21 Dec 2020, 14:30 — 8 min read
With a promising corporate career, Lakapati Basa never thought of becoming a full-time entrepreneur.
Not until she turned her personal mission into a passion project that eventually became a full-blown business.
“In 2018, I decided to take the plunge when the demand for our products was more than what my husband and I could handle. I knew that if I didn't give it my 100%, I would regret it for the rest of my life,” she shares.
Lakapati launched The Real Happy Cow after getting exasperated with the lack of options for vegan food.
Using her passion for cooking, she explored her kitchen table to create and produce sumptuous 100% plant-based, kosher, and halal-style food to help people transition into a plant-based diet or vegan lifestyle by offering old-time Filipino food favorites.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL), Lakapati Basa (LB) shares how to turn your small project or personal mission into a successful business.
GL: Tell us a little bit about your business journey. What motivated and excited you to start it?
LB: It started as a small passion project as I have loved to cook since I was little. Back in 2015, there weren't many vegan or vegetarian food providers and as a vegan myself, the lack of options was frustrating. During our then monthly potlucks in Manila Vegans, I was encouraged to sell what I make and so I did that. I did not intend to become a full-time entrepreneur at all as I had a relatively great corporate career.
GL: You mentioned you have a great corporate career. What was your corporate job before? What was on your mind when you finally decided to quit? Was there any fear or doubts? How did you manage to overcome those?
LB: I worked in operations, project management, and during the latter years in human resources, I was a human resource director.
Like I mentioned, giving my 100% to The Real Happy Cow became so important to me that I couldn't think of anything else. It was so important that I align all that I do to what I believe in.
The corporate setting became an environment that did not provide me the kind of space I needed to do just that. Of course, there were a lot of fears especially on sustainability as I'm so used to a static and reliable income, but I came to a point where I felt like I was going to die if I stay the way that I am, that it left me no other choice but to take this path.
Passion is not enough to keep it going. Take your time & don't let anyone pressure you into believing you must be a certain way other than what you want to create.
GL: What made you decide to become vegan?
LB: My transition was long. I wish I could turn back time and had become vegan immediately. It started in 2006 and finally became vegan in 2010. I got my foot in the door when I became very sick with GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) and when allopathic medicine failed to address my condition safely and permanently, I knew I had to change somehow.
Changing my diet and lifestyle are two very important factors to my healing journey. I continued to be vegan because I cannot support the systemic abuse of animals in the food system, virtually in any capitalist industry and cultural traditions. Animals have the right to live freely as we do.
GL: What is the USP of your business?
LB: When we created the brand, we wanted to make excellent transition vegan food that omnivores and hardcore omnivores will love - no exception. We wanted to make it really good with high quality ingredients that non-vegetarians find it hard to believe it's vegan plus we make it easy and convenient.
GL: What has been the most effective way of raising awareness about your business?
LB: The most effective way is to collaborate/partner with other brands and groups with similar values, advocacy, and intention.
GL: How does UnionBank GlobalLinker help you so far? And why should other SMEs use it too?
LB: It gave us a platform to sell our products in the current digitized world and communities to support it. Other SMEs should use it as well because it's a great tool to sell and network.
Also read: Create your own online store on UnionBank GlobalLinker for free
GL: How do you cope up with the COVID-19 pandemic?
LB: I cope by meditating a lot and going inwards. Quieting the mind and heart allows the soul to speak and this allows me to focus on the important things.
The other thing I do is seek opportunities to share, especially when it is hard. It seems counterintuitive especially at a time when people naturally are more inclined to keep their resources. Sharing allows me to receive more blessings not just to fulfill my needs but serve as a channel of blessing to others too. It never fails.
Get a mentor and get into it without wearing rose-colored glasses and be very clear with what you do want
GL: What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur setting up their first business? Or what would you tell your younger self?
LB: Keep going. No matter how overwhelming it may be, keep at it. Keep moving, keep learning, keep dreaming. I'd tell my younger self to quit worrying too much, everything is taken care of.
GL: What is the next big thing on your business agenda?
LB: The next big thing is to scale our production and diversify our distribution channels.
GL: What are your tips for those aspiring entrepreneurs who have their own small passion project and wanted to transition it into a full-blown business?
LB: My tip is to learn how businesses work. Get a mentor and get into it without wearing rose-colored glasses and be very clear with what you do want (if there is one thing anyone will take from this, let this be it).
A business is very different from passion projects and the former will make you do many things that you potentially will not like but are important for sustainability. In every endeavor that is important to us, we all know that passion is not enough to keep it going. Take your time and don't let anyone pressure you into believing you must be a certain way other than what you want to create.
We would love to know the person behind the entrepreneur.
• Every day I wake up at - 5 AM
• The first thing I do when I wake up - I thank God for giving me another day to create miracles.
• Three things I do to unwind/ relax are - Go up in the mountains or the sea, anywhere close to nature. Nature makes me in tune with the universe. This is where I often get a lot of answers to my questions and prayers.
• When I face a big challenge, I - Pause and refrain from giving in to my emotions and give it some time to sink in before figuring out what the next step is.
• The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…everything I can ever want is within reach.
To find out more about Lakapati Basa’s products, you can visit her online store here (therealhappycow.linker.store)
To explore business opportunities, link with Lakapati Basa 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