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Summer is about to end, and it was a pretty busy summer for Filipinos as they prepared for two major occasions: the midterm election that happened two weeks ago, and their annual summer trips. Summer is always a good time for families to bond together and have fun under the sun. But for aspiring entrepreneurs, summer can be a peak season for many products like ice cream and halo-halo, or cold refreshments, and tourism-related negosyos such as resorts, souvenirs, shirts, hotels, transportation and many more. Of course, the election period added extra demand for printers, caterers, food retailing, transportation, and mobile phone loads, among others. The opportunities are endless.
Go Negosyo fully supports these enterprising minds as they come up with new business concepts and improve existing ideas in order to move up from poverty. Let me share three of the most interesting summer business concepts and the stories behind their owners. These negosyantes were actually featured on our TV show SME, Go!: Powered by Go Negosyo hosted by comedian Betong, which airs every Sunday from 8 to 8:30 a.m. on GMA News TV.
A sunblock from a Filipino Company
Most people who buy Beach Hut sunblock products would think that these are made abroad and imported here, but unknown to many, it is a Filipino enterprise started by Dennis and Emily Balajadia. They met and dated during their college years at the Ateneo de Manila University. The couple loved swimming in Boracay, but they also knew that constant exposure to the sunâ€™s rays would damage their skin. This posed a challenge to Dennis, who adopted an enterprising mindset at a young age because he came from a family of entrepreneurs and pharmacists. He thought that the best way to reconcile his passion for swimming and his desire to solve this problem was to come up with sunblock, and hopefully sell it to his fellow swimmers.
Dennis asked for the help of a sibling in formulating the perfect sunblock. Their formula effectively protected swimmers like him, as they were able to stay longer in the water despite the sun. Beach Hut sunblock soon expanded its range to protect skin of all types, and Dennis and Emily decided to focus on this business for good. Under the business name Dragon Edge Group, Beach Hut sunblock products are now also exported to Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and China. They even started exploring a different field by establishing the Beach Hut Bar in Boracay, which offers their products as well as summer drinks. Despite their success, Dennis and Emily continue to remain hands-on with their business, as well as with their five kids.
Armed with nothing but determination
While other teenagers were thinking about what kind of swimwear they would wear for summer, Dimples Balaguer Laâ€™O was busy strategizing on how to sell her swimsuits. At 19 years old, she opened her shop named Nothing but Water (H2O), a store which offers Anemone swimwear and TOMS shoes as well as summer slippers, bags, and accessories. Her businessâ€™s name was inspired by an existing store in the US called Everything but Water. Upon seeing the shopâ€™s name, she promised that she would name her business with something that was as catchy as that.
Dimples grew up in a very business-oriented family. She and her siblings were encouraged to work and put up small businesses, and during summer they would do things like selling small trinkets, working as cashiers for their parents, and even passing out flyers in the parking lot. Armed with nothing but determination, Dimples opened a shop and sold swimwear with designs that were not common in the local market. Sixteen years later, Nothing but H2O continued to flourish. In fact, the store won the Distributor of the Year in 2011 for TOMS shoes worldwide. Today, she is now at a point where she is starting to give back. One of her companyâ€™s projects is The Give Project, which aims to donate part of its sales to the poor.
Inspired by a sweet bagoong recipe
Ian Carandang wears a lot of caps as an entrepreneur, a band member and a foodie, but he is most proud to be called a mentee and a dear friend of the late chef Ed Quimson. Unlike most negosyantes, Ianâ€™s strength is not in balancing sales and coming up with marketing plans â€” he loves to eat. Initially, he whipped up desserts for his family and friends to enjoy, until two of his buddies encouraged him to start a business. It was then that Sebastianâ€™s Ice Cream was born. Sebastianâ€™s was an ice cream store with a twist, as they offered unconventional flavors like Sapin-Sapin, Champorado and their bestseller, Green Mango & Bagoong. The bagoong used in the green mango sorbet was a recipe specially created by chef Ed for Ian.
Ian and his business faced a lot of challenges. He was devastated when Ed died of a heart attack during the early years of his business. They also suffered a lot financially when the local market became obsessed with frozen yogurt. Their losses in sales prompted them to close their flagship store in Alabang, as well as other outlets. He was on the verge of giving up, but somehow he and his friends persevered. Seven years later, Sebastianâ€™s is the go-to place for food enthusiasts who would like to taste the best artisanal ice cream in the country.
These inspiring summer negosyo stories tell us one thing: entrepreneurship extends beyond seasons. As long as you have the right attitude, a creative business idea and the willpower to succeed, then any entrepreneur can go a long way.