Ginger: Any unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder?
Donna: My friend and I always have arguments, hahaha. But towards the end of the day, we’re still friends. Respect each other’s opinion and always consult each other for decisions.
Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?
Donna: You don’t need to have a big capital to start a business! Start small, and from there, make your business grow ☺ Work on your capacity too, don’t get too excited whenever there are inquiries, just take it lightly. Learn to say no. Pray. Pray to the Lord for the right business opportunity for you, for sure there’s a tailor-fit business for you.
Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?
Donna: While being an entrepreneur is one way to achieve financial goals, I guess that being an entrepreneur also needs a lot of preparation and experience. While some can be entrepreneurs at young age, some people need a lot of learning and encouragement to be one. But then, the bottomline is do not be afraid to take risks. The risk that you would take depends on how much failure are you also willing to accept.
Ginger: What are ways that you can do to raise capital?
Donna: Save a portion of your regular pay by tagging it as business fund. Have a small home business like selling ice candy or ice or fishballs. If you are bolder, apply for a bank loan. Borrow money from family members (I say family members because family can be leaner on payment terms, hihi). Cut on luxury expenses.
Ginger: How do you market your products? Growth strategy?
Donna: Since it is an online business, sharing the website to several groups is a good way to make the people aware of the brand. I blogged about my business, haha. Asking friends to spread the love about the business. Keeping the site alive by posting a lot of updates.
Ginger: What are tech tools that you use for your business?
Donna: Our online shop is on Facebook and Instagram for now. Hopefully, we would evolve in the future by having our own e-commerce site.
Ginger: Thank you, Donna, for your time! For those who are looking for gifts to give out this holiday season, do check out these Christmas gift ideas from Katsa co.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/katsacoph/
Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/katsa_co/
P.S. This post is dedicated to Alex, the daughter of Donna’s Co-Founder Rowena, who passed away yesterday 🙁