PUBLISHED BY GLOBE BUSINESS FOR SMEs
AUDIE GEMORA makes it his mission to maximize every kid’s talent
FIND OUT HOW SPECIALIZED SCHOOLS are reaping more than just ﬁnancial rewards Toymaker CHITO MADROÑO combines work and play
E I H TEC
H P M U I TR is h s l l ﬁ l u f E T Y NTECH’S AND by byte
yte b m a e r d l a i r entrepreneu
©2009 Globe Telecom, Inc.
MASIGASIG Table of CONTENTS
AsianTech Andy Te reveals how his mom fueled his techie drive and his secrets to running a successful SME
This issue is special for me, because not only is this my ﬁrst time to be at the helm of Masigasig, but also because this month’s theme—Youth— is very close to my heart.
Peter Pan remains one of my all-time fairy tale favorites. I love how Peter Pan, however stubbornly and even irrationally, refuses to grow up and insists on being a kid forever. But instead of lambasting him for being childish and immature, I choose to see the bright side and laud him for being so optimistic and yes, brave.
Audie Gemora on art and business: “It’s all connected.”
GLOBAL ANG DATING
Chito Madroño proves that being young at heart can help you stay ahead in business.
Club Princess fulﬁlls every girl’s wish to be a princess come true.
IN EVERY ISSUE
5High Tech 8Helpline 9Franchising 101 10Hot Spots 12Hot Negosyo 25Round Up
Leslie G. Lee Mari-An C. Santos Sunshine Selga-Funa Camille Besinga Aimee Morales Dino de Ocampo
Editor in Chief Associate Editor Managing Editor Asst. Managing Editor Copy Editor Art Director
Paula Abiog Ray Andallon, Jr. Cecile Jusi-Baltasar Jemps Gallegos Bubbles Santos-Salvador Katrina Tan Darlyn Ty Abby Yao
Mark Ches Ang Vincent Coscolluela Heidi Pascual Jun Pinzon
Chi Chi Sotomil Carlan Teng Yen Uy
Jaclyn L. Chua
Junn delas Alas Dondi Limgenco
Globe Advisory Team Ailene Averion, Aldwin Co, Cielo Javier-Sonza, Alain Sebastian, Michelle Perlas, Barby Coronel
ma•si•ga•sig – determined, persistent or motivated, with a strong sense of direction in terms of goals to be achieved.
A special publication made by Summit Media for Globe Telecom. For special publication inquiries, please call 451-8888.
Reading this month’s batch of entrepreneurs has made me realize one thing: It takes a lot of guts and plenty of optimism to start a business. In the midst of such gloomy ﬁnancial times, it’s easy to lose hope and give up. But it takes more effort and more courage to forge on and look for ways to innovate and improve your business—be it tweaking your services or cutting back on extra expenses. We hope this month’s stories inspire you as it has inspired the Masigasig team to come up with bigger, better features and ideas. (P.S. Check out our youth-inspired look! Drop us a line and let us know what you think.)
Leslie G. Lee Editor-in-Chief To be successful, your business concept must be built to last. It has to have a strong foundation, while always open to change. It’s a belief that’s more evident in this day and age—especially with the emergence of a revolutionizing crowd of consumers: the youth. The youth is a tricky demographic; it spans kids as young as 5 years old, to more adult-thinking yuppies at 30 years old. But one thing connects them: technology. Be it cellphones, the Internet, or TV, the youth is used to fast and convenient information feeds. While their preferences and purchasing styles may change at lightning speed, one thing is constant: they are not going to settle for second best. At Globe, we understand the power of evolution, and as such, we always try to reﬁne and reinvent our services to keep up to date. We’ve witnessed how something as simple as text messaging can help drive a business, so we’ve come up with TxtConnect to further address that need. (To know more about Globe’s latest services and promos, simply check out our website sme.globe.com.ph or call the Globe Business Hotline, 730-1288.) The boom of Internet cafés has also inspired us to create the Globe Icafé Kit, which helps interested entrepreneurs set up their own I-café without much hassle and expense. Globe Business strives to help make running a business a little easier for SMEs, and we do so by continuously creating services that tackle the nitty-gritties to the more complicated areas of business. Finally, we hope that this month’s Masigasig sheds light on what makes the youth tick and the businesses that have sprung up for—or because of—them. Happy reading! Maridol Ylanan Head-Corporate & SME Segments
Call the Globe Business Hotline at 730-1288 or 1-800-8-730 1288 for inquiries on Globe products and services, or visit any Globe Business Center or Globelines Payments and Services Center. ●
For inquiries, comments or suggestions on Masigasig magazine, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.sme.globe.com.ph. ●
ASKED & ANSWERED
Mobile Solutions Dear Masigasig, My siblings and I are into the resort business—Golden Shower Resort & Hotel, located in Niyugan, Jaen, Nueva Ecija. We have 4 big swimming pools, 1 private pool with guesthouse, 8-airconditioned rooms, playground, etc. With the present global ﬁnancial crisis, the business is very tough and we need to reach out to more clients and customers now. I am a disabled person and can’t go out without a companion. I thought of having a website to reach out to more customers but I didn’t know how to start and sustain one, at the least expense if possible. My son lent me his Entrepreneur and Masigasig magazines and I came across your “Asked & Answered” portion, hence this email. I appreciate your helping us SMEs out, because apart from giving us tips, even a simple feature is still considered free advertisement and can help raise awareness for our businesses. Thank you & best regards, ENCAR C. SANTOS Golden Shower Resort & Hotel 0917-8127607 or 642-2166 firstname.lastname@example.org Dear Encar, Thank you for kind words! We at Masigasig are always very happy to help out fellow SMEs, entrepreneurs, and budding businessmen and women. True, business can be very tough these days, especially with the global economic crisis. But according to research, the tourism and hospitality industries, though greatly affected by the crisis, are still the ones who have more opportunity and room to expand. Though travel is considered a luxury, it is being considered as more and more of a “necessity”—especially for families and
M of TT O th ER N e TH
people looking to unwind and escape from the hassles of daily life.
I admire your determination in starting a website to increase awareness about your resort, despite your handicap. It is the trend to go mobile in letting people know about your business. Of course, the most tried-and-tested method is through word-of-mouth via friends and acquaintances. However, other venues you should consider are: TEXT BRIGADE. Fellow entreps swear by its efﬁcacy: It’s convenient and with only just click of the “Send” button, lets people know your latest promos and services. I as a consumer appreciate this as well—consumers are so used to having information spoon-fed to them and this is a painless, almost effortless and costeffective way for businesses to do that. SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES. These sites have free hosting and are so user-friendly that you need not be a techie to be able to operate and sustain it. The most popular “business” website is Multiply (www.multiply.com), as tons of startup entrepreneurs use this site to post their products and services and spread the word about their biz. Facebook (www.facebook.com) is another popular social networking site with its many functions and even has a social calendar to boot—you have the option to either send a mass email to all your contacts to inform them about an event, a new service or product, and other reminders; or post it in the calendar so your contacts are alerted a few days before or on the day itself. Good luck and let us know once your site is up and running! Best regards, LESLIE Editor-in-chief
Do you have any questions about your business that you think Masigasig can answer? Write to us and be our next letter sender of the month! Include your full name, name of business, contact number and e-mail address. The chosen letter sender will win premium Globe items! The winner will be notiﬁed via e-mail and will receive a call from Masigasig.
4 • APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG
BUSINESS MAG WITH SENSE
Dear Masigasig, I am most impressed with people who start a business with a small capital but were able to break into the market. These people show great determination and excellent business skills—even though some do not have the “degree” for it. I salute Masigasig and Globe for recognizing these people. I hope more people will get inspired by your articles and be motivated to start their own businesses too. Your article on “best business gimmicks for Christmas” was most enlightening. I do hope to ﬁnd and apply a similar move for my small RTW business. God Bless! ONEK PRIAGULA email@example.com
Dear Onek, We at Masigasig always aim to inspire our readers and encourage budding businessmen and women to bring out the brave entrepreneur in them. We wish you and your business all the best.
IN SEARCH OF ICE CRYSTALS
Dear Masigasig, I bought the November 2008 issue of Entrepreneur with a November 2008 issue of Masigasig. I am Mely Ong, a Merchandiser at Phildansk International. It is a buying ofﬁce with clients from Europe, US and South America. We are particularly interested in the items of Ice Crystals. We would like to offer their items to a new client based in Milan. It would be greatly appreciated if you could provide us contact details of Ice Crystals. Thank you and best regards, MELY ONG firstname.lastname@example.org Module 4 Phildansk Int’l Tel. +632 927 6360 to 61 Fax +632 924 0237
Dear Mely, Thank you for your interest in Ice Crystals. We will be sure to relay your message to them so they can get in touch with you. In our March issue, the proﬁle photo in Batang Negosyante was courtesy of Edgar “Injap” Sia II of Mang Inasal.
AS EASY AS
s with any business, setting up an Internet café—and sustaining it—can be daunting. Which is why this business-in-a-box solution is no doubt a welcome solution to startup entrepreneurs. This all-in-one package eliminates the following problems commonly encountered by those who want to set up their own Internet café, and even those who want to improve their existing business.
“My existing Internet café isn’t picking up. What could I be doing wrong?” Several factors may be pinpointed
Eliminate the hassles of setting up an Internet café with the Globe I-Café Kit. B Y B U B B L E S S A LVA D O R
The Globe I-café kit has everything you need to start your own I-café: the right hardware genuine Microsoft software landline customer hotline for technical inquiries unlimited Internet connection
“It’s such a hassle to canvass prices from different dealers.” This unnecessary step is eliminated by this
no-nonsense package from Globe. Since you get everything you need (hardware, software, broadband) in one go, you don’t have to negotiate with separate dealers for computers, Internet connection, and so on. An Account Manager from Globe is on hand to assist you.
“I want to franchise but I don’t have that much capital. I also don’t want to get victimized by hidden fees and charges.”
With Globe I-café, you can start your own business with as low as 100,000 for the hardware. The monthly recurring cost for broadband can be as low as 1,295. Best of all, there are no hidden charges and no franchise fee.
“There are too many technical requirements.”
Admittedly, there are many technical requirements to consider in order to maximize the profit potential of your business: the ideal PC, software, and the right Internet connection. Solve all that in one go with the Globe I-café kit—it includes personal computers, genuine Microsoft Operating System (so you don’t have to worry about pirated versions), and fast and reliable Internet connection of up to 5 Mbps.
