Female founder shares how she started small with only 200 packs of products and made it big

Female founder shares how she started small with only 200 packs of products and made it big

SME Inspirations

Airamae Guerrero

Airamae Guerrero

27 Aug 2020, 12:30 — 6 min read

Enterprise: Real’s Food Products
Owner: Hope Joy Palermo
Industry: Agriculture & Agri products
Year Founded: 2009
Location: Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

Due to war conflict in Lanao Del Norte, Hope Joy Palermo, together with her family, moved to Puerto Princesa City, Palawan with the courage to have a fresh start and better life for their son.

Moving to another province, they brought 200 packs of banana chips which came from their family business hoping to establish a new venture in Palawan.

Her husband, Christian, displayed the products in his brother’s canteen, and to their surprise, the 200 packs of banana chips were sold out in less than an hour.

“That’s how Real’s Food Products started in Puerto Princesa. People here, not just the locals but also international tourists, like our products.”

The wife and husband duo did not expect at first to receive positive response for their products.

“We thought we will only sell a few packs. But from 200 packs, it grew into 500 until we received more and more,” Hope shares.

With the growing demand, the couple decided to register and started their business in 2009 as Real’s Food Products.

Hope confessed that she has inhibitions as she navigated the business at the start and met the demand for their products. “When we started the business, it was only me and my husband.”

“We only have a small cooking pot and gas stove. But we kept on producing because it’s really our passion,” she shares.

From the couple’s desire to give a good life to their son and bring food to the table, it eventually grew into empowering more people, especially in their community, by training and hiring them for the business.

“Our desire grew to meet our social responsibility. We provided job opportunities and now we have 15 employees.”

Getting discovered by DTI

They used to display their products only at small canteens until a staff from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Palawan discovered their products. DTI-Palawan managed to help them have additional distribution channels to help their business reach more customers.

Hope Joy, later on, became part of the first batch of DTI’s Kapatid Mentor Me Program (KMME) in Palawan. With no business degree, she is grateful for the mentorship and training she received during the program which greatly benefitted her as an entrepreneur and her business.

In fact, after the KMME program, she was able to come up with new product offerings for her business. From five products including banana chips with different variants, she now offers 15 products including her latest product – coconut chips in different flavors.

Her products are also FDA-approved and are now available at Pasalubong Centers in Palawan and SM establishments in Cebu, Mall of Asia, and Boracay.

It’s not easy to run a business, but you can overcome and manage all challenges when there’s someone who can mentor or guide you through the ups and downs.”


Navigating the new normal

The female founder wasn’t also exempted from the impact of COVID-19. “I didn’t anticipate it. I thought the lockdown will only be for two months.”

Also read: 6 financing options to help your business stay afloat during and after a crisis

The strict travel restriction was a challenge for them to ship out their products. But despite the challenges, Hope Joy managed to come up with another solution in order to survive. She’s now offering rice cake for the locals in Palawan.

“We have to be innovative during this pandemic so that we can still survive and meet the needs of local people here.”


Embracing digital

One of her ways to adapt to the new normal is to strengthen her digital strategies and embrace a digital platform.

“I’m not used to going online. But I have to face the reality that digital is the new normal. There are a lot of people who encouraged me along the way. I’m thankful to DTI and UnionBank GlobalLinker for teaching and guiding me on how to create an online store.”

Also read: Create your own online store on UnionBank GlobalLinker for free

Giving back 

From being a mentee, Hope Joy is now a mentor for KMME program. “I want to influence my fellow entrepreneurs. It’s not easy to run a business, but you can overcome and manage all challenges when there’s someone who can guide you through the ups and downs.”

To get to know more about Hope Joy’s products, you can visit her online store at realfoodproducts.linker.store

To explore business opportunities, link with Hope Joy Palermo by clicking on the 'Connect' button on her profile.


Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured member. GlobalLinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the members

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Airamae Algentera Guerrero

I shine the spotlight on business owners who are doing exciting and innovative work by featuring them as part of our 'SME Inspirations' series. Connect with me and share...

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