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Create value for your biz to succeed – Jico Ambrocio

Jico Ambrocio, founder of Elo Athletics, believes in creating value for your customers. “Understanding how your brand will fit in and provide value in an industry is the key to consistently growing your brand and following.”

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Elo Athletics – better known as just Elo – was conceptualized around July 2020, and officially launched via Instagram in October of the same year with an investment of around PhP150,000 to cover startup costs and the initial inventory of products.

It was, perhaps, a line of business Jico Ambrocio would eventually enter.

“I’ve been very close to the fitness industry, trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle ever since I was in high school,” he said. “I was an active gym goer before and I pursued weightlifting as my main source of physical activity throughout college and even when I started working.”

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Jico was placed in a similar position as many others – i.e. “I couldn’t keep doing it because all the gyms had to temporarily close down.”

Jico tried exercising at home by doing bodyweight exercises such as HIIT, but he said he didn’t enjoy it as much as working out in the gym “maybe because there was always a feeling of isolation and uncertainty during this pandemic, that I couldn’t push myself to perform intense exercises.”

And then he came across Yoga, “and it really changed my perspective on health. Yoga taught me to be mindful of my emotions and to adopt a holistic approach to fitness.”

The newfound love – i.e. Yoga – led to the establishment of Elo Athletics.

“I… felt that the brand can open opportunities to spread the importance of taking care of our well-being, especially our mental health,” Jico said.

LOVING THE INDUSTRY YOU CHOOSE

It helps that Jico studied Business Administration and Accountancy in college, and “it has always been a personal dream to be able to start and grow my own brand. Back then, I thought my first brand would fall under either the food or fashion industry, and not in the industry that Elo is currently a part of.”

All the same, “thinking about it now, I love the industry that I’m in because I know that the products and services we can create will be valued by a lot of people since most of us really value our well-being. My degree helped me make better decisions for the brand but it was my personal experiences that really pushed me to do my best.”

As a new biz, “we haven’t reached ROI yet,” Jico admitted. Nonetheless, “I’m seeing a lot of opportunities for the brand to grow and I’m still personally investing more money in it so we can create better experiences for our customers. I would say that it’s a profitable venture because we are able to generate a healthy volume of sales, but it also requires a lot of patience to see it through until it eventually reaches ROI. Hopefully that happens soon.”

FACING CHALLENGES

There are still challenges.

“One of the main challenges I face is being insecure about the brand and its progress. I’m constantly aware of the actions of competitors and I tend to compare the growth of my brand to theirs — which has negative effects on my confidence, and belief in our products,” Jico admitted. 

However, “I have learned to overcome this feeling by focusing on the things we currently have. I realized that if I start looking inward — looking at positive customer reviews, or how many customers we’ve served, I am able to help myself view these challenges positively and constructively.”

On the business side, delivery and logistics are also challenging the running of the business. 

“I have to ensure that the products arrive to customers on time and in their best state. This means that I would also put a lot of effort into tracking the status of deliveries and communicating with customers, and consistently working with our couriers and partners to make sure that the delivery process is good,” Jico said.

But Jico is confident Elo will eventually carve its name in this industry.

JUST START

And for people who may want to also open their business, what tips can Jico give?

“Don’t be afraid to start! The fact that we have to invest money in a business means that we have a tendency to make sure that everything is perfect before launching — because no one wants their money to go to waste. However, the act of actually launching your product/service and getting it out there will really help you create better products/services for the people you cater to. Start with something small, listen to your customers, innovate and improve, and things will get better,” he said.

It helps to do initial research about the industry: the product, the prospective customers, competitors, etc. “Understanding how your brand will fit in and provide value in an industry is the key to consistently growing your brand and following,” Jico ended.

For more information or to order, head to IG: @elo.athletics, or Facebook.

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‘Don’t be discouraged nor lose hope even if the process is difficult’ – Cyramae Ubaldo

This February, Cyramae Ubaldo opened a candle business, Candle La Vie, with a start-up capital of around around P10,000. “Don’t be discouraged and lose hope even if the process is difficult. It will always be hard at first.”

