Start-up entrepreneurs brave opening business amid pandemic

Johanna O. Bajenting
·4 min read

THE Covid-19 pandemic may have forced a lot of businesses to close shop but it also birthed new ones that aimed to give comfort to people in these uncertain times.

Happysleep owner Shayne Pedrosa, 22, is one of those who braved getting into business amid today’s pandemic-induced economic crisis.

“Like everyone else, my sister and I, always wanted to start a business that’s close to our hearts—something that we, the sellers, would want to use for our everyday routine. Since we were young, we have always worn pajamas. We find sleepwears and sleep essentials the greatest things on earth,” Pedrosa, marketing and advertising graduate of the University of San Jose-Recoletos told SunStar Cebu.

Pedrosa said given that 1/3 of every person’s day is allocated for rest and sleep, investing in something that makes one achieve a good one is something they would like to share to all their customers.

Happysleep is a homegrown Cebu-based brand that supports local tailors and suppliers.

“Our mission is to provide high-quality sleep products that promote happy sleep and well-being. As we all know, this pandemic has affected a lot of industries, but what about our local independent tailors? Those who earn income from creating uniforms and jerseys? These tailors are not working under the umbrella of agencies and tailor groups. They just wait for customers—and this made us realize that if we are to put up a business like this in the market, it shouldn’t be about profit alone,” she said.

Instead of tapping tailor groups, Pedrosa and her sister opted to contact independent tailors in Cebu.

“Their reaction about the potential of the proposal was priceless. They always say thank you and their smiles were the happiest. They even gave their suggestions to better our products, and we were glad that the small business sparked hope in them,” she said.

Their brand offers a variety of sleep products—from cozy pajama sets, night gowns, pillow cases, sleeping masks to essential oils, room linen and spray, and natural aroma blends all crafted by local tailors and producers with the hope of giving customers a “happy sleep”—an escape from anxiousness, insomnia and sleeplessness brought about by the pandemic.

“We will release our newest collection this November and we’re excited to share our first Christmas collection to our customers and potential market. At the moment, we’re still trying to venture out the different possibilities of the digital arena, but still with a thought in mind of actually pursuing a physical store soon,” Pedrosa said.

Another entrepreneur is also dreaming big in business.

Charmaine Coronel, 22 years old, a civil engineering graduate, is supposed to take a licensure examination this November but due to the pandemic, it was postponed and moved indefinitely.

“I first came to know about dried flowers when my friend Chesca, tagged me in a post that has dried flowers in it. That’s when I first fell in love with its aesthetic, read more about dried flowers, and decided I should start selling them,” she said.

Coronel opened her online business named Lofty Bud (instagram: @loftybud, Facebook page: Dried Flowers and Calligraphy) on Sept. 30 after weeks of decision-making and procurement of stocks.

Courage

“What pushed me to venture in this type of business is the belief that we all have the potential to be successful in anything only if we’re courageous enough to take risks. I really didn’t have enough funds at first because I had no job or any source of income at all. My capital was my small savings from my allowance during my college days,” she said.

Coronel also sold all her books to generate more funds.

“It’s a great challenge for me to start at this stage since I’m new to the world of dried flowers and novel to the ways of running a business. Also, I have very little network or connection, so it’s harder to reach more people. But I decided to try anyway,” she said.

She emphasized that the purpose of her business is to promote beauty, sustainability and resilience amid adversity, particularly in our current situation.

Her products include dried and preserved flowers imported locally and internationally.

She also offers calligraphy services to give a more personal and artistic touch to every purchase.

“Dried flowers last way longer than fresh ones and require very minimal maintenance,” she said.

Her goal is to open a physical store in the future. She also dreams of owning a farm where she could grow her flowers.

“I also want to attract more people— may it be teenagers, adults, or even older generations with the timeless beauty of dried flowers and calligraphy,” she told SunStar Cebu.

Coronel’s business is a one-woman show.

“I do pretty much everything myself. Maybe in the future when I’ve expanded my business, it’ll surely offer job opportunities for farmers because they’re of great importance in the field of agriculture,” she said.