“I learned that if you don’t take risks, you cannot create a future.”
A woman who was laid off from work due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic shared an important lesson when starting a business.
For almost two years, 25-year-old Isabel Cane Buncab-Montoya worked as a ground employee at the Clark International Airport. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit hard on the aviation industry, she was one of the thousands of employees who got affected by the retrenchment.
“During pandemic, lahat ng airlines, wala tayong flights. So, our company decided to lay off employees, and I am one of them that lost their jobs. I felt talaga ‘yung frustration. Kasi I don’t have any income. During that time, it is hard to find a job. So Nag-worry ako. Sabi ko, sa’n ako kukuha ng pang gastos ko every day?” she told with The Philippine STAR.
Isabel admitted that she took some time off to plan her next move after she lost her job.
“Ilang weeks din nag-process sa’kin na wala na. Na the decision is final. So ayon ‘yung naging motivation ko to start a new [source of] income and start selling online,” she said.
“After a month, I started my business.E ven my husband, he is in Italy and nawalan din po siya ng work because of pandemic. So we risked our savings to start our small business,” she added.
Isabel invested their P120,000 savings to jumpstart their sleepwear business. According to her, the nationwide lockdowns prompted her to start producing different styles of pajamas.
“During pandemic kasi, we’re not allowed to go out. We got an idea na why not sell sleepwear since everybody’s at home. Presentable siya since may collar siya and then very comfy ‘pag suot mo,” Isabel said, noting the background of the business.
“We only have four rolls of fabric, pinatahi namin siya sa sewers. Nagustuhan ng aming mga clients since very unique ‘yung aming mga designs. That’s the start of our new beginnings as a business owner,” she recalled.
Her former workmates at the airport, friends and family were the first ones who supported her newly established business.
“Thankful ako kasi even na hindi na kami magkakasama, hindi nila ako iniwan sa new journey ko,” she said with teary eyes.
“They are sending me feedbacks na, “Uy you should post this kasi ang ganda, ang comfy ng sleepwear niyo. Without social media, I think we cannot hear ‘yung success na meron kami,” she added.
Her business was going well for a couple of months. However, she said that she lost thousands of pesos after facing some problems with the sewers.
“We lost hundreds of thousands. ‘Yung mga sewers no’ng una, they don’t mind kung quality ba ‘yung magagawa nila. They are after their income, the final product didn’t go well,” Irish recalled the lowest point of her life as an entrepreneur.
“I was depressed ‘yung husband ko, we’re always fighting na, bakit mo pa ininvest?Wala na nga tayong pera, P500 na lang ‘yung pera mo sa bank account. ‘Di ka ba nanghihinayang? I told him give me last chance. And that chance, I took it seriously because I only have that one eh and then that’s the time na parang sinugal ko na lahat. Bahala na kung anong mangyari basta I did my best,” she stressed.
Irish’s hard work and dedication later paid off. From 200 pieces of pajamas, she can now sell around 4,000 pieces worldwide!
“In two years of online selling, I already have my car. We already have two properties, our million savings and our six-figures generating income. My salary is only P14,000 a month as an airport crew. And that’s why sabi ko, habang nagta-trabaho ako, ‘yun na ‘yung sinasahod ko. Pa’no pa kaya sa “online business lang.” Nila-lang ko lang dati ang online business not knowing na nandito pala ‘yung swerte ko,” she said.