At the 10th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit held at the World Trade Center this week, It Girls Georgina Wilson and Anne Curtis were among the celebrity guests who talked to millennials and Gen Z about the ups and downs of running your own business.
Georgina’s Sunnies Studios is marking its fifth year in the industry, while Anne’s BLK Cosmetics is a baby brand on it’s fifth month. While both girls have their celebrity status to thank for helping them launch their brands, they’re no stranger to the struggles of running a business from scratch. The biggest lesson we learned from Georgina, Anne, and the other empowered Filipina entrepreneurs at the summit is that even with only P2,000 as your startup investment, your business can grow and thrive. Here, Georgina and Anne share the biggest lessons they learned.
Experience really is the best teacher. –Georgina“I have a business degree, but [my] five years in business taught me things that I would have never learned in school. I loved my time in school, but experience is the best teacher… What’s great about starting small is that lahat ng achievements, lahat ng mga wins, you’ll appreciate it so much.”
Get a mentor. –Anne“It’s very important when starting a company is that you find someone who will discipline you and who knows the background of the industry you’re starting in, para ma-control niya, para ‘di ka malugi, para di ka mabaon sa utang. Kailangan mayroong nag-gui-guide sa iyo, that’s why it’s important that you find key people in your team and in your company… That’s why I’m very grateful to have a mentor in my life is Jacque (Gutierrez, co-founder of Happy Skin Cosmetics and Anne’s partner in BLK Cosmetics).”
Keep the office rent at a minimum. –Georgina“Office rent should be kept at the minimum-est minimum. I think you should be spending more on your product and the experience… One of the biggest costs to be managed is inventory. That really took a lot of investment [for Sunnies]. Our vision was to completely change the kiosk experience. it was five years ago and we spent way too much money on the kiosks, but it worked for us because it revolutionized that experience.”Continue reading below ↓
You can’t always shell out so much. –Anne“My mentor Jacque, who is well-known already in the cosmetics industry, was the one who mentored me. [She said that] in a business, you can’t always shell out so much. You have to take in the element of what you can spend, make everything work, and go around.”
Connect with your customers. –Georgina“Five years ago already seems like a long time. We were one of the first brands to completely launch on a digital platform—no physical store. We opened our store eight months later. What was great about that is how we centered our business communicating with our customers. We didn’t actually go looking for customers. We just decided that we want to make things that we love, and hopefully others will love it, too. What’s really important in keeping us on check is constantly having an open communication online with our consumers. From the smallest things, like what color our hard case should be to getting feedback of an experience that hasn’t been so positive, the fact that we value that open line of communication is one of the reasons why people feel connected with our brand.”