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This February, Cyramae Ubaldo opened a candle business, Candle La Vie, with a start-up capital of around around P10,000.

“(When) I started planning my wedding, I thought scented candles would make great souvenirs,” she recalled. Though, obviously, these would also be applicable for any other events. And “that gave me an idea to start this business.”

Since she finished BS IT, Cyramae said she never imagined that candle making would become her passion. In a way, this makes the venture challenging.

“Some days I tend to become hesitant if I’m going to pursue this business. (I have) lots of negative thoughts (about this business) – e.g. that it might fail right away, that no one would purchase the goods, that my candles won’t be pleasing compared to others,” she said.

But with the support of her partner, “I was able to push through.”

She has yet to reach ROI, but Cyramae thinks this is a profitable business.

And for people who may want to also open their own business, what tips can Cyramae give? 

“Don’t be discouraged and lose hope even if the process is difficult. It will always be hard at first. The most important thing is that you love and you’re happy of what you’ve been doing. Even it is a small progress, it’s still one step towards your goal,” Cyramae ended.

For those who want to get in touch with Candle La Vie, head to Facebook or Instagram.

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Believe in your product – Jansen Prado

The Pantry Project Manila was established only on July 16, 2020, with a startup capital of approximately P25,000. “Make sure that you believe in whatever your product is. Be passionate. Challenges will abound and your passion will keep you going,” said Jansen Prado, owner of The Pantry Project Manila.

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The Pantry Project Manila was established only on July 16, 2020, with a startup capital of approximately P25,000.

“Our family loves to cook. We just love cooking and making our guests happy with food.. good food at that… And we always had this plan to launch our family’s heirloom recipes. We want to ‘put them out there’ and share to everyone the love and passion that goes into every dish,” said Jansen Prado, owner of The Pantry Project Manila.

In fact, by the end of 2019, “we were already gearing up to launch our mom’s estofado seco; and we planned to sell them in jars.”

But then COVID-19 happened…

Though, initially, “we decided to put everything to a halt… we saw how the pandemic hit so many of our ‘kababayans’. We had to do something.” And so “we aimed to help not just our own kitchen but other home cooks, too, who were displaced by the pandemic. We reached out to people whom we knew can lead us to people that can cook really well.”

And so, yes, The Pantry Project Manila came into being.

The first dish offered was the “badass bopis”, a recipe “loaned to us by our mom,” Jansen said.

Now, why bopis?

“(We) want the public to be comfortable eating bopis. That bopis can be very meticulously prepared, clean and positively distinguished. And that bopis can be gourmet and not be too expensive at the same time,” Jansen said.

ROI has already been reached, and “I am really very grateful.” This is also a profitable business, though “hard work and creativity are really essential.”

In hindsight, “I never thought I would be the one who will be pushing this plan. I have pictured my sisters to make this business materialize. I was so much into what I was doing in the corporate world that I did not see this coming,” Jansen said.

Fortunately for him, he has a degree in Marketing Management that “I find very helpful to the business.”

There remain challenges.

“The biggest challenge, especially during these times in the MSME world, is creating your market, your niche,” Jansen said.

Also, “with our main product, the Badass Bopis, it was hard to convince people that it is worth trying. A lot of people have reservations regarding eating the dish. So yeah, we had to add more to the menu.”

Businesses, of course, need to learn to face challenges.

For Jansen, the approach is to “focus on our purpose and knowing that there are a number of people who depend on the online pantry’s operations; this keeps us going.”

And for people who may want to also open their business, what tips can Jansen give?

“Make sure that you believe in whatever your product is. Be passionate. Challenges will abound and your passion will keep you going. Always welcome change as it is inevitable. Patience. You need tons of this. Have faith. No day is the same, so stay calm, focus, work harder. Optimism will never hurt,” Jansen ended.

Wanna get in touch with The Pantry Project Manila? Head to Facebook or Instagram: @pantryprojectmnl; email pantryprojectmnl@gmail.com; or call/text 09052700617.

