I started my journey distributing and selling coconuts in the Bulacan and Metro Manila area from 2012-2016. In this period, I was inspired to open up a shop selling juice and shakes using leftover coconuts as a side hustle. However, I saw a large amount of fresh coconut flesh leftovers wasted on a day-to-day basis.
That’s when my business, TLM Yema Buko Pie and Pasalubong Center, began. I filled the coconut flesh inside a traditional shortcrust Pie to prepare a widely popular dish called Buko Pie. Buko Pies met with quick success, and we expanded into several variants with cassava, cheese, caramel, and many other such ingredients.
She implemented a digital strategy right from the beginning!
But from day one I had bigger ideas for the business. I started my Facebook page and posted daily. I am happy to say that we got decent organic traffic too. But the best part came when Balitang Malolos (local news page) featured a customer’s favorable review of our pies! We also expanded into selling add-on goodies like chips and cookies. Word of mouth and great media coverage led to a lot of progress, as we went from getting 50 to 300 orders per day over the period of 5 years!
She made some very brave decisions through the anxiety-inducing phase of the pandemic.
However, despite the hustle, the most difficult period for the business was waiting for us. In 2020, the COVID pandemic struck. The situation was literally threatening to shut us down. After all, shops around me were shutting down. Few people were visible on the street. Still, I resolved to keep the store open. My entire livelihood was dependent on sales and I felt like crying out of despair. But the solution was in learning to pivot.
I joined the Bayan Academy to learn digital marketing. I used my learning and expanded through Facebook. Our sales had dropped by 50%, but we now sold digitally in addition to physical stores to survive. Over time, we did recover. Now I feel tougher and better equipped to face difficulties.
She feels like her business has evolved through tough times.
My spirit is revived, and we now get 90% of our orders through Facebook business. I am glad my business, thanks to digital marketing, evolved through the times. I have realized that if I can stand up to the pandemic, I can build back despite any setback!