A Gen Z from Manila expressed gratitude to her family, who are all doctors, for supporting her in her chosen career.
“Tracing back, even ‘yung grandparents ko, my parents, and my siblings are all doctors. So ako ‘yung very first one who tried a different path. I super appreciate how my whole family has been super supportive of my journey. I never felt na nag-stray away ako. It was more of really finding my passion and really finding the path for me,” 26-year-old Bernadine Ablaza shared with The Philippine STAR.
Bernadine started selling metal straws way back in college. She initially bought 15 pieces with P3,000 that she saved up.
“Nag-viral ‘yung mga turtles pumapasok ‘yung mga plastic straws sa ilong nila so parang sabi ko, ‘Grabe naman ‘yung abuse for mga turtles.’ So naisip ko at that time na, ‘Oh bakit hindi kaya mag-introduce ng products such as a metal straw,’” she recalled.
Family, friends and classmates were her first costumers until she decided to grow her business after graduation.
“It was my plan sana na mag-venture into counseling. Kaya lang parang sabi ng parents ko, since doctors sila, ‘Oh if you wanted to be a counselor, it takes a longer time. Kailangan siyempre, nasa 30s or 40s ka na before people start going to you as a counselor. So, sabi ko, ‘Oh medyo mas matagal ‘yon ah. So why don’t I try to start a business,’” she said.
“I graduated in UST from the course of sociology. Totally unrelated siya. So I didn’t know how to run a business. Wala akong marketing course. Wala akong advantage sa mga ibang businessowner. So, I think talagang naipalago siya organically,” she added.
Bernadine then went all in for her business after graduating in college. While growing up, she already knew that she would not follow her family’s footsteps in the medical field.
“I really knew I won’t be a doctor, and I knew also that I really can’t do a corporate job. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, maybe it will be a better move if I really follow my passion, I really follow or go after my calling,” she stressed.
After six years, all her hard work finally paid off! She now earns six figures a month and also collaborating with different big companies.
“No’ng first year ng pandemic, we were selling like hotcakes kasi ang daming time ng mga tao to online shop. ‘Yung mga items namin, such as reusable straws and personalized reusable utensils, were the underrated pandemic essentials. On-the-go kit kasi siya so talagang ang daming bumili,” she told the STAR.
“Nong 2017, one-man team lang ako. Ngayon, we’re a team of ten na. It was not an overnight success. I think what worked for our business is really good old-fashioned hard work. I never imagined that I’ll be where I am right now but I’m so thankful that maybe the stars aligned for us,” she noted.
Bernadine added that her journey proves that finding one’s passion can lead to something bigger and better.
“I’m so glad I did follow my passion. I did listen to myself na hindi ko pinilit na maging doctor or that hindi ko pinilit to be an employee in a corporate setting because I think I really bloomed when I listened to myself. and when I really listened to my calling. Never lose sight of your purpose as to why you started because that will always ground you,” she said as she looked back on her early days.