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Mommy Madiskarte: How 3 Women Successfully Built Their Online Businesses During The Lockdown

Mommy Madiskarte: How 3 Women Successfully Built Their Online Businesses During The Lockdown
Photos courtesy of MomBiz

Moms never quit – and this could not be truer than in these trying times. A mother’s driving force is always her family, and when push comes to shove, you can count on her to make things work at all costs.

Get to know Silamie, Nikki, and Ricee – moms who, by being resourceful, successfully started their online food businesses during the lockdown. They share their inspiring stories to MomBiz hosts Pia Guanio-Mago and Divine Lee-Go.   

Silamie Gutang of Inday Gulay Online Palengke

Physical fitness has always been the passion of Silamie Gutang, a former coach. When the ECQ began, she wanted to continue doing what she loved, so “nu’ng nagkaroon ng ECQ, every other day or three times a week, nagkakaroon ako ng online session or live [fitness] session. Pero free lang ‘yun,” she clarifies.

Two months into the lockdown, she began to realize the need to look for an additional source of income and thought about starting an online business.

Kailangan kong mag-isip ng mas madaling ibenta. ‘Yung basic, ‘yung kailangan talaga nu’ng mga tao. So kaya gulay, kasi binase ko rin sya doon sa healthy lifestyle din ‘yung pino-promote ko as a coach,” she says.

With a 5,000-peso capital, Silamie launched ‘Inday Gulay,’ an online palengke where netizens can order vegetables and have them delivered to their homes. Like many startup business owners, Silamie had apprehensions in the beginning, but instead of feeling discouraged, she reached out to her friends, created a Facebook page, and put in the hard work.

“Every day, basta may order kahit dalawa lang ‘yung umo-order, dalawa, tatlo, pumupunta talaga kami sa Divisoria. Kasi ‘yung quality talaga ng gulay [ang] pinangangalagaan namin, ‘yung freshness talaga ng gulay. Okay lang ‘yung mga spices, like sibuyas, bawang, okay lang sya i-stock. Pero ‘yung mga leafy, hindi sya pwedeng i-advance na [bilhin]. Lahat ng mga hindi nabebenta, dito na lang sa bahay. So talagang sagana kami sa gulay.”

From two to three customers a day, Silamie was surprised to see her business grow in just two weeks.

Talagang tumaas ‘yung demand, umabot kami from Php1,000 to Php 3,000. And then, nu’ng may nakuha akong isang company na parang pinapakain nila lahat ng employees nila, minsan kumukuha sila ng worth Php 10,000 na gulay. Umaabot ng Php 5,000 ‘yung kita namin,” she shares.

Look after your own health first – that’s what Silamie always tells other moms. “Alagaan mo ‘yung health mo para mas magawa mo nang maayos ‘yung plano mo for the business and for the family.”

As a bonus, she says she’s been able to spend more time with her kids now that she’s managing an online business. “Isa sa mga na-appreciate ko talaga dito sa situation ngayon, nagkaroon ako ng maraming time sa kids ko.

Ngayon, mas nag-enjoy ako kasi naipagluluto ko nang madalas ‘yung mga anak ko. At the same time, nagkaroon kami ng bonding ng mga anak ko sa pagluluto,” Silamie adds.

Now, she is planning to continue her business by having her own physical gulay store, aside from the one that is operating online.

Nikki Dellomes of D’ Online Sari-Sari Store

From managing an instant noodles brand to being a financial advisor, Nikki Dellomes is a natural when it comes to marketing and sales. When the quarantine started, she once again tapped her skills since the situation called for it.

Nikki’s husband works for a company that imports and exports seafood. “We’ve observed na mas naging priority ng mga tao ‘yung basic necessities. So, why not make a business out of it while working from home?,” she says.

“Actually, parang laru-laro lang siya before. Usually kapag may mga shipment ng tuna belly, tuna panga, salmon, I offer it to friends or neighbors online. Hanggang doon lang. Although, I get business pero kumbaga hindi talaga seryoso,”

However, due to the worldwide travel ban, the sales of the company started to fluctuate. “So du’n naman, nagkaroon ako ng, ‘Uy, opportunity!’”

With that, she stepped up and added seafood products to their online offerings through D’ Sari-Sari Store. Their initial investment consisted of a freezer worth Php 12,000 and Php10,000 in cash.

They eventually expanded their range of products by including locally made sausages and desserts, which resulted to bigger earnings. “I think the highest we’ve earned for a week was around Php 70,000,” Nikki shares.

Seeing that this might already be the new normal, Nikki intends to go fully digital with their business, especially since it comes with other benefits.

“I got to spend time with family. My kids are just 5 and 2 right now. And nakakatuwa iyon, to be really hands-on and to be a part of their lives,” she adds.

She encourages other moms to be creative in finding financial solutions. “Tayong mga mommy mga ma-diskarte tayo. Hindi tayo papayag na ito na, wala na tayong iaangat pa. Makakagawa’t makakagawa tayo ng paraan, basta iisipin lang natin na kaya natin.”

Ricee Agripalo of Tasty Sushi PH

Ricee Agripalo previously worked as a professional makeup artist and beauty consultant. With a photographer for a husband, they made a perfect team for special events, which paved the way for ‘Creative Montage’, their own wedding and events company.

Everything was going well with the business until COVID-19 struck in 2020. All of a sudden, 80% of their pre-booked engagements had to be rescheduled while the rest cancelled.

Nakakalungkot, kasi iyong mga weddings talaga namin sana ngayon madami. At first, hindi mo maiisip magpaka-positive, kasi syempre, hindi mo naman aakalain na tatagal siya nang ganito katagal,” says Ricee.

But life goes on after all. She focused instead on cooking and started selling homecooked ‘laing na may pork chop’ which her customers loved. However, due to the price hike of meat products, she had to do a rethink because this meant less profit for them.

When the baked sushi trend emerged, Ricee tried it as a customer. “Inalok ako nu’ng isang friend ko na baka gusto ko daw ng [baked] sushi. Um-order ako sa kanya, tapos nasarapan ako. Kaso lang, ang sushi kasi medyo pricey siya,” she says.

That’s when she thought of selling her own version of baked sushi. Having no idea where to start, she patiently learned how to make the dish with the help of YouTube tutorials, doing everything by trial and error, until she finally perfected it.

Medyo maalat nu’ng una, so nag-try ako ulit. Tapos ginawa ko muna, nagluto ako ng tatlong big pans, tapos nagpa-testing ako through my friends [and family].”

With positive feedback from the people she trusts, Ricee introduced Tasty Sushi PH to the online community. She and her husband used their marketing and photography backgrounds to make sure they reach their intended market. “Ang bentahan ng sushi maganda. Iyong kinikita namin [ang] ginagamit namin panggastos ngayon [at] pangkain.”

Kahit maging normal lahat, hindi ko talaga iiwanan si Tasty Sushi.”

Ricee remains grateful despite all the challenges they have faced in the past year. “In times like these, mahirap, pero tinitignan ko na lang iyong brighter side. Masaya ako ngayon kasi kasama ko iyong family ko, lalo na iyong mga kids ko. Mas nakikilala ko sila nang husto.

“Before kasi, lagi akong work, lagi akong nasa labas ng bahay. May times pa nga minsan, uuwi ako, pagdating ko, tulog sila. Pinagpapasalamat ko na rin na ganito iyong nangyari kasi kahit papaano, nagkaroon ako ng time sa family atsaka sa kids ko.”

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