“How can my business compete when there are ﬁve other Internet cafes on the same street? Getting your
business noticed can be challenging. You will need signages and posters to make your business and brand stand out. Luckily, if you happen to be a Globe I-café kit subscriber, you will also receive a dress-up program, consisting of an attractive lighted outdoor signage, colorful posters, and other peripherals that will help market your business. For more inquiries on the Globe I-Café Kit, visit www.sme.globe.com.ph or call (632) 730-1288.
as the cause. Is your Internet connection fast and reliable? Are you using the right hardware and software? Chances are, it’s a combination of different things. Conduct an evaluation of your business system to get a deﬁnitive diagnosis so as to ﬁnd the right solution.
“I’m not really Internet-savvy.” You
can rest easy once you avail of the Globe I-café kit—it’s easy to understand and easy to set up, and since you’re dealing with a reputable company, you can be assured that you are getting the best specs at the best rate. You can even call the Globe hotline at (632) 730-1288 if you have any concerns. ● “An Internet café will never be an Internet café without Internet connection. Connectivity is the lifeblood of this kind of business. Globe’s I-café kit is one product that beneﬁts microbusinessmen. With low initial capitalization requirement, it allows small players to enter the industry and slowly progress from there. Our association even endorses it to our members, especially those who want to expand their operations. This is one example of good partnership between the industry players.” YVONNE F. CABADA President Internet Café Association of Davao, Inc. (ICAD) Treasurer ICT Davao, Inc Committee ChairWebsite Committee Davao City Chamber of Commerce & Industries, Inc.
HOW TO AVAIL OF THE GLOBE I-CAFÉ KIT To avail of the Globe I-café kit, simply submit the following requirements: 1. Proof of identiﬁcation 2. Proof of billing address 3. Proof of income 4. Business permit You can choose from two types of personal computers: the Internet Surﬁng and Gaming Model, which is designed for simple surfing
and gaming; or the Mega Gaming Model, which is designed for heavy gaming because of its Dual Core processor and bigger LCD screen. To figure out what I-café kit you want, simply choose the Icafé model and broadband plan (according to speed) that suits your requirement. Check out the chart below for easy reference.
One-time costs of PCs
NUMBER OF PCS 10
Internet Surﬁng and Gaming
Monthly recurring costs for broadband connection
PLAN Monthly Service Fee (VAT-include)
APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG • 5
SETTING THE STAGE
Thespian AUDIE GEMORA uses his imagination, experience, and connections to get the best out of both art and business.
rtists are generally perceived to have zero business acumen whatsoever. But theater actor, producer, and director AUDIE GEMORA, also known as the “King of Philippine Musical Theater,” breaks that stereotype. “I’m a visionary. I see how things pan out before anybody else does,” he proudly says. But, he admits, “I didn’t know I was businesssavvy until I joined TRUMPETS.” Trumpets, the first professional non-stock, non-profit Christian theater company in the Philippines, was formalized in 1990 by Audie and his theater friends. Audie had led the board for 17 years before stepping down in 2007 to concentrate on STAGES, a production company that started out as an events production company, organizing and staging product launches and companywide parties, among others. Soon, they branched out to include talent booking and management, public relations, theater production, and summer workshops in their roster of services. 6 • APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG
MAKEUP BY CHI CHI SOTOMIL
PICTURE BY PA U L A B I A N C A A B I O G PHOTO S B Y H E I D I PA S C U A L
CONTACT DETAILS Trunkline: (632) 818.1111 loc 225/209 Direct line: (632) 893.6958 Fax: (632) 894.3317 Ms. THESS BOLNEO, Events & Operations Ofﬁcer— Events & Administration Department: (0917) 795.6855 Ms. JUDITH BUENO, Artists Management Ofﬁcer— Talents Group: (0917) 801.1565 Email: email@example.com www.stages.com.ph
Trumpets started gaining momentum when it was around seven years old, successfully producing shows like The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and The Little Mermaid. “A lot of companies, especially malls, were interested in our doing theatrical shows, mostly for kids. We did mount mall versions of Peter Pan, Wizard Of Oz, and Cinderella,” he says. Then Audie got the idea of producing corporate shows. “I told the Trumpets board, ‘It’s a good source of income, why don’t we do it?’ They didn’t want to, because as a non-stock, non-proﬁt ministry, it shouldn’t be about money. I was frustrated, because I saw the possibility that if we make money from corporate shows, that can fund more evangelistic shows,” he says. But Audie was dead set on pursuing the opportunity. “That’s how Stages began. The only board member who gave me the thumbsup was BUTCH JIMENEZ so I asked him to be my partner.” Audie and Butch forked over 400,000 to start the company, and Stages was formed in 1997. Though he had a background in theater, Audie knew he needed help events-wise as he wasn’t knowledgeable in that ﬁeld. “The first person I recruited was STELLA SISON, a Trumpets member who was doing events freelance. I approached her and persuaded her to join us, telling her, ‘Ten years from now, when you’re older and we’re more tired, wouldn’t you like to sit back and have a company work for you?’” Convinced, she signed up on the spot.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Audie did a lot of legwork in the beginning to get more clients. “My celebrity status made it easy to knock on corporate doors kasi kilala na ako. I would call up corporations asking to meet with their marketing heads. Most assumed I was going to ask for sponsorship for a Trumpets show but when I pitched Stages, they were pleasantly surprised that we did events pala,” he says. One of the company’s earliest clients included CocaCola. It was an auspicious start, because after that, Robinsons Malls, Shangri-La Mall, SM Star Club, Bayer, Microsoft, Bulgari, Headstrong, and Unilever were added to their stellar list of clients. In two years, Stages had not only recouped its initial investment, but also became one of the advertising industry’s most established special events companies. To this day, the events arm of Stages remains the most lucrative, which Audie acknowledges as their “proﬁt center.”
Admittedly, Stages has had its ups and downs. In 2006, the company faced tough competition when putting up an events company became the rage. “Fly by night events companies were clinching bids by dropping their prices,” he says. But Audie was undaunted and forged on. “We just needed to be more resourceful, so we did more client calls and strived to make our services even better. Ultimately, companies learned that
CELEBRITY RAKETS they get what they pay for. Expertise comes at you send the model for a go-see,” he says. a premium,” he shares. Cellphones are extremely important in this With the global ﬁnancial crisis, Audie asserts business, too. “We manage our events and book that striving to offer better services will allow talents at all hours from different places. Mobiles Stages to weather the storm. “So far we haven’t are absolutely crucial.” felt the pinch but we’re bracing ourselves for an Technology has also aided Audie and eventuality by controlling operational expenses his team in innovating new ways of doing and expanding our client base,” he says. events. “Before, most launches were very Continuously coming up with creative straightforward. The typical thing would be concepts is also key. Audie remembers a speeches, a Powerpoint presentation, then successful experience with Dunkin Donuts, bring in a singer like MARTIN NIEVERA. one of Stages’ steady clients, who wanted to up Audiences would go home remembering only sales. “We came up with the idea of producing the performer. But because we understood an album, which customers could redeem after purchasing Stages’ High School Musical production starring Sam Concepcion as Troy and Cheska Ortega as Gabriella. a dozen donuts. Since their market includes a lot of kids, we recorded a kiddie song and dance group called ‘Playshop Kids.’ The promo was such a huge success that we did three succeeding albums, one which included RYAN CAYABYAB.”
MOMENTS OF MUSING
Audie stresses the difﬁculties of corporate events. “This business, I always say, is ‘isang kahig, isang tuka’ by nature. You’re only as good as your last performance. You may have done a great launch for a company, but the next one, bidding na naman ,” he says. To continue to ﬁnd ways to satisfy the client, Audie’s team always studies their clients’ marketing objectives to come up with concepts that’ll help meet those goals. “[Doing events] is very client-centered. It’s a stark contrast from showbiz or theater which is artist-centered.” Audie adds that the business is “highly stressful, high-maintenance with no set hours. When you do casting for commercials, for example, some clients call you at 11 p.m. and expect talents by 7 a.m. the next day. Your people have to be service-oriented, patient, and quick.”
the needs of our market, we introduced a new spin where we fused the entertainment with the presentation so you get to remember everything,” he says. “In this business, being a corporate events group means that we are the medium for the message,” he explains. “That’s why we’re always on the lookout for new technology that will make presentations interesting.” Events groups, he says, always have to be up-to-date on the latest technologies to stay on the radar.
DRIVEN BY TECHNOLOGY
“Every child has a God-given gift which needs to be discovered, honed, and maximized.”Audie Gemora
Technology has undeniably helped Stages’ progression, especially in informing people of their services. “We still clinch jobs by going to clients personally, but for inquiries, it’s easy: Check our website. The Internet helps us a lot—like casting for commercials. Before, the poor talent always has to show up. These days, casting is made via the ’net. Padala ka muna ng picture, and if a client likes the talent, then
Audie’s entrepreneurial spirit refused to stop at corporate events. He formed Talents Group (a talent management department) when CARLO OROSA, another Trumpets board member, joined Stages in 2004. They subsequently signed up CHRISTIAN BAUTISTA, SAM CONCEPCION, and helped pave KARYLLE’S comeback. Audie also established Stages’ PR department, currently headed by OLIVER OLIVEROS.
In line with their core service of corporate events, Stages plans to include corporate accounts in their PR services. With Events, Talents Group, and PR in place, Stages started reaping bigger proﬁts, allowing Audie to pursue his first love—theater. In 2004, Stages organized Footloose, High School Musical in 2006 and West Side Story last year. They were all artistic and commercial hits.
