If you’re a snacker with an insatiable sweet tooth, this viral snack has probably reached your fyp. With its mouthwatering flavors, distinctive cone shape, and wallet-friendly price, one would definitely add to cart instantly. So irresistible, in fact, that it’s sells 100,000 products every month!
But would you believe that this local product is actually a brainchild of a mother-daughter tandem from Pasig City? Konu—yes, the viral cone snack on TikTok—is a Filipino product that started in the small kitchen of Mommy Catherine Caranto in the middle of the pandemic.
The idea began when her daughter Denise Caranto, opened her small journal where she used to list down all potential business ideas. At the time, their family’s Korean socks business was facing challenging times due to lockdowns and dwindling demand.
“Hindi kasi necessity ‘yong socks so hindi na ganun kalakas ‘yong demand. Eventually we had to close na rin,” Denise told The Philippine STAR.
As a business administration student and a daughter of an entrepreneur, it was in her DNA to innovate and adapt to the challenges amid the pandemic.
“Ever since kasi I was in college, ma-side hustle na talaga ako. I always keep a journal of ideas kung anong pwedeng ibenta,” she said.
“But then, the pandemic hit and nagkaroon ng threat to the security of my job. Natakot ako and my partner—baka mawalan kami ng trabaho. So we went back to all those ideas that I jotted down before kung anu-ano ‘yong pwede namin ibenta. And one of the ideas there was actually our first product, Konu Snacks,” Denise shared.
Denise immediately pitched the idea to her mom. The plan was to assign the recipe and operations to Mommy Catherine while Denise takes care of the marketing side.
“Since wala naman masyadong ginagawa, medyo nagpla-plantita, mga cooking-cooking ganyan. Sabi ko sige parang maging libangan muna,” Mommy Catherine said.
Denise used her P7,000 savings as their initial capital. Mommy Catherine then went round the clock to experiment with the product.
“Magkahiwalay pa kami ng house. Nagpadala lang ako sa kanya ng mga ingredients. Sabi ko, ikaw na bahala mag-experiment. Nag-e-experiement lang sila ng brother ko and then she would send samples to me, to friends,” Denise noted.
Mommy Catherine said she had a hard time perfecting the recipe as it was her first time to whip up a chocolate-based dessert.
“Hala mahirap pala. kasi bago chocolates eh ‘no. Medyo ang daming test na nangyari. ‘Pag nagluto kasi ako, ayoko nong ‘okay na, okay lang,’” she said.
The two admitted that they don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to business decisions. Their perspectives often clashed, with Denise eager to launch quickly while her mom wanted to delay a bit to give more time to developing their product.
“Ako ‘yong ‘okay na ‘yan, launch natin, importante may ma-launch.’ Pero sinabi niya sa ‘kin na importante ‘yong feedback ng tao. Siya naman ‘yong, ‘Hindi eh, hindi pa ito ‘yon eh. Hindi pa ‘to ‘yong craveable. Hindi pa ‘yan ‘yong profile na tingin ko hahanap-hanapin.’ Mas mahirap to win back a customer versus to delay it for a bit, pero kapag natikman na nila okay na ‘yon, you win them already,” Denise said.
Finally, in October 2021, they launched their first product — Konu. The mother and daughter were shocked with the support of the public!
“May umorder 10, hindi namin siya kilala. And then pinadala namin she was happy with it. The day after we posted, may nag-iinquire na ng bulk orders. Gusto na nila 200 packs, 300 packs. Ganun siya kabilis,” Denice said looking back.
Now, their business journey has taken them far beyond their home kitchen. They operate a satellite kitchen in Malaysia with 100 resellers nationwide and two warehouses in Pasig!
They can also sell around 100,000 Konu products per month which are available in leading supermarkets and connivence stores.
Denise remains grateful for her mother’s guidance and unwavering patience throughout the journey.
“Mom ko talaga ‘yong gumawa ng lahat. Recipe siya rin. It really helped until now, ‘yong mindset niya na ganun. May check and balance kaya very good, really, really good ang blend of mindset and personality,” she said.
Denise added, “Ako, I’m really blessed that I have my mom whom I’m really close to na kinakausap ko parati anong gagawin natin and she’s my business partner.” — Janelle Lorzano