Last year, Go Negosyo and Multiply Philippines entered into a partnership to recognize, promote and develop a whole new generation of entrepreneurs. With technology and communications developing at lightning speed, it is the younger generation who is quicker to adapt to changing platforms in doing business and learn faster on how to make the most out of it. As Multiply has discovered, a booming number of very young entrepreneurs have begun to use what was once primarily a social networking site as their avenue to sell products and services.
This is why Multiply today has become known more as the website for young online entrepreneurs. And we at Go Negosyo support this innovation, especially because it encourages entrepreneurship among the youth. E-commerce websites such as Multiply address some of the most difficult challenges in starting a business faced by very young entrepreneurs: large capital, a physical store or location, advertising, and hiring staff. With an online website, a young entrepreneur virtually doesn’t need any of these.
There are already many successful young entrepreneurs thanks to the help of Multiply. We recognized some of the most notable “Multiplyneurs” in the Women Entrepreneurship Summit last March. In this column, we take a closer look at the stories of these inspiring young women Multiplyneurs.
Rookie Mommy Entrepreneurs
To demonstrate how success can be easily attained even by startup young entrepreneurs, we share the story of Multiply Rookie of the Year awardees Adeline Co, Jocelyn Tuazon and Jasmin Hong with their business especially for mommies, Little Emily. These ladies started only last November 2011, less than six months back, and yet they already caught the attention of the people from Multiply as they became one of the merchants with the most transactions. Apparently, the business doubled its transaction volume in its first month.
As with any entrepreneur, there is a source of inspiration for starting a business, and in the case of these ladies, it’s being mothers. In fact, “Little Emily” was inspired out of a name they would give a daughter, if they would be blessed with one. Jocelyn says, “At that time, lahat ng anak namin are boys, and we really wanted to have a girl. But then my sister said, [if she would have a girl], definitely, she’s gonna name her Emily.”
The ladies claim that the business really started as a hobby. They thought of products that they, as mothers, wanted. For instance, one of their first products was a very functional and efficient travel handbag that had a lot of compartments, great for organizing baby items, accessories and other items that moms carry around when traveling with their kids.
What started as a hobby became a viable business as orders grew. They then set up shop on Multiply.com, and to their delight, orders grew even more. Today, they offer a variety of products, from accessories, to personal care, to organizers, bags and wallets.
As rookies, these ladies have this advice to give to startup entrepreneurs – Jocelyn says, you have to be willing to work hard, and give customers value for their money. Jasmin adds, you have to understand the market; “As my mother-in-law would say, kung anong gusto ng mga Mrs.,” Jasmin says. Hard work, understanding the market, and offering quality products at a reasonable price – these ladies do know the essentials of business. The Multiply site for Little Emily is littleemilyshop.multiply.com.
Proud Pinay Entrepreneur
Bianca Donato had an advocacy at the core of starting her business, School of Satchel. When Bianca traveled abroad and saw quality handmade products, she found many of them were made in the Philippines. But when she came back here, none of those same products or brands was available.
The thing is, many of the country’s world-class and exquisite handicrafts and other handmade products are not found here. Fellow Filipinos can’t don the same quality clothing, handbag, or accessory nor carry in their homes world-famous furniture designs because these are created solely for export.
Bianca believes that these fine pieces should not only be made by the Filipino, but also made for the Filipino. Hence, she set up School of Satchel, offering products all of which used material, labor and talent from the Philippines. “Ang dami-daming products abroad na kayang-kayang gawin ng Filipinos at kayang gawin ng mas maganda,” Bianca says. And though many of School of Satchel’s pieces have also reached foreign shores such as Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia, these same satchels are also very much available in the Philippines through her online store, theschoolofsatchel.multiply.com.
School of Satchel boasts of high-quality leather goods, and are all proudly Philippine-made. This is why Bianca was named the Multiply Pinay Pride Award for, aptly, giving great pride to Filipino talent and ingenuity, and for putting the Filipino first.
It is still quite rare that an entrepreneur would start a negosyo so that she could promote a cause, and not just primarily to earn profits. When asked why she pushed for a business that also rallies for an advocacy, Bianca says, “I think importante na ngayon na ma-achieve ang ‘Triple Bottom Line.’” The triple bottom line being: achieving the business’s financial, social, and environmental objective.
Her business advice to young entrepreneurs like herself: “It’s very easy to fall into the trap na mag-iisip ka kaagad ng product. Ang dapat gawin ay isipin muna ang problema na ina-address ng service o product mo bago ka makaisip ng solusyon.”
Makeup Enthusiast turned Entrepreneur
Multiply has been around for several years now, even before it launched its new e-commerce platform as a response to its many users who have been using the social networking site as their personal online store. One of those pioneering entrepreneurs is Digital Traincase founder Sol Villamayor, who has been a member since 2009. She was also one of the first to latch on the new e-commerce platform when Multiply launched this last year. Digital Traincase was named Multiply’s Alpha Merchant of the Year in the last Women Entrepreneurship Summit.
Most women like to wear a dab of makeup to add color and for a fresh, pretty face. But many of the country’s makeup sets are from expensive global brands; a bit too pricey for young girls. Back when Sol started, there were hardly cheap but quality makeup brands (such as Nyx, Charm brushes, Beauty Pro) available in the Philippines. Sol is one of the many entrepreneurs whose business idea started from a hobby, and she frequently searched the net for the kind of affordable makeup that she wanted. Seeing this gap in the market, Sol started with buying affordable makeup from suppliers from the net, and re-sold the same to women in the country.
Sol’s business partner, Anne Brigitte Santos-Baluyot, shares, “We started with a box of lipsticks, because we noticed ang Filipinas mahilig sa lipstick.” As with any booming business, Digital Traincase soon expanded its product line, offering hard-to-find, affordable makeup brands and sets through digitaltraincase.multiply.com.
Today, Digital Traincase is one of Multiply’s top merchants. But Anne admits, “Ang challenge namin ay ang price war, kasi before, when we started, kami pa lang, konti pa lang yung mga nagbebenta ng mga products namin; pero right now ang dami na. So ang nangyayari diyan ay binababaan nang sobra yung product price.”
Despite these challenges, Digital Traincase still manages to stay in the game, especially because makeup is the passion of these entrepreneurs. More than just being a re-seller or distributor, Sol and Anne dream to have their own line or brand of makeup. With their success in setting up an online makeup store, and with the way things are going, that dream is not so far-fetched. Because as these women have proven, they can venture into anything, as long as they bring passion to what they do, and if they believe hard enough in their dream.