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Sunday, April 27, 2014

AGE is just a number, and if you think it is a hindrance in pursuing your passion, then apparently you have not encountered these four entrepreneurs—yuppies who pursued ventures while they were students.

Read all about how these youngsters put their skill, initiative and ingenuity to good use. Who knows? With summertime in full swing and all this free time on your hands, you just might be inspired to start a biz project of your own.

A sweet start
Luis A. Quibranza III


Sometimes, you strike gold in the most unlikely places. For Justinne Lou Go, who studied at the International Culinary Arts Academy Cebu, baking wasn’t exactly something she liked, as she preferred doing work in a hot kitchen.

“Ironically, baking is neither my forte nor among my greatest interests,” shares the culinarian. “But ‘survival of the fittest’ compelled me to delve into this business for better chances of surviving summer time, penniless,” recalls Justine, on her drive to raise some money for one
summer, launched her humble homebased business, Team Brownie.

“My dream for Team Brownie is for it to become a brand concept that should be fitting for franchise with stalls in malls and lifestyle arcades in
the country. Also, I wish for it to be among the staple stock of treats in Filipino households,” states Justinne about her vision for the product in the future.

To achieve this, she would have to juggle work and study as she’s currently in her third year taking up a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of San Carlos.

There have been various takes on brownies and numerous concepts on how to serve it. Justinne thought of packaging her brownie cakes as “instant desserts,” where people can bring home a few cups to heat at home themselves.

You basically grab a cup, heat it in a microwave, and add some ice cream
for good measure.

Her brand is gaining popularity among the youth, most especially those who are often online. Justinne promotes her products online and for now does meet-ups with interested customers. Currently, the brand offers the following fl avors: Dark Fudge, Red Velvet, S’mores, Salted Caramel,
Cookie Butter and Choco Mint.

Besides meet-ups, people can grab Team Brownie at The Chillage at the ground floor of the Andama Building North Reclamation, Mandaue City, Cebu; or the different branches of Sprockets Café, namely at Escario St., Talamban and Baseline Residences.

Nikki the ‘negosyante’
Joanna Cuenco

Nikki Acriche started her online shop, Bullyshanty (a name coined from her barkada and the tail end of negosyante) in 2007 when she was a college student, riding on the trend of online shopping. Starting with a capital of just P3,000 for seven pairs of shorts, she’s grown her business and been able to sustain her lifestyle. This includes a vacation in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. With help from her dad, she was also able to buy a secondhand car.

“Be careful not to spend all your earnings, even if it’s exciting,” Nikki advises, as she continues to use some of her profits to buy more stocks to sell. Having Mom as a personal “banker” certainly helps with managing finances!

Nikki’s entrepreneurial streak began early on, selling stickers to her classmates back in first grade. Depending on the trends and what she can find, her current bestsellers are monopods and power banks.

“I won’t sell things I personally wouldn’t use,” Nikki says. “It’s hard to sell something if you don’t believe in it.”

A seller has to manage time with inquiries, joy reservers, and taking good photos, but Nikki finds happiness in meeting people. “I’m really busy because of my medical internship,” Nikki says, “but I do my best to find a balance, because my shop is close to my heart. I really enjoy what I do.”

Gorelicious’ wear
Jessica Servande Losorata

HE USED to custom paint his old kicks and tees. Then his friends wanted him to do theirs too. The pro bono activity went on for a while, for the fun of it. It was only a little later when Ken Hensly Racho, now 25, was out to grab the world by the head with his “gorelicious” clothing line, Mermollie Ink.

Ken’s brainchild began back in college when he was still scribbling his way through a graphics and media college course. He thought he could mass-produce his creations at home and squeeze in some at school.

Freelancer at night, student in the morning. That was him. Sometimes, when the class was stuck on boring Algebra discussions, he would sneak in a little business work. That was still him. When education put a demand on his time, his family took care of the business instead.

Sleepless nights, stretched academic years. It was all worth it. Last year, Ken earned his bachelor degree at the Cebu Institute of Technology–
The business made him realize he’s good at the very thing he’d always wanted to do— art. Eventually, his products mushroomed all over the global apparel scene.

Google the brand, alright. Or, check in at The Slime Store, the official Mermollie Ink retail shop in Osmeña Blvd. in Capitol Site, Cebu City.

Starting a clothing line or any business is always a gamble, but wearing your heart on your sleeve sets you on the right track. Burst with activity as soon as the bulb lights up. At least, that’s the case for Ken.

“Open your mind before you open your mouth. Always do more than what you can do right now. Aim higher!” was the gorelicious challenge from the gorelicious artist.

Zeke the ‘design-preneur’
Fiona Patricia Escandor

“All those creative projects during my high school days are paying off,” said Ezekiel Sullano, a management student making his niche in the digital design industry.

It started with necessity, he said.

The class projects he was required to submit, until one day he decided to actually master the craft through tutorials online.

At present, he works his way through books and financial statements by day, and dabbles as a graphic artist under the name Ezkelion Works by night.

“I work closely with my direct environment like student organizations and school-based events. On a bigger scale, I’ve done marketing collaterals for a realty firm and multimedia projects for a German eco-company,” he said.

Whatever income he earns from his projects, Ezekiel said he uses it mostly to upgrade his tools of the trade (read: computer parts), and
also to fuel another passion of his, guitar-playing. “Food, clothes and the occasional guitar pedal,” he said.

As for his advice to fellow students who want to accomplish something similar, Ezekiel said: “Find something you know you can offer with a higher level of skill. Then start small, with where you are and what you have now.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 27, 2014.


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