THE NEXT CUT
Stages’ latest offering is My Talent—kid-centric workshops that started last year. “I named it ‘My Talent’ because we believe every child has a God-given gift which needs to be discovered, honed, and maximized,” he shares. This year’s workshops will be held at Eastwood from April to May. “We have classes in musical theater, modeling, voice, guitar, concert performance, and street dancing.” He considers My Talent as his springboard to putting up “a good academic school with a strong performing arts program.” He is part of a group of parents who want to put up a nontraditional elementary and high school with an extensive arts program. “Last year, we decided to have a summer workshop to raise awareness and funds. Sa ngayon hindi pa kayang maging full-blown school, so for the summer muna,” he says. At present, they are preparing the school’s curriculum, with a target opening in 2011. This summer, Audie will be teaching classes in musical theater and concert performance. He ﬁnds great fulﬁllment in seeing and molding young, talented kids and takes pride in introducing youngsters to the world of theater. “Every child is unique and we need to consider the child’s innate abilities and build his learning around that,” he says. Audie explains his relentlessness in pursuing his ideas and expanding Stages: “That’s how Stages is set up—always open to new biz. When I stumble on someone with great potential, I give him or her the opportunity to grow in our company.” This, he asserts, was brought about by his ability to see the bigger picture. “I see how everything relates to each other. You have a theater company with a talent pool you can tap, and you help those talents land jobs. You manage some of the talents, and you have an events company as your proﬁt center. It’s all connected.” ● APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG • 7
f che o y s p tween he d t l o g r n ea di GOS stanhe 7 to 12-y r ALLE e d n t PS G
PHOTO BY KAI HWANG
efore, the youth was classiﬁed into kids, teens, and Gen X. But recently, there is an emerging proﬁtable sub-group: tweens. A combination of “between” and “teen,” tweens are 7 to 12 years old; psychographically, they desperately want to be a teen, but are not yet ready to stop being a kid. “Kids are much more sophisticated than they were 20 to 30 years ago,” says Ed Martin, programming editor at industry publication The Myers Report. “It’s a tough market to reach, very ﬁckle,” adds Cartoon Network EVP Tim Hall. “Kids of that age have dual personalities. Tweens have one foot in one world and one in the other. They are intrigued by things happening to older kids, but they are still interested in being kids.”
As an entrepreneur, why should you care about tweens? Well, consider the following statistics: ■ A survey by news organization CBSnews.com revealed that in the United States alone, the combined spending power of children between 8-12 years old amounts to US$ 30 billion annually. Broken down, that’s about US$ 82 million a day (or approximately 4 billion a day given current exchange rates). ■ Pinoy tweens aren’t begging
for cash either. A survey conducted last year by top tween mags K-Zone and Total Girl revealed that its readers receive a weekly allowance of about Kids nowadays feel lost without their cellphones.
8 • APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG
100 to 300. That translates to as much as 15,000 in annual spending power for one child alone. Multiply that by the number of tweens (a 2005 study reported that there are 38.8 million Filipinos aged 18 and below) and just imagine all that purchasing power. ■ “Pester power.” This is the kids’ ability to badger their
parents into buying things they may not otherwise buy. Pester power appeals to parents’ desire to “pacify” their kids’ kakulitan by buying the things they want—within reason. Kids have successfully nagged their parents into buying their choice of food, toys, clothes—and even “the family car and the family home,” says Pace University marketing professor Paul Kurnit.
Eighty percent of all global brands now deploy a tween strategy. Here’s how you can do the same for your business: ■ STOKE THEIR COMPETITIVE STREAK. Holding contests is a great way to lure them in. Says Christine Ko, Associate Publisher of K-Zone Philippines and Total Girl Philippines: “The prize doesn’t have to be grand—it can even be just a cute hair clip. Most join simply for the thrill of seeing their name listed in the magazine as the winner.” K-Zone, for example, has a regular caption contest, where the magazine prints a scene from a movie and asks readers to come up with the wittiest line. Christine shares they get over 2,000 SMS entries daily for this. “Tweens are so masipag and competitive that when they catch contestants cheating, they go as far as writing us to make sumbong,” she adds. ■ KEEP CURRENT. “Music and sports have been key drivers for
our series,” says Disney Channel GM Rich Ross. He adds that aside from friendship, coming-of-age plots are crowd-drawers, too. “If the characters are slightly older, they know they are going to be there soon.” Locally, while accessories store PinkBox’s core products are hair accessories and personalized charms, they are now developing new products as tweens can be quick to change their styles based on what they think are hip and current. Says owner Nelly See, “As [the tween market] evolves, so should we. We catch up to them, not the other way around. Through our monthly head cashiers’ meeting, we study what colors, concepts, and products attract them. We diversify our products with them in mind.” She cites the cellphone holder as an example, as “tweens nowadays will surely have a cellphone with them,” says Nelly. ■ INCLUDE THEIR FOLKS. In the 2003 New American Dream
poll, 57% of children aged 9-14 said they would rather do something fun with their parents than go malling. So if you can combine a fun activity with their parents involving your product or service, you create a win-win situation instead of getting them just using their folks as walking wallets. “Our Total Girl readers love joining our Pajama Party contests, where we treat a barkada of ﬁve (with adult supervision via Mom) to an overnight stay in a hotel,” shares Christine. “We get over 700 entries for this. Their world is their friends and Mommy. At this age, they still need Mom; they’re not yet truly independent like the teens.” Cyma Zarghami, EVP/GM of Nickelodeon, says tweens’ power of
PHOTO BY DAKILA ANGELES
HELP LINE persuasion is extending to other categories. “They have influence, especially at supermarkets. With dualincome households, the definition of quality time has changed considerably,” she says. “In the past, going grocery shopping wasn’t perceived as quality time. Now for many families it is, so kids are inﬂuencing what their parents are buying for dinner that night or for the week.”
KEEP IN TOUCH
Tweens now have stronger purchasing power.
SET UP A BLOG. K-Zone put up a blog in their website (www.kzone.com. ph/blog) “so kids can get an insight of what the editors do,” says Christine. “It’s a good venue to announce new stuff that the editors weren’t able to include in the magazine.”
“Pester power.” This is the kids’ ability to badger their parents into buying things they may not otherwise buy.
To further reel in the tween market, technology is key. A recent survey showed that tweens nowadays claim they cannot live without the Internet and their mobile phones (see Trivia on page 25 for more details). Here are some ways to stay connected with them:
BUILD YOUR OWN WEBSITE. The tween market reportedly spend most of their time surﬁng the ’net. The K-Zone website gets an average of 87,000 page views a month. Christine shares that when they have web contests, the number of page views goes up to 300,000 a month. The Total Girl website, (www.totalgirl.com.ph) meanwhile, currently has over 26,000 members.
MAKE USE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES. The most popular example is Facebook—with tons of applications and activities, it’s no wonder almost everyone’s got an account. Some tweens have commented that Facebook can be addictive due to its numerous applications, so if you want to market your brand or make your presence felt, opening a Facebook account might just be the way to go. ●
ET)? NO WEBSITE (Yma y only ience ome of your target aud make sure so , tall t fee 4 be about collateral g isin your store’s advert plays dis ling sel or nu me for your kids’ clear ng usi ht, sig are within their line of es of ral Mo gel An ge. gua and simple lan T advises, “You can NO marketing.about.com ovative; inn Be . see T NO can want what you For instance, use space within space. and can easily be ve nsi xpe stickers are ine promotions.” ■ switched as you rotate
How to obtain franchises for learning centers and learning programs
B Y B U B B L E S S A LVA D O R
ith learning centers and programs sprouting in almost every corner, the education industry is, no doubt, one of the fastest-growing enterprises today. Learning centers like AHEAD TUTORIAL AND REVIEW CENTER offer academic tutorials for students in all levels as well as test-based review programs for school admission exams, professional training, and foreign language classes. Learning programs, on the other hand, concentrate on speciﬁc areas for enrichment, remediation, or advancement. In the case of the GALILEO ENRICHMENT LEARNING PROGRAM (GELP), these speciﬁc areas are Math and English. What are the requirements? PASSION FOR KIDS AND EDUCATION. Rowena Matti of GELP says this is the most important requirement—“The applicant must enjoy working with and for children of all ages.” The same rule holds true when hiring staff. And while GELP and Ahead partners are not required to possess education degrees, teachers and facilitators must do so.
LOCATION MUST BE BIG AND A C C E S S I B L E . For Ahead, the proposed location should have an area of 100 to 130 square meters, strategically located near schools and establishments with A and B clientele. Provisions for parking and transport accessibility would also be beneﬁcial. For GELP, the required area should not be less than 50 square meters. Particular guidelines on furniture and design elements, as well as the proximity of the location to its market, can be provided upon inquiry.
MUST BE OPEN TO CHANGE AND IMPROVEMENT. Today’s children—and
their learning requirements—are ever-evolving, so one must be dynamic and ﬂexible.
more educational services, says Rossana Llenado of Ahead.
What support can I get from my franchisor? The Ahead franchise package includes all tutorial and review materials. Franchisees will also receive technical support, national marketing and branding support, and personnel training and development. For more information, visit aheadph.com. Meanwhile, Galileo PROFITS ARE NOT franchisees get the following: MEASURED IN PESOS The plug and play framework for ALONE. Ahead franchisees need Association Math and English programs, to shell out 1.5 to 2.5 million of Filipino comprehensive and up-todepending on area, but the real Franchisers date teacher enrichment proﬁt and satisfaction do not Inc. (AFFI) training, continuous come in the form of ﬁnances seeks to program development alone. As Rowena puts it, “We professionalize and enhancements, and are helping to mold the future and standardize the local participation in marketing leaders of the country.” franchising industry. For activities arranged systemmore details, log on to wide for all Galileo centers. BOOMING DEMAND. www.afﬁ.com.ph. For more information, visit “The increasing population galileoenrichment.com. ● in our country necessitates the need for Why should I take on a franchise? HIGH RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI). For Galileo, the ROI can be as much as 30 percent in a span of 2 to 3 years, depending on the school size and if it’s a standalone or not.
APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG • 9
Dip into the bounties of land and sea in the Gateway to Western Mindanao
BY ABBY YAO • PHOTOS BY VINCENT COSCOLLUELA
nyone ﬂying into the DIPOLOG CITY will notice two things I saw during landing: vast coconut plantations to the right, the open sea to the left. Little wonder that the fruits of the earth and the sea abound in this city of 120,000 residents. As a first-time visitor to Mindanao, I was relieved that my notions of Southern Philippines— influenced by the media—were unfounded generalizations. The peacefulness and cleanliness of Zamboanga del Norte’s provincial capital are impressive. Coming in at noon, I was surprised by what the city tourism staff placed around my neck: a garland with a beautiful ﬂower made of large ﬁsh scales Get ready for Linabo Peak’s arranged over a nito (wild vine) 3003 steps coaster as its centerpiece. The creativity of the Dipolognons is equally evident in the fountain at P’gsalabuk Circle, which greeted us as we entered the city proper. The three ﬁgures in the fountain symbolize the unity of the Subano, Muslim, and migrant cultures. P’gsalabuk, Subano for “togetherness”, is also the name of the city’s The bottled biggest festival celebrated throughout May, sardines which culminates on the eve of the feast of industry continues to Dipolog’s patron saint, St. Vincent Ferrer. grow Dipolog takes its name from the Subano term Dipag, which means “across the river”. The city
Most Dipolognons’ livelihood depends on the versatile coconut
A quick glance on the WHERE, HOW, and WHAT of DIPOLOG CITY
is also bounded by the Sulu Sea and several waterways. With transport links to Cagayan de Oro, Ozamis, and Pagadian by land, to Cebu and Dumaguete by sea, and to Manila and Cebu by air, Dipolog is becoming popular for conventions. The population of Dipolog consists predominantly of migrants from the Visayas, as the Subanen indigenous group has largely retreated to the hills. Although I didn’t speak Bisaya, I had little difﬁculty communicating with Dipolognons in Tagalog, except when I spoke to a farmer who I did not understand but understood me.
