Maintaining Success Marked by Entrepreneurship (MSME): Young businesswomen amid the pandemic (1/3)

by Warren John Ancheta, Trisha Alliah Limbo, and Margaux Maria Yzabelle Riola

(This article is the first of a three-part feature article series. Featuring Glaiza Veronica Santos, co-owner of Veronica’s Dream Trading)

Grand opening of Veronica’s Dream Trading / Photos from Glaiza Veronica Santos

Glaiza Veronica Santos became the sales manager, promoter, and co-owner of the two branches of Veronica’s Dream Trading at the age of 20. Her business ventured into the beauty products industry, distributing skincare products, perfume, and slimming supplements in Candelaria, Quezon province. 

She said that it was really her dream to run her own business. She started becoming an entrepreneur when she was still a grade 11 student.

“Pinakamotibasyon ko noon… may gusto akong bilhin na sapatos [para sa P.E.]. Mahilig kasi ako sa rubber shoes, at syempre alam ko naman walang pambili sina mama. Nag-ipon ako, nagtinda ako. Nagtinda ako ng choco mallows sa classroom, doon ako nag-umpisa hanggang sa nagkaroon na ng lumpia at turon at pati mga katabing classroom bumibili na. Nakita ko na ayos ang benta,” Glaiza narrated. 

She was also inspired by the vision to uplift the life of her family, now that her parents are grappling with old age, and the inconsistent below minimum daily wage. 

Glaiza also became a reseller, sales assistant of hardware, loading station, and skincare products, and even sold and delivered kakanin and merienda in the streets during the pandemic before she initiated her business.

Struggles of the Start

Checking of stocks delivery / Photos from Glaiza Veronica Santos

Because of her unwavering perseverance in pursuing the business world, Glaiza’s relative proposed to form a joint business. With this partnership opportunity, she decided to grow her reselling gig with a physical store in the downtown of Candelaria. 

Since Veronica’s Dream Trading was launched during the height of the pandemic, the store struggled in selling beauty products. “…Syempre ‘yong tinda namin, hindi naman siya essential. Hindi naman siya para unahin ng mga tao na bilhin kaya kakaunti pa lang talaga ang bumibili sa amin noon,” Glaiza said. Moreover, she wrestled with the rising number of competitors, aggravated by the fact that she is young and new in the industry. 

Nevertheless, age and newness in the business did not hold her back in continuing her passion in running a business. She resorted to numerous business strategies like offering freebies and providing new and high-quality stocks every week.

Entrepreneurship of a Young Woman

Announcement of restocks for resellers / Photos from Glaiza Veronica Santos

Glaiza has expressed radiating pride and pleasure in acquiring her title as a young woman entrepreneur. At her young age, she was able to sustain the lives of her parents, and extend help to her friends and other people. 

Achieving a breakthrough meant conquering obstacles for Glaiza. She faced challenges in experience and establishment of connection, particularly the inevitable age and sex discrimination present in the industry. She encountered a lot of rejections and demeaning, assuming that she is passive and unskilled for the position, which resulted in the disparagement of her business. 

“Kailangan matatag ka. Kapag alam mong tama ka, wag mo hayaan na ganon [ang turing] sa’yo kasi masasanay sila… Palagi mong sabihin ang nararamdaman mo,” Glaiza advised. 

Nonetheless, it was revealed by Glaiza that there were also many opportunities. Given the fact that she is a young woman entrepreneur in a beauty products business with the majority of her customers being women, she was able to effectively market her products. Gaining women’s trust through articulation became her marketing strategy that benefits the trading. Moreover, her singleness as a young person makes her more focused on running the business. 

The Different Measures of Success

The front product display of Veronica’s Dream Trading / Photos from Glaiza Veronica Santos

For just more than a year of the existence of the business, Glaiza already identified four business successes: business extension, job provision, consumer loyalty, and the changed lives of the customers. 

Firstly, the business launched its second branch in just a year. This is due to the increase of market demand for her products now that the Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed. Vlogs and “glow-up” trends have also swayed the public, leading several beauty products to arise.

Second is the success in providing several jobs for her partner resellers. Glaiza stated that she has a lot of single moms and breadwinner resellers to whom she provides quality products at a reasonable price so her resellers could gain more profit.

The third success resides on the acquired loyalty of the consumers.  “…Marami akong competitors pero sa akin pa rin mas loyal ang mga customers ko kasi minsan wala na sa akin [products] na meron naman sa iba, hindi pa rin sila bumibili doon. Inaantay nila ang stocks ko. Marami na rin talagang bumibili sa aking customers at mga resellers… yung iba ang benta sa resellers [ay] overpricing… sa resellers’ price. …Ako, sakto-sakto lang… hindi ako nagdadagdag, hindi ako nagbabawas kaya sa akin talaga sila bumibili,” Glaiza said. 

The changed lives of the customers is the fourth success of Glaiza’ business. Because of her beauty products, she was able to help her customers treat their skin problems and regain their confidence. “…Maraming may mga tigyawat, mga may problema sa mukha. Nagkakaroon sila ng self confidence, sabi nila sa akin. ‘Ay nakakapag-selfie na ko, nakakapag-post na ako sa social media.’ Tumataas ang self-esteem nila,” Glaiza narrated.

These different angles of success were not achieved overnight. She makes diligence a business partner to thrive in the business world. She emphasized, “Huwag maging tamad kasi mahahawa ang negosyo mo. Noong online seller palang ako, kapag tinatamad ako mag-post, tumatamlay din ang benta ko. Kapag walang gana, naa-apektuhan ang negosyo. Isipin nila ang possible na mangyari para madali na agad masosolve ang problema.”

The Business Continuity

Currently, Glaiza tries to maintain above minimum daily sales of her business while taking up BS in Business Administration, Major in Marketing at Tayabas Western Academy. She hopes to surpass her sales every month, build several branches across the country, and manufacture her own brand of beauty products. “Magkaroon din sana ako ng sarili kong skin care product, magkaroon din ako nga sarili ko [brand], yung pangalan ko,“ Glaiza told. 

What keeps her motivated in continuing the business is her dream for herself and for her family: to help her friends, customers, and resellers, to provide miscellaneous fees to her sibling which she could not afford for herself before, to buy every rubber shoes that she wants, and to give her parents the comfortable life that they deserve.

Glaiza believes that it is not just destiny that brought her to this path, but her faith, diligence, passion, and independence to do whatever it takes to be someone she is today. So her advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs is “huwag maging tamad, pwedeng mapagod at magpahinga pero huwag na huwag kang tatamarin. Kapag may naisip kang maganda, huwag magdalawang-isip, gawin mo na. Manalangin palagi. Kapag kasama mo ang Diyos sa buhay mo, lagi kang magtatagumpay. Kung mayroon mang mga pagsubok, mapagtatagumpayan mo ‘yun kasi kasama mo ang Diyos.”

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