By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios
Challenging the Filipino entrepreneurs to be patriotic, creative and original in their enterprising endeavor, J&T Express launched Certified Lokalista to promote small and medium enterprise’s (SME) online-based businesses and to celebrate their founders’ tenacity, success, and commitment to become role model entrepreneurs in the country.
The ten winners of J&T Express Philippines’ Certified Lokalista campaign will be enjoying safer, faster, and more reliable delivery services that are worth PHP20,000, but without having to pay for it. Counted among the most popular sellers in the country, they now have greater opportunities to marketing and promoting their products and services to locations beyond their own regions. Leading at the number one slot is Pasig-based online business Craftcha, which converts upcycling discarded items such as flour sacks, cloth scraps, old jeans, and outdated clothing into tote bags, pants, masks, and everyday items.
Craftcha’s entry garnered a rating score of 98.33% from more than a thousand total entries from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The following criteria qualified the winners who were determined together with DTI: 50% content, or the power of storytelling in describing their offers; 30%, creativity of their communications as they conveyed their ideas; and 20% authenticity or the genuineness of and the extent to which they used homegrown materials for the products.
Motivation why they started a business
Craftcha founder Merlita Manicad shares that her company was inspired by her harrowing experience during Typhoon Ondoy in 2009: “We put up a business that advocates cloth waste management in minimizing plastic bag use. Coupled with our interest in crafting goods, creativity, resourcefulness, and concern with the environment, these drove us to continuously create goods that are sustainable and purposeful. Craftcha takes pride in its environmentally friendly, functional, and sustainable products.”
J&T Express Philippines Vice President Zoe Chi affirms that “Filipino entrepreneurs, especially those who went above and beyond amid the mobility restrictions brought about by the pandemic, deserve to be supported and recognized for their creativity and tenacity.”
A budding lokalista can land a guest slot in a popular TV show. This happened to Venus Hate who founded and runs Philocalist by Venus, a Makati-based startup that serves coffee and tea lovers their favorite drinks. Venus shares that her business idea came from one lay-over in Japan where she observed how “Japanese people love and enjoy coffee drips and loose-leaf tea.” Her experience and credentials as a flight attendant also gave her a more in-depth understanding of how other cultures produce the traditional Asian beverage. Shortly after launching her small biz, Venus appeared on national TV for an interview in the ANC Conversations program. She is the 2nd place winner in the Certified Lokalista campaign.
Sometimes, the success of a business can fulfill childhood aspirations. Sheila Ann Soriano’s Arts and Crafts Handicrafts Store proudly offers handcrafted woodworks, done by her very own father who has been in the industry for many years now. “We cater the exact needs and wants of clients. We craft clients’ imagination with elegance, creativity, and craftsmanship,” shares the 21-year old lady who finally fulfilled her college dream of marketing her father’s talent.
Some of the Certified Lokalistas start their business because they want to impact the community around them. Made By Pearl Sewing Services providers consumers eco-friendly alternatives such as washable and reusable cloth diapers, drool pads for baby carriers, back towels, cloth menstrual pads, face masks, and produce bags, among others. Owner Jo Anne Pearl Tadeo’s zero-waste lifestyle motivated her to pursue this type of business. “Made by Pearl believes in the power of innovation. We knew right off the bat that we wanted to provide solutions from our long-standing problems,” the Pampanga-based entrepreneur says.
The fifth J&T Certified Lokalista top winner, Uniquely Online Store and Gawang Pinoy Shoe, uplifts the livelihood of Filipino artisans through locally-made women’s shoes and sandals from Marikina City and Liliw, Laguna. Through a number of resellers, this SME was able to further upscale the business as its customer reach through Facebook has gone up to 40,000. “By selling these products, we are alleviating the livelihood of our hardworking shoemakers while also showcasing the talent of Filipino artisans. We are immensely proud that our shoemakers can create sophisticated shoe designs built with 100% quality,” Uniquely Online Store and Gawang Pinoy Shoe owners Mary Chris Koh and Leo Fe Barte shares.
The other businesses that complete J&T Certified Lokalista winners are Germano’s Chili, owned by Gerome Panlilio and which offers chili garlic products; Meridian Pet Supplies by Ivy Tirazona which caters to the pet needs of Quezon City residents; CHYReativehandSZ by Diana Marquez which creates and distributes sewn and crocheted products; Batik Atbp, Mikel Mendoza’s souvenir shop that promotes the culture of indigenous people in Northern Luzon; and Lorna’s Gourmet, built by Eugenio and Ma. Lucille A. Dalida, to sell gourmet tuyo.
More exciting activities are lined up to further champion the country’s Certified Lokalistas. To learn more about this, follow J&T Express’ Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/jntexpressphilippines/ or Instagram at @jntexpressph.