The young model-entrepreneur Chesca Paredes of MEATROPOLIS
By Monsi A. Serrano
Starting up a business is not a walk in the park. The processes are cumbersome and redundant. Regulations can be unreasonable compared with neighboring countries that have cut through the red tape and bureaucracy. Oftentimes, these get the better side of budding entrepreneurs and they simply forego their lofty plans.
Apart from that, the competition is tough as new players continue to challenge the market. These are realities which young Filipino entrepreneurs are bound to encounter in their journey, especially now when the “new normal” poses never-before-seen challenges.
Speaking to THEPHILBIZNEWS, Chesca Paredes, one of the owners of Meatropolis shared the inspiring story of their meat business. As a young entrepreneur, it is interesting to note that the business idea came into being during a very casual conversation between Chesca and her friend.
Food, the chosen business
Like many young, gregarious, and confident millennials, 25-year-old Chesca beamed as she told her story – the story of Meatropolis.
“We started from a very casual catch up with one of my friends. As we were sharing stories, she randomly broached to me the idea to start up an online delivery business that would sell imported meat products. I already got excited about the idea and told her, ‘Why not?’ So, without second thoughts, we forged the deal and that’s the birth of Meatropolis,” she narrated.
Perhaps, having memorized by heart Maslow’s five-tier model of human needs, Chesca was quick to catch on her friend’s idea when she mentioned it was going to be a food business. “Food and health supplies are just some of the most in-demand products especially now in this time of the global pandemic,” she said.
The partnership banked on the fact that food is a necessity and reckoned that their investment had great potential at making the business sustainable. And thanks to their positive outlook and business smarts, it was an easy take-off, recalled Chesca of her business venture with her friend, Ericka.
“For me, everything was smooth sailing. Perhaps, because of our positive outlook, shared values, missions, and vision which we believe are very critical,” Chesca said as she waxed even more philosophical.
“It’s just like sailing your boat in the middle of the ocean. The ocean is the vast opportunity available if you know how to spot one. But at the same time, while there is a vast ocean that you can explore, it is very important that you all look in the same direction, paddle together towards your desired destination and the most important things in starting up a business are transparency, communication, and teamwork,” she added.
One fun fact that could boggle the minds of entrepreneurship gurus is that Chesca and her partner, Ericka, never bothered to meet face-to-face before engaging in the joint venture. “No meet-ups, no zoom meetings, no calls, everything was purely done through chat,” attested Chesca.
Asked how such a casually-bonded business agreement could have stuck the way it did without debate or controversy, Chesca said: “Ericka and I are straightforward and open about our thoughts so it was very easy for us to communicate our ideas.”
Capitalizing on the technology
Given the community quarantine and social distancing, the young entrepreneurs – being a tech-savvy –already knew how to market and serve their clientele in an efficient manner that is sustainable and – the magic word – accessible!
“Technology plays a big factor in every business especially now in this digital age. From the arrival of the products, to our communication with all of our suppliers and also with my partner, everything was fast-paced,” said Chesca.
Technology, indeed, saved them time in the way the operated Meatrpolis. Hence, the need for reliable, strong and uninterrupted internet connection is no longer a question.
“Everyone was caught flatfooted by the coronavirus pandemic, and those who are slow to adapt – or worst, resist to adapt (to change) – risk becoming obsolete in the process. It’s no ordinary time and situation. Hence, we ought to reinvent everything we do and even our set of skills and align on how we can cope up with this abnormal situation and eventually transcend it,” Chesca said.
“In the same breadth, while we embrace the digital transformation in the business, education and other activities, we are counting a lot on the reliability of our internet service providers to make business thrive, connect people especially and support our new breed of startups who are using their social media accounts to promote their business,” she added.
Dealing with the challenges
The two co-owners of Meatropolis admit that starting up a business in the midst of a pandemic is quixotic. They knew at the onset that venturing into a business in such an abnormal and unpredictable situation was and still is a big risk.
But during her interview with THEPHILBIZNEWS, Chesca seemed unperturbed. “I honestly think that some of the challenges that we will be facing during the ‘new normal’ is the tight competition because as we all know, almost everything is already being sold online and people are already starting to adapt to these changes. People are switching their businesses from the usual brick and mortar into selling their products online may it be frozen, ready-to-cook, or already prepped meals,” she said.
She explained that when it comes to Meatropolis, the value propositions are the food safety and quality of the products. “We can honestly tell everyone that whatever we offer to our valued clients, is something we serve and eat with our family,” she said.
“We are very meticulous, perhaps, part of being a woman. We want everything to be safe, properly packed and sealed. We make sure that the quality of the products that our valued clients receive is worth what they paid for. We don’t just aim to satisfy them, needless to say, we want to exceed their expectations quality and service-wise. And for Meatropolis, trust of the client is the new currency, and that will be our commitment, now and in the days to come,” she added.
While Meatropolis is a fairly new company, it is inspiring to know that Chesca and Ericka have medium- and long-term plans for their company. That’s music to the ears for THEPHILBIZNEWS, which supports entrepreneurship.
“I always believe that no matter how long the night is, the dawn will still come, and the sun will rise again. Hence, whatever is happening now around the world is a test of character for everyone. Needless to say, we don’t have to be fatalistic. While we put all our trust in God, we also ought to do our share, which is to have a ‘diskarte.’ How we deal with the situation especially with something we don’t have total control over it, will make us strong,” Chesca shared.
“So down the road, when everything goes well, it would be a great opportunity for us if we could expand. We would love to invest in other food products so we could offer more options to our customers but as of now, we are adjusting everything based on our budget,” she added.
“But definitely, we are targeting to capture the Vis-Min area in the future but we’re still researching on the easiest and most convenient process to distribute/send our products in those areas,” Chesca revealed.
“Hopefully in 5-10 years we have already expanded our business in different areas in the Philippines or even better, internationally. We honestly do not know yet where the road will take us but you will definitely see more of Meatropolis,” she added.
Tweet to fellow millennials
“I am aware that young people like us are being put inside the box and sometimes labeled as nonchalant and no direction. It may be a drop in a bucket more than a norm. Hence, my message to aspiring young entrepreneurs is to engage in a business that’s sustainable, be open to creative criticisms, and to never stop striving,” said Chesca.
“I myself had several attempts in starting up a business before we came up with the Meatropolis. What I originally wanted to build before the pandemic was an online store that would be selling clubwear outfits for women and novelty items. I chose that because I tried to connect it with my lifestyle since I used to promote in clubs and bars in High Street and Poblacion as a side-job on top of my regular day job. I used to think that clubwear would be a piece of cake to market but then the coronavirus struck us and it proved me wrong,” she said.
“One of my earlier mistakes was the fact that I did not listen to the pieces of unsolicited advice given to me which was to venture into something that people actually NEED. So, I would really advise everyone, not just young entreps, to be open to other people’s criticisms and suggestions,” she said.
“And lastly, never stop trying. A lot of successful personalities struggled with back-to-back failures but that did not stop them from getting back on their feet and keep trying again. I say, learn from your mistakes, focus on your goal, and put your heart into it and everything will follow, even the success you envision for what you want to do” Chesca concluded.