FRESH ROUTE TO SUCCESS
Nature is Dipolog’s biggest draw. Once known as the Orchid City because of the endangered Pangadlaw, the oncecommon white butterﬂy orchid, Dipolog is now better known as the Bottled Sardines Capital of the Philippines. The product is also the OTOP (One Town, One Product) of both the city and the province, with over two million eight-ounce bottled sardines sold in 2008, valued at 75.8 million in domestic sales and 9.1 million in exports. The classy version of the poor man’s meal, Spanish-style sardines in bottles are ready-to-eat and great as toppings for pizzas and salads. They are made of fresh malangsi (herring) and do not have the metallic tin taste of canned sardines. As a business, making bottled sardines is less capital-intensive than canning and can be done at home. The industry beneﬁts more than 1,200 families in Dipolog, from ﬁshermen to production line workers. Brothers THAD and STEPHEN MONTAÑO of Montaño Foods Corporation showed us around the production area behind their sprawling family home. Their grandmother Doña CONCEPCION MACIAS MONTAÑO cooked and bottled Spanish sardines as a hobby and gave them away to family and friends. Their father Nick decided to sell the bottled sardines in 1970, emphasizing quality and freshness over proﬁt. Today, the Montaños receive 2.5 to 3 tons of herring a day, which are all processed within 10 hours of delivery. Little has changed since Doña Concepcion shared the process with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the 70s. After the heads and entrails are removed, the ﬁsh are washed, soaked in brine, dried, and fried before the tails are cut. These are then bottled with the spices. The bottles are sterilized, washed, and kept in a holding room for a month so that the ﬂavors can emerge, after which they are labeled and packed in boxes. The Montaños employ between 50 and 200 workers depending on the season, and production is at 5,000 to 10,000 bottles a day. The sardines in corn oil variant is their bestseller, as it is lower-priced at 56 versus 82 for bottled sardines in
WHERE TO STAY: Top Plaza Hotel and the two Camila Hotels are very popular with conference delegates, but less expensive pension houses are easy to ﬁnd. HOW TO GET AROUND: City transportation is limited to tricycles ( 7 minimum fare), with handpainted days-off for easy reference. WHAT TO DO: ÏGo for an early morning jog or
10 • APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG
nighttime stroll on the 1.4-kilometer long Dipolog Boulevard facing the sea. ÏClimb the 3,003 steps up to Linabo Peak, a popular destination during Holy Week with the Stations of the Cross dotting the way to the summit. Whether you want it fast or slow, your pace is up to you. ÏCruise or kayak down the river, relax on white sand beaches of Dakak or snorkel off a nearby island.
HOT SPOTS olive oil. Sales peak in December, but stocks run out quickly as some customers place orders months ahead. Call it recession-proof: demand greatly outweighs supply.
During the rainy season, production is less regular as there is no catch of the migratory herring. In these months, Montaño Foods produces bottled tuyo, bagoong, and bangus, which are non-seasonal. Cathy, another sibling, started her own brand of baked goods and opened Cafe Ysabelle adjacent to the family home. This is the place to sample mangosteen cheesecake and other sweet treats. Their clubhouse sandwich is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. The Montaños also make and sell fried peanuts, Spanish chorizo and other meat products, and mangosteen, durian, and langka preserves. The local industry’s collective efforts to expand production capacity will soon be rewarded. As the Most Outstanding Industry Cluster in 2007, the 10-member In-Glass Sardines of Dipolog Association (ISDA) and the city government secured a 23 million grant from the Export Development Council for a 2,000-square meter contact freezer and cold storage facility operational by July 2009. This will enable continuous production even on months when there is no catch. P’gsalabuk Circle Two ISDA members, Mendoza Industries and Alenter Foods Incorporated, are already Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)-accredited by the BFAR, ensuring that world-class food safety standards are being met. Both Montaño Foods Corporation and 2008 Masigasig awardee for Mindanao Zaragoza Food Corporation are preparing for HACCP accreditation, which will serve as their passport to the international market place.
Drying coconuts to make copra
While the bottled sardines industry in Dipolog City is doing exceptionally well, 70 to 80 percent of locals still depend on coconut farming for their livelihood. Copra and its by-products coconut oil, pellets for animal feeds, and coconut husk charcoal are still widely traded for the export market. But the ﬂuctuating prices in the world market and expensive freight costs can turn an abundant yield into mounds of dried coconuts left to rot or burned to discourage snakes from nesting.
ÏRappel and shoot the rapids at Sungkilaw Falls or visit the replica of a Subanen village at Cogon Park. ÏTake some time to tour historic Dapitan City, only 20 minutes away, where national hero JOSE RIZAL spent the last four years of his life. ÏHunt for souvenirs at the the Pasalubong Center with its wide the range of local products. Dipolog boasts of
products such as bamboo crafts, nito handicrafts, and furniture made from gemelina and mahogany. ■
RAW MATERIALS: Herring, coconut and its by-products, copra
Farmers are diversifying to make the most of their land. Atty. AUGUSTO SAGUIN, for example, plants seedless lanzones and other fruit-bearing trees alongside the coconuts and opened a piggery to make his farm more productive. The prospects of the industry remain positive because of the consistent volume of coconuts. But it often takes outsiders to see the potential because the capital required and the need to learn new technology often discourages farmers. DTI Provincial Director Stephen and Thad NOEL BAZAN cites the use of coconut husk Montaño continue their by-products such as coco coir used for jute grandmother’s legacy sacks and for nets that prevent soil erosion, and coco dust needed by China as fertilizer to make their arid lands arable. RALPH HAMOY of the Philippine Coconut Authority is upbeat about the demand for coconut sugar, coco biodiesel, desiccated coconut, and virgin coconut oil. Maybe with some encouragement CONTACT DETAILS and support, young Dipolognon Dipolog City Tourism entrepreneurs will take advantage of Ofﬁce the high supply to diversify existing CECILE BILOG businesses or start new ones. City Tourism Ofﬁcer The low labor cost is a come-on firstname.lastname@example.org 09177241641 to investors from outside Dipolog. The biggest employer in the area, DTI Zamboanga del Norte Cebu-based Jopah Hairvent Provincial Ofﬁce Systems, exports wigs to Europe Ground Floor, Executive Building and provides employment Tourism Complex, to around 500 workers in Gen. Luna Street Dipolog, including outEstake, Dipolog City of-school youth. The email@example.com construction of more 09177229761 shopping centers, including In-glass Sardines of the future Gaisano mall, are Dipolog Association also expected to generate (ISDA) more jobs in the city. firstname.lastname@example.org http://dipologsardines.com City folk and foreigners will ﬁnd laid-back Dipolog ideal for retirement. It is safe but not Philippine Coconut sleepy, buzzing but not stressful. Prices Authority - Zamboanga are reasonable, nightspots are open until late, del Norte RALPH HAMOY and there are establishments that offer wi-ﬁ. Division Chief I All signs considered, business and pleasure Padre Garcia corner will remain fruitful in Dipolog City for years Malvar Sts., Dipolog City to come. ●
DID YOU KNOW? The population of Dipolog City is 99 percent Christian, of which 92 percent are Catholic. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Cathedral is the seat of the diocese of Dipolog. Its altar was designed by JOSE RIZAL during his exile in Dapitan. The center altar has been replaced following the original design, but the side altars are still made of the original wood. ■ APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG • 11
CONTACT DETAILS Kumon Philippines, Inc. 757.0335 www.kumon.com.ph
Gymboree Play & Music Philippines 910.7529 email@example.com www.gymboree-ph.com
B Y K AT R I N A TA N • P H OTO S B Y J U N P I N Z O N & H E I D I PA S C U A L
he education industry has always seemed to be a lucrative, yet lofty, endeavor. But these days, more specialized schools have successfully carved their own niche within the local market by introducing creative ways to educate and develop today’s youth—a far cry from the cut-and-dried textbook approach of the old days. Seeing the beauty of Gymboree, Ann decided to seize the opportunity— “Filipinos are very open to American concepts and education systems.”
Kindermusik Philippines 0917.536.8745 firstname.lastname@example.org www.kindermusik.com.ph
Obtaining an international franchise made the start-up phase easier for Ann and partner JACKIE AQUINO GAVINO, allowing them to set up Gymboree in under a year. They ﬁrst sent an inquiry email to the US Headquarters in July 2001, and promptly paid a visit to the Toronto site the following November. After examining their career background, they were awarded the contract for the Philippines’ franchise development in December, after which Ann and Jackie went through an intensive weeklong training program for 12 hours daily. “A franchise was perfect for me as I had no education experience and the curriculum, marketing, and support comes from US experts,” explains Ann. “It wasn’t difﬁcult because their system is very well organized. All the tools were there—thanks to technology, Internet, intranet, and email—and I never needed to stay up late to coordinate with the US time zone because they were very responsive.”
GYMBOREE PLAY & MUSIC PHILIPPINES: HANDS-ON LEAR NING
arents are [now] more involved with raising their children,” observes ANN TAN, Managing Director. In fact, it was her desire to spend more time with her ﬁrst child that led her to end a nine-year telecommunications career based overseas and become an entrepreneur in 2001. “I asked my sister in Chicago what mothers do with kids below a year old, and she mentioned GYMBOREE,” recalls Ann. At that time, the school—known for its age-appropriate, developmental activities that involve both parents and children—already had branches all over Asia except China, Japan, and the Philippines. “It offers unique Parent-Child classes—where the parent is required to be with the child. We also have dynamic play equipment that’s especially focused on young children from two months to ﬁve years, which is reconﬁgured every two weeks to match the particular lesson theme.” 12 • APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG
Specialized schools have been gaining ground, equipping kids with skills for life.
