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Catchy-Pan seizes an opportunity in the midst of crisis

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Catchy-Pan mouth-watering Rellenong Bangus, one of their best selling products
Photo from Catchy-Pan
Contributed By Rizal Raoul ReyesMany business leaders and management experts said that this crisis is a test of character and resilience. And for the business partners Homer Homires and Rhea Barawid, they proved that this theory is true.

With a witty name for their business enterprise Catchy-Pan, the co-owners are painstakingly fishing for success in their part-time gig in these challenging times, and the fruit of their labor is paying off.

Catchy-Pan came into being when the #feedthefrontliners initiative led by Homires was slowing down. Homires was approached by a friend from Dagupan, popularly known as Bangus Capital of the Philippines, who was looking for someone who could distribute bangus (milkfish) in Metro Manila.
“One of the first things we discussed was the brand name, wanting to separate themselves from the bangus business”, and Homer jokingly suggested ‘Catchy-Pan’. But the name also works because it alludes to catching a bangus, and cooking it on a pan. Plus, we thought that they will offer the bangus products cheap, hence “ka-cheapan”,  as to how some Pinoys would put it,” Barawid told the THEPHILBIZNEWS in an email interview.
With that catchy name (pun intended), the business was born. Homires along with Barawid used various social media channels—those that have been engaged from Homires’ #feedthefrontliners posts—which had a following of thousands to tell the world of this great but cheap product. “We collaborated with social media influencers and sought their feedback and endorsement on the product. And we are beyond happy that we are receiving nothing but positive feedback from them (most especially to our valued customers,” Homires said.
Barawid, who is based in the US, is the social media manager and accountant and Homeris is in-charge of overall management and logistics. Meanwhile, Homires’ friend Roma Paragas is the supplier from Dagupan.Shifting the gear

Before his Catchy-Pan days, Homires managed a small family-owned cafe near Our Lady of Fatima University in Greater Lagro named Cups and Plates. COVID-19 shut their business down. He was approached by Barawid, his best friend from grade school, who is now in the US, to be one of their vendors for #feedthefrontliners driven by her and her friends (Eat Girls) who want to support frontliners in the Metro Manila area. Homires’ work with Eat Girls exposed him to the power of social media for awareness and how there are a lot of people out there willing to help and are basically looking for a conduit to make a difference. Furthermore, the program allowed Homires to establish a robust distribution channel from which any online enterprise needs to rely on and the initiative ended last June 12.
Interestingly, Catchy-Pan is performing well since it opened eight weeks ago, and Homires pointed out that it has already achieved a steady profit in the past couple of weeks and has a lot of repeat customers. But it is not that easy because it entails the division of labor, trust, and transparency.
Homires handles the logistics part of the business. Once orders are entered in the accounting software Quickbooks, while Barawid makes the packing slips for each of the customer orders and send them to Homires.Apart from that, Barawid also prepares a list of deliveries for the riders to look at (via Google sheet). From there, the riders then plan their respective routes based on that week’s orders. Once the bangus products arrive from Dagupan on Saturday morning, Homires then use the packing slips and personally prepares each of the orders for delivery by the riders on the same day.  Deliveries are done every Saturday (and sometimes also Sunday – depending on the volume of deliveries).

Challenge in the business

Just like any start-up business and under a ‘new normal’ situation, challenges remain inevitable according to Barawid. She pointed out that logistics has been so far the biggest challenge of the business.
“The initial plan was to have Homer go to Dagupan every week to pick up the bangus orders personally, and he did that in the first two weeks. However, due to MECQ, Homer and I had to think of alternative ways of transporting the bangus,” Barawid narrated.“The initial plan was for Homer to go to Dagupan weekly to pick up the bangus orders personally, which he did in the first two weeks. But due to MECQ, Homer and I had to think of alternative ways of transporting the bangus,” Barawid added.

With the help of their supplier from Dagupan, they were able to transport the bangus weekly via Victory Liner (chilled and sealed).

“This has been going smoothly so far except for some instances of delays in transit due to weather and traffic. In the future, Homer and I still plan to revert back to the original idea of transporting the bangus products themselves,” Barawid explained.

As hardworking individuals, Homeris and Barawid still have full-time jobs. Homires is working in the BPO industry in Manila. While Barawid is a government audit/CPA in Los Angeles, California.
The duo cites the important role of technology in managing the business. “Through the help of technology (social media, google sheets/google drive, Quickbooks, etc.) we were able to run the business even though we are on different parts of the world,” Homires said.
Aside from enabling Catchy-Pan to operate 24X7, social media provides the ease of communication because there is no need to print flyers or posters and distribute to customers by hand or to pay advertisers to sell the brand. With just a click of a button or by tapping your fingertips, Homeris said clients can already have access to everything that they need or want to buy without the need to go to a physical store.
Catchy-Pan delivers to customers all over Metro Manila and even in some parts of Rizal and Bulacan.
The research and development component is being handled by Paragas.  She constantly informs Homires and Barawid of the latest products and sends samples to Homires to taste test.
The biggest sellers so far are Rellenong Bangus, Marinated Boneless, Tinapang Bangus and Bangus Belly.
Although Homires and Barawid have observed that a lot of customers are senior citizens and health-conscious individuals, they said Catchy-Pan does not have a specific target market since bangus is a staple in every Filipino household, apart from the fact that bangus is the national fish of the Philippines.
In line with offering exciting products to the market,  Catchy-Pan will keep evolving and improving its products, especially there are several ways on how to prepare or cook bangus.“So, we have new products that we plan to introduce in the near future – such as Bangus Sardines and Baked Bangus. Just watch out for our announcements on social media,” Homires and Barawid concluded.

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