Recent world events have triggered a lot of changes and while it is human nature to focus on the negative, it takes a lot of courage to look at the positive and celebrate it.
One of the things I enjoyed during this season is seeing my friends develop interests and turn these into profitable endeavors. The world of online selling has always been intriguing to me and so this week, I decided to share the stories of friends who have successfully pursued online ventures.
Founded by passion
Agape Love to Share, run by sisters, Raizza and Beatriz Tan Saldua, is known in the online community as the go-to place for delicious home-cooked meals as well as frozen favorites such as embutido, beef tapa flakes, and longganisa. to name a few.
Raizza recalls that business was inspired by their desire to share their baon with more people, “I used to work in corporate and I always prepared food for me and my sister. Not bringing packed lunches would cause so much stress during short lunch breaks, there are just too many factors involved like deciding where to eat, avoiding unhealthy food, and so on. I knew that a lot of people had these problems too so I thought if I would ever start a business, it would be to make sure that people have home-cooked meals that they could eat at work or frozen food without preservatives.”
Raizza’s family has always loved cooking, “I grew up watching my mama, titos, and titas cooking and eventually picked up my techniques from them. Food has always been our love language, we let people know they are special to us if we cook their favorites.”
This love for cooking soon translated into more than just a passion for Raizza, “I quit my job last year and decided to do other things. What that was at that time, I didn’t know. Cooking was already a skill, so I did that just to have something to do while I was on a break. I took some classes, had a short stint at a restaurant, a year went by, and here, I am still cooking. I guess it’s me just doing more of what makes me happy and that seems to be working for now.”
Meanwhile, Meggybite is slowly gaining ground in the online marketplace due to the popularity of their brazo de mercedes cupcakes, cheese rolls, and ube cheese pandesal. Run by Meg Balasbas, her mom Wennie, and Aunt Fritzi, Meggybite doesn’t just boast of delicious treats but also home-cooked meals.
“Meggybite was mainly inspired by our family. Initially a passion-based business of my mom and her sister, it was actually our friends and relatives who turned the wheel for us. They have been requesting ‘paluto’ dishes since the pandemic started because they were having a hard time preparing meals during work from home days and wanted to rest on weekends. And as their requests became more frequent, we decided to finally open an online business that can help our customers balance their time between work and families.”
Just like Raizza, family inspired Meggy’s cooking, “It is my mom and Aunt who does the magic in the kitchen. When I asked my Aunt about her passion, she answered me with humor, “Ang dami kong anak at ang lakas nilang kumain!”
“As for my mom, she said it’s not easy to take Agot (my twin sister who has cerebral palsy) out. Also, sometimes when we dine out the serving is usually not enough for everyone, and most of the time, we are looking for a particular taste in the food. With that in mind, our moms would recreate the different restaurant dishes that would satisfy everyone in the family.”
Venturing to online selling
Wanting to reach out to more people, Raizza and Meggy brought their passions online.
“I was fresh out of work when I started Agape Love to Share. Facebook at that time seemed like a very competitive and busy channel so I made an Instagram account instead. I had less than a hundred followers, but repeat orders and referrals kept coming from those followers,” Raizza recalls.
After a year of exclusive selling on Instagram, her sister Bea set up a Facebook page in the middle of the pandemic to reach more friend, family and eventually, new customers.
Meg’s journey, on the other hand, started just over a month ago, “Meggybite officially launched during the pandemic and from that, with the Lord’s grace, orders significantly increased, and I can communicate with customers while I continue my day job at home.”
When asked what they learned as online sellers during the event that changed the world, Meg notes, “At the end of the day, we all have our struggles. Learning time management and the art of resilience has helped us greatly in our business and as a family.”
As for Raizza, “This pandemic has made me open up to new things and meet new people. I realized that my products are not just commodities, more importantly, it gives comfort and makes lives a bit easier especially during this time.”
Know more about these two sellers by finding them on Facebook, Meggybite and Agape Love to Share.
Email the author at carlabiancaravanes.com