(Top) ANN TAN and JACKIE AQUINO-GAVINO prove that learning is present in play at Gymboree.
Gymboree’s Ann makes learning fun for kids.
They then spent a few months ﬁnding a good location (“Gymboree requires a large area—about 250 square meters—that’s accessible and safe for young children. So, expect to spend anywhere from 7 to 10 million to start one branch”), and purchased the standard Gymboree play
HOT NEGOSYO equipment speciﬁcally designed for children below ﬁve years of age. The ﬁrst branch opened its doors in Power Plant Mall in August 2002. (This later closed and was relocated to Manila Polo Club in October 2005.) One challenge they faced was the quick teacher turnover. “The turnover is short—approximately two to three years—as many go overseas to teach. Fortunately, Filipinos have an innate teaching ability and passion for children, so we have a large pool of teachers to draw from. But because of Gymboree’s well-structured curriculum and efficient operating system, we’re able to produce good teachers in a short time frame.”
JEANNIE CASTILLO unlocks each child’s musicalit y, no matter how young, in Kindermusik.
TEACHING & TECHNOLOGY
“The Internet has greatly helped in spreading news,” says Ann. Aside from the company website, “moms blog about their Gymboree experience and you can see several online videos documenting a child’s experience.” Technology further facilitates a franchise’s overall operations. Ann receives employee applications and resumes via e-mail, and communicates with the US headquarters on the Internet. “I rarely use the phone to contact them. We do everything using our computers. We’re updated weekly as to what’s happening there—lesson plans, marketing ideas, graphics, etc.”
MAKEUP BY YEN UY • SHOOT DIRECTOR FOR KINDERMUSIK: CINDY DY
“Education businesses require a large investment and longer payback period of about ﬁve years, as compared to other businesses,” admits Ann. “But education is never a fad, and the growth is steady. It only gets better—and earlier!” Gymboree has now increased its initial 15 to 20 classes per week to about 40 to 50 classes. “Our fees are about 10 to 30 percent higher than alternatives,” says Ann. There’s an initial payment for the GymClub membership—Annual for P1,800 or Lifetime for 3,600—as well as a class fee for one to three months— 3,200 to 7,900 for weekly sessions, or 5,800 to 14,400 for twice a week. A Gymboree branch attracts anywhere from 100 to 250 enrollees at a time. It can make eight to nine million at a 20 to 30 percent proﬁt, with a three-to four-year payback period. Proﬁts will grow even higher after a few years as there’s hardly any further investment required. Gymboree Philippines began offering local franchise opportunities in 2003. “Six of our current eight locations are franchises. The companyowned branches are in Shangri-la Mall and Manila Polo Club, while franchises in Westgate Alabang, Banilad Town Center in Cebu, Serendra in Taguig, Glorietta 4, TriNoma, and Eastwood Mall,” says Ann. “We plan to keep growing through franchising, especially in the provinces, as there’s a need for highstandard early education outside of Metro Manila.” ●
LEAR NING TH ROUG H MUSIC
EANNIE CASTILLO of Kindermusik Philippines is another parent who entered the education industry because of her child. While searching for a music-focused program that she and her son could perform together, Jeannie happened upon KINDERMUSIK in 2003. “It’s very focused on relationships and community-building within a musical environment,” she enthuses. “Parents and children discover not just music, but the fun of learning and the joy of each other’s presence in class and at home.” The former stay-at-home mom adds, “I loved the idea of a business that involved my family.” So Jeannie invested a total of 100,000 to be a U.S.-licensed educator— 35,000 of which went towards the 15-week Fundamentals of Kindermusik online course, a three-month training program for early childhood development, teaching
techniques, music and movement concepts, and business basics. The rest was spent on equipment, instruments, location set-up, etc.,” enumerates Jeannie, who started out renting rooms in neighborhood preschools and sharing about Kindermusik with everyone she knew. Within months, she had 40 families enrolled in the program and was able to set up her own studio later that year. She attributes her success to the power of technology. “Technology is vital to the success of Kindermusik. ‘Word-of-mouth’ takes on a whole new meaning when you consider the power of mobile messaging, group e-mails, social networking, etc. I’ve often had classes fill up within minutes of sending text announcements that registration was open!”
APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG • 13
HOT NEGOSYO GROWING UP
In 2006, “Kindermusik International noticed the steady rate at which my program was growing and found it to be a promising indication of the market potential,” tells Jeannie. “I went through a series of interviews in the U.S., and when it became clear that we shared the same work styles and performance standards, I was awarded the country developer position and spearhead local operations.” Being the country developer and an advocate for early childhood, music education, and parent–child bonding isn’t that easy, however. Jeannie admits that apart from being well-organized and having managerial skills, being a musical role model requires tons of dedication and energy. “You have to stay healthy and peppy to teach multiple classes—sometimes one after another. It really calls for a strong passion to be able to maintain this level of commitment everyday.”
“There are more offerings today, which is an indication that there’s a need for quality education and alternative ways of learning,” says Jeannie. In fact, Kindermusik has grown exponentially in its six years—starting with 40 families in her ﬁrst class,
nd s- on in th eir Pa re nt s are ha mus ik cla ss er nd Ki n’s ch ild re
Jeannie has now taught over 1,000 and counting. Classes are divided into age groups, with a maximum of 12 children and parents each. “Before, our most popular age group was the toddler level from 18 to 36 months old—normally the age where parents begin preparing their kids for preschool. Now, we’re experiencing a demand for classes in the baby level from 0 to 18 months old, as parents are beginning to see the value in early infant stimulation and its effect on brain development,” she explains. Kindermusik holds two semesters, as well as a season for summer classes. A 15-week semester is priced anywhere from 8,925 to 13,425, while more specialized classes can range from 1,980 to 5,970 per unit. Classes include Art, Family, Music, School Skills, Sports, its best-selling Play and Learn, as well as a full Pre-School Program and Summer Camps. “Projected gross earnings can range from 2,000 to 7,000 per 45-minute class. Compared to that of preschool or tutorial classes, this is above industry standards,” says Jeannie. “Our number of educators is now over 50 nationwide. Our best educators are oftentimes parents who actually attended our class!” ●
International study-assistance franchise KUMON changes the way we see supplementary classes.
he founder of the well-known Kumon Centers, the late TORU KUMON, was a Japanese high school math teacher who wanted to improve his son’s math. The effective method he created in the 1950s, which emphasizes individualized learning and repetition, quickly drew the interest of parents worldwide. “It was in 1996 when KUMON PHILIPPINES was established to franchise to qualiﬁed applicants,” says LAWRENCE LAURETA, Communication Support Group Leader. Lawrence notes that people at ﬁrst weren’t accustomed to Kumon’s individualized learning, or thought it was a tutorial program for the academically-challenged. (Kumon focuses on Math and Reading programs that are tailor-ﬁt to suit the student’s ability.) “It’s more a supplementary education intended to empower a student to be better,” he clariﬁes. “Our students are living proof of the effectiveness—as families witness their success ﬁrsthand, our credibility quickly spreads via word-of-mouth,” says Lawrence. “In our 10 years in the Philippines, we’ve started seeing our impact on society.” Before a Kumon franchise is granted, instructors are required to undergo orientation, tests, interviews, and training. They must also secure a suitable location in a commercial area that’s both accessible and secure, submit a franchise agreement, and pay a franchise fee of 16,800 per subject (Math and Reading). Another 500,000 to 1 million is then spent towards commercial space, facilities and furniture, and manpower. “Because the business provides services more than products,” explains Lawrence, “we should invest highly in training our people—especially this being the education industry.” “We currently have over 180 Kumon Centers nationwide. The return-on-investment varies, but generally can be achieved after about six months,” says Lawrence. “At the end of the day, the proﬁt isn’t gauged by monetary value, but by how we have reached and changed the lives of the children.” ■ 14 • APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG
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MAKEUP BY CARLAN TENG
ANDY TE, one of Philippines’ top computer distributors, proves that being a hands-on entrepreneur brings amazing results
BY CECILE JUSI BALTASAR PHOTOS BY VINCENT COSCOLLUELA
hen ANDY ANG TE graduated with a degree in ECE (Electronics and Communications) in 1991, he was determined to be a successful entrepreneur just as his mother wanted him to be. And there was really no question what entrepreneurial path Andy would take. After all, he was a techie and his mother had plenty of contacts in the computer industry. So in 1993, along with two partners, who were his friends from college, then 21-year-old Andy started ASIAN TECHNOLOGIES COMPUTER CORPORATION or ASIANTECH, which would eventually become the 2008 Most Outstanding Computer Distributor of the Year at the National Product Quality and Service Quality Excellence Awards. Andy and his partners used their initial capital—about 1M from loans from their parents and the bank—to buy and sell computer and electronic products. “We met nothing but strong support from our family, relatives, and friends when we were starting out,” says Andy. “They all believed in my philosophy that technology is the future.”
Applying that philosophy required hard work. “Like the typical Chinese way of management, we did everything ourselves,” says Andy. They didn’t hire support staff to cut business costs. His partners handled the financial side of the business while Andy took care of contacting potential clients, marketing, sales, doing the computer repairs himself, and delivery of repaired products. AsianTech actually started out not as a computer hardware distributor, but as a computer service/repair shop. APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG • 15
COVER FEATURE By manufacturing Red Fox himself through AsianTech, Andy can make sure that he can develop affordable products that cater specifically to Filipinos’ growing need to be technologically at par with the rest of the world. To add to the growth, this year, AsianTech is going global and setting up ofﬁces in Singapore, Taiwan, and China (where manufacturing of Red Fox products is done). “In ﬁve years,” says Andy, “we plan to penetrate the whole of the Southeast Asian market. We have to compete with the multinational companies, like Lenovo and HP. Otherwise, we’ll lose our footing and disappear from the market.” Closer to home, in the past decade, AsianTech has sealed PC-bundling partnerships with Globe and other telecoms. But Andy, a self-confessed perfectionist, doesn’t yet consider his 16year-old business in the throes of success. “We’re not there yet,” he says. “We have yet to fully grow.” Judging from AsianTech’s mission statement, however— to provide genuine, quality products with the best support and after-sales services; to respond to customers’ needs—it seems they have arrived.
