ENTREPRENEURIAL success knows no gender.
This is what gay couple Valentino Camara Jr., 39, and Chito Obando, 56, want to prove when they were selected to take part in the Cebu province-wide Sugbo Negosyo Expo.
Partners for 13 years, the couple has been the pride of the municipality of Carmen, Cebu for their fiberglass pottery making business, Neval Fiber Pots and Landscaping Services.
“We specialize in religious figures and Italian design using fiberglass. We also offer free landscaping to complement our products,” Camara told SunStar Cebu.
Both are creative individuals, practicing freelance interior design and landscaping.
“Since it is pandemic, plantitos and plantitas have been the craze. To respond to that demand, we innovated our products by offering to customers affordable pots for their flowers and plants,” he said.
Camara said the Sugbo Negosyo program, a P100 million assistance for micro, small and medium enterprises led by Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, has given them new hope in business amid the declining sales they experienced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The expo, they said, pushed their sales up and gave them much-needed exposure to potential markets, especially those stuck in their homes and are wanting to embark on home renovations.
Camara said they also received pre-orders from unexpected buyers from Aloguinsan, Alegria, Lapu-Lapu, and other cities and towns.
Getting back to business though wasn’t a walk in the park.
Obando said at the onset of the pandemic, production had to to stop due to dismal orders.
The varying levels of lockdowns also prevented them to reach their customers. This difficult scenario left their workers with little to no income.
“We had to find a way to pull through so they could feed their families. This project by the governor really helped us. We are so happy,” he said.
Neval Fiber Pots and Landscaping Services was established in 2008, initially offering services for interior home decorations. The couple later expanded the business to accommodate the rising plant craze phenomenon in Cebu.
Camara and Obando’s dedication and hard work in business isn’t only for themselves and their workers. The couple said they want to be successful for Obando’s 90-year-old mother whom they have been taking care of.
They vowed to continue doing what they love to do without losing hope. After all sucess in business, whether big and small, is open for all.