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Bida ang Entrepinay: The Real Essential Worker


    At this point of the pandemic, there is a new kind of essential worker that we need to celebrate. The Mompreneur.

    On top of everything she is – a teacher, a cook, a housekeeper, a referee, an arts and crafts guru – she’s also a woman who hustles and pursues her passions like no other.

    This May, we celebrate once again the Month of Mothers and, this time, we point the spotlight on our mogul mamas. Every week, we will feature a set of women who show us what life really is like in their shoes. The real deal on giving your best to both worlds – entrepreneurship and motherhood – without making your head swirl.

    Meet the first group of Shero-moms who have shared with us their talents through the InLife Sheroes Digital Bazaar: Bida ang Pinay and their time through this interview. 


    Andrea Karina Alforte
    Artfarm Sustainable Solutions
    5 years in business
    Facebook: @thegardekitchenph | Instagram: @thegardekitchenph 
    Mother to 4 kids aged 14, 12, 6 and 4

    How did the idea for your business come about?
    We used to live in Cainta and worked full-time. Then on weekends I would join bazaars in Manila selling bottled food products as a side hustle. It was toxic living and earning a decent income in Manila. I remember always having to juggle several jobs at the same time. And we have little time for the kids, and we're always exhausted. So in 2011, when our oldest was about school-age, we decided to just leave everything behind, our jobs, extended family, and move to Los Banos because we felt it was a better environment for raising our kids. We put up a farm and started growing fresh produce for sale in our local community, and what we can't sell we process into botted food products. Our main product, KalamanC++ started when we harvested a lot of calamansi in the farm that we couldn't sell, so we decided to create a new and unique product using calamansi, malunggay, gotu kola and turmeric which all grew abundantly in the farm. At first it was just for our family consumption, we served it to guests and got good feedback. That it tasted unique and it was healthy, and kids like it, even if they didn't really like drinking calamansi. We came up with the brand, KalamanC++, and started distributing to specialty stores that catered to people looking for organic, natural, and healthy products.

    How do you balance your entrepinay life with your family and friends?
    Running a business, especially a farming business, is really 24/7. You don't really get weekends off or holidays, because you have to be on top of things all the time. But it can also be very flexible. I'd like to think that we designed our family life with this kind of flexibility in mind. Our children are all homeschooled, since first grade, so even their school time is flexible. If I need to be somewhere business-related, they're independent enough to be on their own (older kids tending to the little kids), or I can bring them with me. If I need to visit the farm or monitor production, then we can all go, and they won't be absent from school or anything. Our situation is not always easy or ideal, but it works for us, and we all get to do the things we need and want to do as long as we arrange our schedules and priorities together as a family.  

    What is the biggest challenge of being an entrepinay in the time of COVID-19?
    The challenge has always been the lockdowns and the logistics nightmare that go along with it. We live in Laguna, we have a farm in Quezon, going to check on the farm is so stressful, the checkpoints, the travel permits you need to secure, we couldn't bring the kids because they're not allowed to travel, those things. Also the market is changing, buying behavior is changing, consumption patterns are changing, the business has to adapt so you have to be up on your toes all the time. Because if you don't you'll be eaten up by the competition and lose your market altogether.   

    What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to aspiring entrepinay?
    Build a community and deliver value. I don't believe anyone can be a singular success in business. Look for people, organizations who will complement you and drive your business to grow. And focus on value. Business is trade. People give you money and you give them something in return. But make sure that you're always giving your customers something that will benefit them, not just a product or something from the inventory, but a solution for making their lives better, make them feel better, even for just one drink or one meal, that's already value. And I think that ultimately, that's what entrepreneurs should aspire for, to build a loyal community and clientele who keep coming back and who keep supporting us because of the value they get from every transaction.

    What do you think is your advantage as a mommy entrepinay?
    The biggest advantage for me is that I get to spend time with my kids as they grow. Knowing that can I still help put food on the table while being able to give my kids the time and attention they need in their growing up years, that's really valuable. And I always get to be the boss, both at home and at work ;)


    Santanina Abainza
    Chop House
    10 years in business
    Facebook: @chophousemeats | Instagram: @chophousemeats 
    Mother to 2 boys aged 1 year old and 4 years old

    How did the idea for your business come about?
    The business started as how me and my then boyfriend (now husband) used to spend our "dates." It was actually the greatest reason why we ended up getting married. There were many, many times we almost called it quits but we decided to stay together because of our love and concern of our clients, who also eventually became our friends. Through grit, determination, perseverance, and hard work, the business slowly grew and was able to provide for our daily needs, especially now that we have a family. 

    How do you balance your entrepinay life with your family and friends?
    This balancing act is indeed one of the most challenging aspects in having a multi-faceted lifestyle. However, since women are endowed with multi-tasking super powers, we're able to do many things at the same time! Correct diba? The mental load is just really doubly tiring. Of course, we cannot remove the fact that my husband does his part in our partnership, and we are supported by reliable and trustworthy staff. My husband and I are in charge of separate departments but one cannot survive without the other. I'm also fortunate to have an understanding set of friends who acknowledges the challenges I go through, no pressure at all from them. 

    What is the biggest challenge of being an entrepinay in the time of COVID-19?
    The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed so many things in our lives. Fear was present in every aspect: physical and mental health, livelihood, relationships were challenged, etc. On the other hand, technology made it possible for us to lessen the impact, and improve on our current situation. Through online deliveries, we realized that there can still be some semblance of normal.

    What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to aspiring entrepinay?
    The best and only advice I can give is never give up. Remove the word, "Quit" from your vocabulary. The moment you call it quits it the exact moment you are defeated. 

    What do you think is your advantage as a mommy entrepinay?
    Being a mommy entrepinay all the more gives me reason to push forward. I get to be with my kids all the time. I look at their faces in awe every morning, right before they realize I'm already awake. Then I have a renewed motivation to go through the daily grind all over again. Being an entrepinay mommy is challenging but so fulfilling.


    Kristen Camille Martinez

    Love, Camille

    Less than 1 year in business

    Facebook: Love, Camille | Instagram: lovecamille2020

    Sheroes Store: https://lovecamille.linker.store/

    Mother to 4 daughters aged 19, 10, 8, 2

    How did the idea for your business come about?
    My daughter started a small online business last year during the pandemic, she's making accessories out of dried flowers and resin. I bought dried/preserved flowers for her business and eventually started to arrange some and decided to sell it online. 

    How do you balance your entrepinay life with your family and friends?
    Being an entrepinay, IL's Financial Advisor and a Full time Mom of four is not easy especially in our situation right now, but I manage my time with the support of my husband, family, friends, and guidance from the Lord. 

    What is the biggest challenge of being an entrepinay in the time of COVID-19?
    I must say that, it's the other way around for me. My small business was born because of this pandemic, I enjoy having an online business because I can still look after my kids, I manage my own time and it serves as my stress reliever. 

    What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to aspiring entrepinay?
    Always be excited to sell/promote your products. Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. 

    What do you think is your advantage as a mommy entrepinay?
    I think my advantage as a mommy entrepinay, are traits that all Mommies have in common, resilient, patient and we don't easily give up. 

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