For this, Andy was able to make use of his degree, which trained him strictly for computer repair. Having the innate business sense popularly attributed to the Chinese, Andy maximized his degree to give him a servicebased edge in his own business. This business strategy helped pave the way for AsianTech’s eventual success. To start his business, Andy tapped the programming skills he picked up when he worked as a programmer for about six months for Fujitsu Philippines after graduation. His management and people skills, picked up from when he worked for about a year for Western Marketing as a Technical Service Manager (after Fujitsu), also came in handy when marketing his business. Their first clients—contacts of Andy’s mother’s—were not computer end-users but dealers and resellers of computer products. They gave Andy his initial contacts which led him to products he could resell himself. Because of this set-up, the AsianTech partners didn’t see the need to open an outlet store. They worked from a small home office in Sta. Cruz, Manila that was leased to them at a minimal cost by one of his partners’ parents. To this day, AsianTech works out of its head office in E. Rodriguez, Quezon City, and doesn’t have an outlet store.
Andy’s computer-supplier network gradually widened as his first clients sent contacts his way. Just two years after AsianTech opened, it had started importing and reselling computer products. First came Prolink’s Pixelview products, next were AMD software, Biostar products, Kingmax and Adata memory modules, and Gigabyte and the rest of Prolink products. By the end of the ’90s, AsianTech had evolved into two departments: research, development, and manufacturing; and distribution. And in 2000, its own brand, Red Fox, was launched. With its own complete line of notebooks and PC systems (plus LCD TVs presently being developed), Red Fox is currently the only multi-awarded AMDbased PC brand in the Philippines.
“In ﬁve years, we plan to penetrate the whole of the Southeast Asian market. We have to compete with the multinational companies.”
16 • APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG
(Top photo) The newest and the lightest (L-R): Red Fox Wizbooks in yellow and red; Red Fox Tablet Notebook in white. (Bottom, left to right) Red Fox programmers use their own hardware on-the-job. The Red Fox Deskpod and AMD Athlon Processors go well together.
This is actually what Andy considers his real success story—establishing and sustaining Red Fox amidst a finicky end-user market with a continuous thirst for the “latest gadgets.” This so-called thirst has had multinational companies dropping their prices and technology becoming obsolete in less than a year.
HAND-IN-HAND WITH GLOBE
Helping this growth reach more Filipinos nationwide, Asian Tech hooked up with Globe Business last year. They provided all the hardware for the I-Café kit. This is a partnership borne of the same vision. Says Andy, “We wanted to have a partnership with a company that makes sure people have access to technology through the Internet.” And since Globe’s I-Cafe Kit obviously provides this access, AsianTech had found its partner. continued on p18
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COVER FEATURE SUPPORT SYSTEM
For more than 10 years, Andy managed to keep AsianTech rolling without a corporate hierarchy. “Until then, I handled everything myself,” says Andy, although he did hire administrative staff when AsianTech started importing products. “But about four years ago, I thought that for the company to grow, we needed a corporate structure. So I started to hire managers and supervisors.” Although at ﬁrst, this didn’t sit well with Andy’s staff— who were used to reporting just to him, since the rest of his partners remain silent
“I don’t look at the competition. I look at the market and how we can meet the needs of these people.”
Hardcore gamers go ga-ga on the Red Fox Vengeance series and 17-inch LCD monitor.
investors—Andy got them to focus on the main goal, which was the company’s growth. “I told them they needed someone, other than myself, to guide them. I couldn’t always be around. When I got managers who were knowledgeable about the industry, my staff relaxed and went along Cubicles at the with my plan. But still, I’m AsianTech ofﬁces reﬂect the youthful involved in all aspects of spirit of this my business.” maverick company. To house AsianTech’s current 300-strong CONTACT DETAILS: Red Fox staff (including regular, hardware form ASIANTECH head ofﬁce: contractual, and projectthe backbone 1465 Golden Building based employees), Andy of Globe’s I-Cafés Kit. E. Rodriguez Sr. Ave., Quezon City moved his office and 0917.5290613 warehouse several Websites: www.asiantech.com, times, finally landing at www.redfoxtechnologies.com its E. Rodriguez location in March 2009. The staff currently deals with close to 1,000 resellers nationwide. These resellers are computer companies who are proactive in promoting technology. Says Andy, “We didn’t want resellers who were just buy-and-sell companies. We wanted companies who shared our vision of technology.” To support AsianTech’s growing clientele, Andy is planning to set up 32 service centers, too,” says Andy. “But, since we didn’t AsianTech service centers, enough to own them, we couldn’t completely control how they did be manageable despite some being a business. Customers have a tendency to buy products long way away from the head ofﬁce. “We from another company then have our resellers repair used to appoint our resellers to be our these products. The resellers didn’t like that, which led 18 • APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG
to delayed service to our clients.” It was a lesson in marketing. Since it is AsianTech’s mission to give good after-sales support to all customers, Andy felt he had to take care of each one who walks through the door needing technological assistance. He couldn’t make sure this happened in all his resellers’ shops. “With our own service centers,” he says, “we won’t be biased against those who buy other products. We’ll be able to serve everyone.” With his service centers, “we can make sure that our customers can really use the products they buy from us,” says Andy. Presently, he is personally seeing to the training of technical support teams, as well as account executives, who will man AsianTech’s service centers. These will be operational by the second quarter of this year.
Being a leader in the computer distribution industry, Andy uses technology as his main tool for the aggressive marketing strategies of AsianTech. They’ve come up with TV commercials placed in viewerheavy spots like Pacquiao fights and Pinoy Big Brother episodes. The Internet also provides Andy with lots of marketing opportunities. “By this year’s second quarter, we’re coming up with an online program where our clients can check the status of their order, etc., online. Resellers will also be able to reach us directly through the Internet.” Andy believes bridging the gap between company and client makes for a very effective marketing tool. Thus, clients and resellers can reach AsianTech through email, fax, SMS, and through their website. Apart from this, AsianTech uses road shows and product displays in campuses and mall exhibits to market its products. continued on p26
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MAKEUP BY CARLAN TENG
GLOBAL ANG DATING
In the business for more than 30 years, this boardgame maker manages to make money by keeping his organization lean and continuously moving forward. BY MARI-AN C. SANTOS PHOTOS BY MARK CHES ANG
ust like his target market, CHITO MADROÑO of 13 P . M . E N T E R P R I S E S —which manufactures and distributes board games like Brain Twister, Word Factory, and Kinder Kit—remains optimistic about the toy business. Despite the erratic demand for toys, the general manager is positive that he will able to sell his stock. “We call outlets and offer them what we have on stock, so that the products will move.”
FROM A SINGLE PIECE
His ﬁrst product was Brain Twister, borne of a mini-thesis for his Masters in Management at the Asian Institute of Management. It was 1978, and he had decided to make and market his own version of a toy he saw in Singapore where he was sent for training by the UP-ISSI (University of the Philippines’ Institute for Small-Scale Industries). He thought to innovate on the tangram, composed of palm-sized puzzle pieces that you could form into different shapes, by improving the design and packaging. His initial investment was 3,000. “I only spent for the mold of the product. I approached suppliers that I had met when I worked with the UP-ISSI.” He had worked as a senior research assistant, at the same time doing consultancy work for different businesses. “Kilala na nila ako, at kilala ko na sila. They trust us and we trust them, so we were able to agree on the terms of payment.” He subcontracted the requirements from the product itself to the packaging. APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG • 19
GLOBAL ANG DATING He also applied for a patent with then-Philippine Patent Office (now the Intellectual Property Ofﬁce of the Philippines). “It’s good that because of my work in UP, I knew the ins and outs of the system and the procedure on getting a patent.” From there, the legwork started. “[Doing research for thesis,] I went to department stores, bookstores, wholesalers in Divisoria to research on how they sold products like what I intended to market. I asked them, if I come up with one, are they willing to buy? Their answer was: ‘Yes, kung tama ang presyo.’” (He eventually sold them at 2.50 apiece.) He fulﬁlled all school requirements, including a business plan and a marketing plan. Even before he earned his diploma, “Bumebenta na! So I decided to make it into a fullﬂedged business.” Initially, he employed direct selling for his one and only product. “I started selling to friends, relatives, classmates, former associates in UP. They were my ﬁrst buyers and sellers.” It was such a hit that retail outlets soon paid attention and purchasers started calling him, saying they were interested to buy. His ﬁrst buyers were National Bookstore, Alemar’s, SM, and stores near the University Belt area and in Divisoria. The return on investment was immediate. “The subcontractors agreed on terms of payment and I was paid in cash. Terms ako sa input, cash ako sa output, so madali akong makabayad. So that time, hindi ako nahirapan.”
SPAWNING GREAT IDEAS
He proceeded to develop new products by innovation, creating a game involving letterblocks and the element of time pressure by expanding on the idea of Boggle, using easily mass-produced materials. He embarked on another series of studies, including market research, price study, and demand study, which entailed interviews with outlets and potential buyers. Proﬁt from the feverish sales of Brain Twister funded the creation of Word Factory—the name of which was the result of brainstorming sessions in UP. “My products were financed through equity and proﬁt from our initial venture. I only borrowed money from a finance company after 15 years in the business.” That was 1 million to innovate on the design of the board game Scrabble, which he named Crossword. “Mahal ’yung molde. Malaki ’yung kailangang investment, so I had to borrow.” In 1983, his wife Aida came home from studying Advanced Production Management in the Netherlands, bringing with her a boardgame designed for primary children’s education. This was the impetus for Kinder Kit, a learning tool 20 • APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG
that is composed of a case of numbered chips and bag to go with it, and making the pieces of three booklets, one each on reading, language, solid plastic compliant with international and math. It is designed for kids 3 to 8 years old— height, size, and weight standards. Thus, with exercises in graduated levels of difﬁculty. the Chess Federation of the Philippines is a Each page of a booklet has a corresponding major buyer. sheet from which a child will match the number on the book with his or her chosen answer using L E A N , M E A N B U S I N E S S the numbered chips. To check the answer, the MACHINE child ﬂips the kit over to reveal a pattern series in 13 P.M. subcontracts practically all the steps three colors. If the patterns formed correspond in the production processes, including plastic-injection, cutting, silkscreening, to the patterns and colors indicated on the page, then the child delights One of Chito’s “babies” is Word Factory, but his ﬁrstborn remains in getting the correct answers. If she Brain Twister (below). committed errors, she can try again. “This is perfect for the current setup of households where the mothers work, too. Children can learn on their own.” Kinder Kit has also been used for therapy and to teach English as a Second Language (ESL). Chito also innovated on the design of the classic game chess, designing a mat and
and printing of the packaging materials. Their modest office in Quezon City is the site of R&D and quality control. Chito proudly shows off his License to Operate issued by the Department of Health (DOH) as per Administrative Order 2007-0032: Regulations on the Issuance of a License to Operate to Companies that Manufacture, Import or Distribute Toys for the Philippine Market. That means that the toys they produce are safe for children. Chito’s staff of seven attend to orders and supervision of subcontracts’ adherence to quality standards, as well as deliveries. He is general manager, while his wife is involved in product development, management, and accounts. “‘Di ko kailangan ’yung tiered, or ’yung madaming levels. We have a very lean organization, so there is some ﬂexibility. In times of crisis like this, we are in a better position to survive.” Despite the unsteady volume of orders, his staff still comes in to work every day, doing quality control and assembling orders—because orders still come, anyway. “We want to retain people.
