Aspiring Filipino entrepreneurs find success on Lazada
[Editor's Note: For many small businesses, Lazada has been pivotal in delivering their products to more and more customers. Lazada continues to inspire Filipino entrepreneurs in achieving their dreams. Below is their story.]
MANILA, Philippines – Starting a new business is definitely not a simple walk in the park. These hardworking Filipino entrepreneurs have successfully established and built their own brands and have become cult favorites on Lazada. We shine a light on their journey, their well-loved products, and customer service that consumers have come to trust when ordering from their stores. Each of them has experienced their own highs and lows, showing how they have embraced the benefits of e-commerce and their journey to success.
Evan Marie Arellano, owner of Sundals
Evan has always been an entrepreneur at heart.
Her humble beginnings in business started when she was just 18, selling products on the now-defunct Multiply marketplace and sourcing her supplies from overseas manufacturers. “I love selling because it pays off instantly. You get that feeling of satisfaction every time you close a deal,” said Evan.
A single mom since her early twenties, Evan’s business was not only fueled by her entrepreneurial spirit; it was also a means to provide for her family. Throughout the years, she has been juggling working an office job and selling her goods online.
Evan was contented with seeing her business grow to moderate success, providing a steady stream of income for her family. But things changed after her mother’s death in 2018. She was also an entrepreneur, selling handicrafts made from the native abaca fiber. Evan wanted to continue her mother’s legacy, and from that point on, she pivoted her business to sell abaca footwear, and Sundals was born.
Evan first learned about the native crop during her time in college, discovering that while it was a common crop, it was often underutilized and discarded as waste. For this new venture, she sourced her abaca from micro-communities in Bicol, Cebu, and Laguna. The raw materials are 70% locally sourced, with each pair carefully handcrafted by local makers.
Initially, Evan launched Sundals through bazaars. But later, she realized the rent for booth spaces were eating a big chunk of her earnings while noticing that brick and mortar events weren't bringing her many customers. With this in mind, she thought of showcasing her products online through Facebook and Instagram. She even put up her own website—which brought in several challenges of its own.
In search of better business opportunities, Evan discovered online selling with Lazada in 2019 through her brother. Upon researching on how to sell on the platform, she realized that this would help solve many of the challenges that she has encountered with other ventures – things like promotion and marketing, rent charges, and logistics and delivery. Since onboarding on Lazada, Evan’s sales have increased by 300%. It also enabled her to provide a better experience for her customers, such as lower shipping fees and accommodating cash-on-delivery requests.
Through the tips and tricks she’s learned at the Lazada University portal and the seller community, and experimenting on utilizing the variety of tools on the platform, Evan shared, “It’s amazing how we get orders on Lazada with just uploading our products online; the customers just come.” Evan is now focused on her business full-time, managing Sundals with her husband. She plans to re-launch the brand this year, with a bridal collection in the pipeline.
Shop Sundals at https://www.lazada.com.ph/sundals.
Jeffrey and Tatiana Hitosis, owners of Ala Eh Barako
Jeffrey grew up in the province of Batangas, the home of barako coffee. He started working at a coffee farm as early as 4 years old, helping his family make ends meet. He would go to school in the mornings and pick coffee berries or civet droppings in the afternoons and on weekends.
When Jeffrey was 12 years old, his father died, leaving his mother alone to fend for him and his four siblings. Jeffrey did a lot of side-hustling to get extra income, especially in his college years. He did odd jobs such as working as a server at a canteen and volunteering to help with his classmates’ projects.
A computer science major, Jeffrey graduated and got a job as a software engineer in Manila. He eventually moved his way up and became a manager at his firm.
It was through his job in Manila that Jeffrey met his wife, Tatiana. On their wedding day, they gave away barako coffee beans as a token for their guests. It wasn’t long before people started to inquire about replenishing their coffee supply, even asking for favors to bring coffee all the way to Pampanga, where Tatiana is from. This gave them the idea to start a business. Partnering with the best coffee farmers and roasters, Ala Eh Barako was established in 2018, opening up shop on Lazada.
At first, the two balanced their day jobs with selling online – working in Manila on the weekdays and traveling to Batangas on the weekends to manage the business. Eventually, the income generated from Ala Eh Barako sky-rocketed, motivating the two to focus on it full-time.
The duo has since increased their manpower to a small team of five to cope with the rising demand, helping with packing and coordinating customer orders. With his programmer background, Jeffrey was able to draw data from Lazada and leverage additional accounting tools to track their daily progress on the platform.
The main motivation of Ala Eh Barako is to always deliver quality coffee to customers. The two are elated every time a positive rating or review is left on the Lazada store. Jeffrey recounted a recent review, “We have many loyal customers, but it is great to see feedback so we can constantly improve our products and service. One customer recently said we were accommodating with their queries and special requests, and that our coffee was of good quality – affordable with a premium taste. ‘Iba talaga ang Ala Eh Barako!’ This is always heartening to receive and read such encouraging comments.
“If they’re not happy with the products, we either send a replacement or process a refund. Our product quality and customer satisfaction are always our top priorities, as this will help us grow our business even more,” Jeffrey added.
“Our sales have doubled since we onboarded on Lazada. E-commerce has truly changed our lives; through Lazada, we are able to build our savings, and better support our family."
Shop Ala Eh Barako at https://www.lazada.com.ph/shop/ala-eh-barako.
Joy Delos Reyes, owner of Bags on Demand
Having been together for almost 10 years, Joy and her now-husband Rodel have always been partners in business. They started their entrepreneurial journey in 2010, shortly after graduating from college. “We were quite adventurous in our ventures – we sold everything from clothes to gadgets on sites like Sulit.ph, Facebook and Instagram,” Joy said.
Drawing inspiration from her mother, they established their business, Bags on Demand. “My mother inspired us to manufacture our own products, not just source them from other suppliers. During our buy-and-sell days, we noticed bags would always be top sellers and started from there,” Joy added.
In the infant stages of the business, they would produce bags only when customers place their orders. Eventually, people started to take more notice of their products and inquired about ready-to-buy styles. This drove the couple to make more bags and set up their online shop, putting Bags on Demand on Lazada in 2015.
Their online shop eventually landed them a feature on the popular morning show Umagang Kay Ganda, which stemmed from a member of the production team buying one of their products online and eventually taking an interest in the story behind their business.
The couple now owns a warehouse in Cabuyao, Laguna, where they design and manufacture all their products in-house.
Given the stability of the business on Lazada, this has afforded Joy and Rodel to focus on producing more designs and options for their customers. “When you’re an online seller, there’s a risk that your income will never be stable. But with Lazada, we know our income will never be zero,” said Joy. Apart from their own financial stability, Joy and Rodel were also able to help fund the education of a few of their relatives with their earnings.
Today, Joy and her team are laying out their plans to take Bags on Demand to a bigger stage. She envisions the brand to go worldwide, bringing proudly Pinoy products to a global audience.
Shop Bags on Demand at https://www.lazada.com.ph/shop/bags-on-demand.
“We are proud and happy to have become a partner of our sellers in their journey to success. Now more than ever, we want to keep supporting our local SMEs through giving them access to all the tools and services on our platform, helping them bounce back and bring their e-commerce business to greater heights,” said Lazada Philippines’ Chief Operating Officer Carlos Barrera.
Explore more of our local Pinoy sellers during the Lazada 6.6 Bounce Back Sale this June 4-6. Find out more by visiting the Lazada website and their social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. – Rappler.com