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How H-Audio Technologies hopes to make a name as a global Pinoy tech company

Discover Filipino-owned H-Audio Technologies that eyes to make a global dent as a tech company.

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Prior to June 2017, Marcelle John (H or DJ HTown) Marcelino was approached by a friend – Marcus Strong from Seattle in the US – who inquired about “getting earphones made in China and slapping a logo on them.”

“Unfortunately, none of the manufacturers can get the sound delivery and quality that I wanted. So I ended up venturing to look for the right parts and suppliers to assemble them myself,” recalled DJ HTown.

And so in June 2017, H-Audio Technologies came into being.

There are numerous Filipino tech companies, though tech – per se – is not a field many Filipinos (generally speaking) often venture into. But DJ HTown said this was something he gravitated towards.

“I’ve been in the music business for over two decades as a producer, radio broadcaster, DJ, host, concert promoter, program director, sound engineer, etc. so it was not too far off that I saw an opportunity to bring great quality audio products without having to pay top dollars for it,” he said.

H-Audio Technologies is now also boosted by the presence of Earl Chua, COO; and Patrick Orante, Communications Manager.

“I’ve been in the music business for over two decades as a producer, radio broadcaster, DJ, host, concert promoter, program director, sound engineer, etc. so it was not too far off that I saw an opportunity to bring great quality audio products without having to pay top dollars for it,” H Marcelino said.

Looking back, DJ HTown said he never thought he’d be in this line of business.

“Not in a million years. Being that I was programming radio stations for 17years, I always thought that I’d be working in the radio broadcasting business,” he said.

In fact, he was offered a job at Spotify in Sweden for a music programmer position. “Fortunately, after a series of different interviews with their HR and executives, (the deal didn’t push through) because they said I was overqualified. They offered me a management role, but I went for a harder route instead because I needed the challenge. That’s when H-Audio Technologies started.”

That this is a profitable business is a given.

“If you do it right, build solid relationships, and have goals (global goals), it is a very profitable business,” DJ HTown.

Of course, it helps that their products have something different from those already available in the market.

Must-check include: the Replay 80s Throwback Headphone, Limited Edition PH3, and H3 Ultra Bass Earbuds.

As FYI: The important parts like the chipsets are from a US company called Qualcomm. Other parts like the aluminum and metals are from Japan or Europe, and assembly is done in China. Packaging is done in the Philippines.

“We focus a lot on the price points, quality, service, and most especially the relationship with our clients. Most companies that offer the same OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturing) and ODM (Original Design Manufacturing) in China will just give you the products that you ask for and send them to you. We actually care about your business. We help you with marketing, distribution, branding, and referrals. Because we want you to succeed further. And whether you decide to come back to do more business with us or not, we at least made sure that you got 100x more than what you paid for as a client. Consumer-wise, we always make sure that you get the best quality product at about half the price that the other bigger companies offer,” he said.

In an industry dominated by Western brands, there remain challenges for a Filipino company like H-Audio Technologies.

“Marketing, sales, finance, communications, everything,” DJ HTown laughed. “Just like every entrepreneur, most of us that is, all start with a dream. Then all the sudden you have to really put in the time to make every aspect of your business truly grow. I’m guessing facing these challenges only means that I find better people more suitable and smarter than me to fill each role. The true answer would be optimism and passion. We don’t just take in anyone to fill a role. We find the people who want to make a difference. People who want to grow into a company and someday leave us with the inspiration to do things on their own.”

H-Audio Technologies now eyes to open up distribution of its products and services in every corner of the globe.

This with an eye to also give back to the community via what H-Audio Technologies earns – i.e. To someday open a few community centers built specifically for the troubled youth, “so that we can help pave them towards a better direction. (And open/support) animal sanctuaries and shelters so that cats, dogs, etc. can be safe, away from harm, and possibly find their ‘furever’ homes,” DJ HTown ended.

For more information on H-Audio Technologies, head to https://www.h-audio.com/.

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