“We would like to expand the market, to kits that will be appropriate for students from prep to elementary, then elementary to high school. Our thrust is really educational development.”
GLOBAL ANG DATING Kahit paano, we break even. If there is any loss, these are covered by savings.” Through it all, Chito reiterates the need to meet quality standards, like those set forth by DOH, which are modeled after international standards. “We have to be at par with foreign goods, otherwise, talagang mawawala tayo sa foreign market.” In fact, 13 P.M. games are the only local brands to share shelf space with international games at the upscale toy and hobby store, Hobbes and Landes. Chito has authorized distributors that service different outlets, who consolidate product orders like National Bookstore and stores in Divisoria. For SM and Toy Kingdom outlets, they deliver to retail chains’ warehouse, which takes care of sending orders to their stores nationwide. This is another source of savings. “The distribution network is already in place, we don’t need to replicate it. What we are doing is utilizing existing networks to market our products to various outlets. In that way, we can better concentrate on product development and innovation.” The peak of sales in their outlets are summer, for leisure when people bring games to the beach or picnics, and ‘ber months, as gift items for the holidays. “That’s when there is a heightened demand. Otherwise, the rest are lean months. It’s cyclical.” But times are abnormal. He cites the decline in consumers’ buying power as reason for declined sales. Another cause is the inﬂux of cheap, imported competition from China, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil, and India. He remains hopeful, though, that the upcoming elections in 2010 will affect positive changes in sales.
an article about 13 P.M. in a magazine. That buyer then checked the 13 P.M. website and got in touch with Chito to become the company’s distributor to Southeast Asian countries, with an initial P.O. of 300,000. Since then, he would order the same amount on the average, two times a year, for the markets in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Taiwan. He would come in November and June, since it takes three months to prepare items for
calls and SMS. “With all the things I’m doing, I’m always busy, always on the go,” says Chito, who also fulﬁlls duties as active Rotarian and as Chairman of the Partnership Forum for International Trade Development, Inc. under the United Nations Center for Trade and Development. “Anywhere I am, I keep my cellphone ‘on’. That way, people can always text me their orders and I can always respond immediately to their concerns or inquiries. SMS is so convenient!”
THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT
Chito hopes that sales will rise with the summer heat. He’s optimistic about the sales of their chess sets now that the Department of Education (DepEd) has included it in the curriculum of elementary and high schools. “I think Employees manually pack and assemble they saw that chess develops critical chess sets—which are fast becoming thinking and discipline. That will help popular due to the Department of us and the industry as a whole.” Education’s nod of approval on the sport. They will also expand and continue to innovate on their existing products, particularly the Kinder Kit. “We will diversify into multi-discipline, to include social studies, environmental education, geography, and more, using the Kinder Kit. We would also like to expand the market, to kits that will be appropriate for students from prep to elementary, then elementary to high school. Our thrust is really educational development.” Furthermore, they want to develop a version that can cater to public schools, by lessening the cost of production, and adapt it to the curriculum of DepEd. “There must be no errors because export—considering shipping, warehousing, it will be the primary tool for learning. All that before delivery to store shelves. will keep us busy for the next ﬁve years.” ●
Chito’s staff of seven attend to orders and supervision of subcontracts’ adherence to quality standards, as well as deliveries.
Throughout the years, middlemen have been buying their products in bulk to bring to the US or Europe. The orders though would be in units of a thousand pieces on average, and not consistent. In 2004, a Malaysian national read
BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS
They entertain queries from distributors, wholesalers, and big retailers through their website. Through e-mail, they receive POs from clients and can serve them immediately. “Malaking bagay itong technology, lalo na sa ordering and payment facilitation. Dumaan din kami sa stage na telegrama ang gamit in doing business, at minsan CONTACT DETAILS nagkakamali . It has 13 P.M. Enterprises shortened the process.” 50-R Aguilar St., San Francisco This loyal Globe del Monte, Quezon City subscriber communicates 0917.8561254 and coordinates with email@example.com suppliers, buyers, and his www.13pment.net staff through cellphone
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APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG • 21
Royal treatment ANGELETTE CALERO makes every girl’s wish to be princess for a day come true.
ntering CLUB PRINCESS, a makeover studio-store for the kikay girl, is like a sequence from a little girl’s dream: pink walls, cute trinkets, and a mini salon. Despite its posh address at Bonifacio High Street, however, prices of products and services are affordable. “It’s targeted to tween girls but have reached out to girls—from four-year-olds to teenagers aged 18,” shares ANGELETTE CALERO, one of Club Princess’ three owners. “Our broad product line consists of kikay items—from accessories to makeover services. We design and produce some of our products such as Tshirts, notebooks, bags, memory boards, boxes, toiletries, and slippers, to name a few.” Aside from having a salon and selling kikay stuff, Club Princess “also hosts private parties of 20 people maximum,” Angelette shares. The 35-year-old boasts of their “monopoly” with Club Princess’ target market, tween girls aged 4 to 12. She recalls, “Our last competitor was in Shangri-La Mall. They sold mostly garments, and their stuff weren’t kumpleto, kulang-kulang ’yung stock and sizes. They closed around 2005 before we opened.” ELLY ONG-DEE, Angelette’s business partner, is equally proud of their unique idea. “Our strength is our concept, as we’re the only place where our customers can have makeovers (hair, nails, and makeup), glitter tattoos, and even celebrate their birthdays with us. They can choose and whip up their own scents [colognes] rather than just buy it off the shelves. Our store has become a destination for girls where they can enjoy these activities,” she shares.
Angelette describes Club Princess’ idea as accidental, even serendipitous. Opportunity 22 • APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG
B Y A I M E E M O R A L E S • P H OTO S B Y J U N P I N ZO N
knocked while Angelette was running one of her businesses—CEREO, a home furnishing and candle shop—in Glorietta 4 and Alabang Town Center. “When Bonifacio High Street was still under construction, Ayala [Land] needed tenants and invited me,” recalls Angelette. Angelette, along with Elly and third partner MYE CRUZ, had always fantasized about putting up a kikay business since they first met in 1992, but the idea never really materialized until they were offered a unit on February 2004. From May 2004 until March 2007, Angelette, Elly and Mye scrounged up 2 million to take the biggest risk of their lives: Club Princess. For Angelette, it was a good thing that their assignments were clear at the very start: Angelette would be in charge of merchandise, Elly in ﬁnance and business
development, and Mye, the operations. It’s deﬁnitely made their lives easier, she says.
Construction lasted ﬁve months. Finally, Club Princess opened its 42-square-meter shop on April 19, 2007. The space is big enough to accommodate 20 people including a staff of four—three sales assistants and one store supervisor or manager. During its ﬁrst week, Club Princess offered free makeovers—inclusive of hair and makeup—which were a hit. “We even had customers who brought their whole barkada!” Angelette recalls. Despite the confidence of the trio, there were still first-day jitters. “We were successful on the first day. We were nervous. We expected a maximum of, maybe, two customers,” laughs Angelette. “But the store ended up having about 20 to 30 buying customers. I can say it was ‘ordered chaos’ because we didn’t have a store manager yet. We manned the stores ourselves. Kami talaga lahat, from kuhaan sa stockroom hanggang cashiering.”
Ups & Downs
“The only hitch with being in an open-air mall is that customers are rare during the rainy season,” Angelette sighs. Marvic Lestino, store manager, adds: “Kapag rainy season, nagbubukas pa din kami. Swerte ’pag may [private party] booking kasi sure na ’yung kikitain namin. ’Pag weekdays and umuulan, swerte na ’yung two to three customers. Bumabawi naman kami sa weekend.” As mentioned, Club Princess offered free makeovers to attract customers. Angelette says, “’Pag nauubusan ng stock, naiinis sila. So we’d offer them makeovers, tapos okay na.”
ANGELETTE CALERO says club princess brings out the kid in her.
MAKEUP BY YEN UY
By June 2007, Club Princess became a common stop among Fort Bonifacio High Street goers, mostly the AB market. “Loyal customers make it a point to pass by kahit tingin-tingin lang ,” says Angelette. She makes it a point to personally speak with clients and their companions, often yayas and mothers, and ask questions why they go there. Based on chika with the customers, Angelette discovered that Club Princess was also a popular “pasalubong stop” for working mothers who wanted to bring something home for their daughters. “There are moms who reward their daughters with a visit to the store for good behavior—high grades or after going to the dentist,” she adds. To date, business, thankfully, is ﬂowing without a major hitch. “We recouped our investment in six months,” Angelette shares. Weekends, Christmas and summer breaks, and long weekends are good for the business. During these seasons, the estimated number of buying visitors per day range from 30 to 50. On weekdays, the store would have two to 15 customers—sometimes even no buying customer at all. But the business also proﬁts from private party arrangements. Elly adds that with private parties, there are better margins. “Our party package is product plus services.”
Making Dreams Come True
Club Princess’ most signiﬁcant selling point is its ability to make little girls feel like princesses for a day, offering fancy jewelry, colorful bags, accessories, colognes, and other kikay charms little girls love. Bestsellers include the Royal Makeover for 395, which is inclusive of a hairstyle of choice and nail polish for 300, and the optional glimmer tattoo for 95. “Usually glimmer tattoo muna. Nagpapalagay ’yung girls ng kahit anong design, usually sa mukha, braso, o kahit saan nila gusto. Tapos sa hairstyle ang pinakasikat ’yung ‘ﬂower’ na style, kasi mukha talagang ﬂower ’yung hair nila. Namimili naman sila sa nail station ng polish,” shares Marivic. Also a popular buy is Buy The Bucket, where all kikay items—hair accessories, fancy jewelry, girly bags, colorful Band-Aids in cute CONTACT DETAILS prints, among others—are priced at Club Princess 50 each. For private parties, Club (open Monday-Thursday, 12pm-9pm; Princess offers two party packages Friday-Saturday, 12pm-12am; good for 10 people ( 9,800 and & Sunday, 12pm-11pm) 10,800), each inclusive of Royal Makeover while party favors differ B1-08 Bonifacio High Street, in items. Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City To celebrate its second year this month, Club Princess is holding 856.2821; 900.2739 a month-long anniversary sale, when selected items go on 10% to Mobile: 0917.839.8858; 0917.846.2193 50% discounts. APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG • 23
BATANG NEGOSYANTE (BOTTOM) Mix & match the hand gel of your choice (TOP RIGHT) Club Princess’ Buy The Bucket items bring new meaning to “cheap thrills” (BOTTOM RIGHT) Club Princess sells eye-catching extras like faux feather boas and kikay products in girly colors. (UTMOST RIGHT) Angelette herself is a big fan of Club Princess’ stocks.
store is the only one [of its kind] and is the most updated. I keep up Within its ﬁrst year, Club with the latest trends by watching Princess was featured in a lot of [shows on] major broadsheets and Disney Channel magazines, such as Manila Tips for the and Nickelodeon,” Bulletin, Philippine Daily Tween Trade Angelette divulges. Inquirer, Philippine Star, Since she handles and Total Girl, and has also Research, research, research. The merchandising, been mentioned in blogs. tween’s taste is like a fad—what’s hip she checks out the now can become Iaos easily. Constant Their most memorable change of items and stock is vital to latest products on feature, however, was on boost sales. “Tweens change their the Internet, and the TV show Boy & Kris in minds almost every week. It’s important interviews her nieces June 2008. In the show, to keep up with the trends through and customers on the celebrity mom RUFFA constant research,” Angelette shares. latest kikay products, GUTIERREZ treated her She also does this by talking to her from furry bags to daughters LORIN and nieces and customers of Club Princess. pink sofas. VENICE to Club Princess. Keep prices within the student range. In the fast “The show approached us “90% or 95% of our clients are students. I make sure that the most expensive world of retail, because Ruffa wanted to item in the store can be bought with a correspondences treat her daughters like maximum of 300,” Angelette shares. Any among partners and princesses,” Angelette item being sold that is priced more than employees are made shares. a week’s worth of a tween’s allowance through cellphones That TV exposure will be close to impossible to sell. and store landline. resulted in Club Princess Be a kid. “Loosen up, be child-like but “Since we’re all receiving numerous not childish,” Angelette says. All three Globe users, we use franchise inquiries via owners, and their kids, try and test all the services they offer in order to get the feel. the 232 and 235 call e-mail, phone calls, and Employ parents. “Hire people who functions…it’s really SMS. “We had offers from have a genuine love for the customers. sulit!” almost all provinces — They will love the business and become Cebu, Davao, and even loyal to you,” Angelette shares. Lady Luck Cagayan De Oro. We also got calls from Dubai, UAE, [because they saw it Looking back, Angelette shares: “I’ve been very on] TFC (The Filipino Channel). We’re planning lucky. Every business I entered turned out well.” Her natural enthusiasm and cheerfulness have to franchise by next year,” says Angelette. been vital to her achievements. She says her youthful energy has enormously helped her close TV & Technology To achieve long-term success, a business deals and market her businesses. “My friendliness must adapt to the ever-changing market. Club and clowning around have paid off,” she laughs. Today, Angelette cannot picture life being Princess’ secret to success is its wide selection of styles and products. “I’m proud to say our anything else but an entrepreneur. “Ayoko 24 • APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG
na ng corporate,” says the former department store merchandiser. And despite having different personalities, Angelette, Ely, and Mye work smoothly in a business setting. Angelette explains, “Elly is the serious one who handles the details like operations, finance and accounting. Mye and I [are the ones who do] product development and merchandising.” She adds that Club Princess is nothing without teamwork. “Kanya-kanya kami ng roles, pero iisa lang ang goal—na lumaki ’yung store.” Most of all, Club Princess’ primary objective is to fulﬁll every tween girl’s dream of being a princess, even for just one day.
With the global ﬁnancial crisis affecting SMEs, Angelette admits to being nervous. “We’re affected since our store is a ‘luxury’ one. Since I’m handling merchandising, I try to ﬁnd more items to put on our Buy the Bucket shelf kasi ’yun yung pinakamabenta.” She adds, “We were lucky to have started planning our expansion before the Philippines felt the crisis. None of our suppliers backed out naman, thank God. Kaya ’yung savings that we allotted for our expansion, intact pa din.” Marivic shares: “We have a concessionaire now, On The Verge, which sells accessories like bags and clothes, since most tweens today are fashionistas and kikay. Plus, On The Verge pays rent, so that’s another source of income.” Angelette remains optimistic about Club Princess’ future. She asserts, “We have loyal customers. Buti na lang isip-bata pa kami kaya kilalang-kilala namin ‘yung clients namin,” she smiles. ●
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DID YOU KNOW... TRIVIA
FUNFACTS T R I V I A
Check out these interesting tidbits from Synovate’s 2008 Young Asians Survey
The number of hours an eight to 24-year-old can devote to some form of media in a day.
INTERNET The top choice of 15 to 24-year-olds to staying up-to-date.
ROUNDUP My favorite
childhood memory is... These entrepreneurs walk down memory lane and share their fondest childhood stories.
D A R LY N
OUT OF 10 of the region’s connected youth said they could not live without the Internet.
JOSIE GO of
OUT OF 10 respondents say they pay 100% attention to the Internet when they are online while about 4 out of 10 give it 75% of their attention.
percentage of respondents who are unable to function without their mobile phones.
average number of hours Filipinos spend burning up the phone lines.
4 hours & 23 minutes
The average time that Asia’s youth spend playing games (be they TV consoles, portable electronic, or online) per week.
Number of billionaires listed in the Top 100 Wealthiest People list who are under the age of 40. They are SERGEY BRIN and LARRY PAGE, founders of Google.
Age of BILL GATES in 1985, when MICROSOFT launched the ﬁrst retail version of Microsoft Windows. Gates was the president and chairman of the board of Microsoft at that time.
3 Number of BARBIE dolls sold per second, according to FORBES MAGAZINE.
300 In millions, the number of children and adults who have played with LEGO®.
3,000 In Philippine pesos, the total sales revenue generated by TOBY’S SPORTS SHOP during its ﬁrst three months of operations in the 70s.
“The more you stumble around, the more likely you are to stumble across something valuable.” SERGEY BRIN, The Google Story.
BOOTS ALCANTARA of Casa San Pablo. “Since I traveled (and still do) weekly from San Pablo (Laguna) to Manila, matchbox cars were great toys to bring along. It’s small enough that I can ﬁt in around two cars in my pocket. I did a lot of role-playing as a kid as I would assign different characters for each car. It’s also very easy to integrate it with my other toys. It’s a good thing my parents were encouraging of my fascination with matchbox cars. Every time we go out of town or for a reward, I would get just enough money to buy a matchbox car. It allowed for my childhood collection to grow to more than 70 cars—which are now mostly displayed in various rooms in Casa San Pablo.”
Karimadon Clothing. “I loved pretty dolls with long hair when I was child. I loved how I can dress them up in various outﬁts and different styles. I guess that my passion for playing dress-up with my dolls was one of the things that inspired me to go into the fashion business when I got older.”
DERRICK CHIONGBIAN of Blue Kettle Inc. “All I can remember playing with was Lego. I would make things which seemed like only I would know what they are. Though my constructions were crude and unrecognizable, it allowed me to carry out my imagination.”
RICKY ANDRES of Candy Corner. “I got a Schwinn bike from my parent when I was 7. It was such a cool bike that I biked everyday after school and all afternoon during weekends. I remember biking to the empty hills and ﬁelds of Green Meadows and Corinthian Gardens back when those villages we undeveloped. I enjoyed the freedom and excitement of biking. Most especially, I loved discovering new trails.”
ROSANNA LLENADO of AHEAD
Tutorial and Learning Center. “I learned to play chess from our neighbor the summer after grade 4 and loved it. Maybe I got addicted because I kept on winning. My father bought me a small board at ﬁrst, but when I beat him after a week, he bought me a bigger one (which I still keep until now)! My father was so proud of me that he asked almost everyone to play against me—even an old UP professor and a tricycle driver. That summer was crazy; I even gave up ballet classes to play chess daily. It taught me the adage ‘No guts, no glory,’ and to strategize differently every time.” APRIL 2009 • GLOBE MASIGASIG • 25
C ONTINUED FROM PAGE 18
HIS PLACE IN THE SUN
All these efforts keep AsianTech steady amidst the rise of cheaper pirated computer products in the market. “[Piracy] affected us badly, as price is a main concern in the traditional IT channel,” says Andy. “There’s a lot of competition. So we’re trying to come up with our own place in the sun, instead of elbowing our way into the existing market. I don’t look at the competition. I look at the market and how we can meet the needs of these people.” AsianTech’s market includes clients whose demand is mainly for affordable branded computer products. Andy leaves the clone markets, or the generic brands, alone. “We’re positioning ourselves along the branded companies, but [offering] products at a lower price,” he says. Because Filipinos now have more sophisticated tastes in technology and gadgets, Andy sees it as a necessity to develop unique products for them. Catering to a clientele that wants the newest products on the market right now is proving to be a challenge. Currently, Andy’s research team is developing software that will turn a computer into an all-in-one home appliance, negating the need for a separate TV, computer, DVD and CD player, among others. “Constant research and development is key to keeping up with the technology industry’s almost immediate product turn-over,” says Andy. This is why AsianTech’s research and development team is based in the Philippines—to be in touch, real-time, to the market trends, in order to foresee what needs to be put out in the market even before the customers know what they want.
BYTE BY BYTE
From AsianTech’s first day of operations, Andy has steadily walked forward, working from a dream his mother had for him. There were risks to be taken and he took it. There was hard work to be done and he did it. There were suppliers to be picked out; he picked them. There were customers to be wooed; he won them over.
It was difficult, especially in an industry where products become obsolete in the blink of an eye. But for 16 years, Andy Te has been moving in it successfully, although according to him, he needs to put more work into AsianTech yet. Perhaps, in ﬁve years, when Red Fox has become a household name for computer products in Southeast Asia, he will ﬁnally admit that he is an accomplished entrepreneur already. ●
“Constant research and development is key to keeping up with the technology industry’s almost immediate product turn-over,”
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