Passion vs high-paying job: Taking calculated risks help this entrepreneur pursue her dream

Passion vs high-paying job: Taking calculated risks help this entrepreneur pursue her dream

SME Inspirations

GlobalLinker Staff

GlobalLinker Staff

247 week ago — 8 min read

Enterprise: Macy's Dollhouse
Founder: Mary May Buendia Palabrica
Industry:  Fashion & Fashion Accessories / Design Houses & Boutiques
Year it was founded:  2015
Location: Pasig City, Philippines

When choosing between chasing your passion and pursuing a high-paying job, we often hear the advice, “just follow your passion.” But this wasn’t the case for Mary May Palabrica, owner of Macy’s Dollhouse. It took her more than 10 years to pursue her passion.

Instead of taking blind leaps, Mary made smart moves before pursuing her business full-time. She ensured that her business was growing and gaining more customers before plunging into the entrepreneurship world. “I continued building Macy’s Dollhouse from the ground as a sideline with no capital, no staff, while still working full-time. It was difficult, yes, but fulfilling,” shares Mary.

Also read: 3 mistakes to avoid when growing your business

From humble beginnings, Macy’s dollhouse has grown from a small-time online doll shop into a luxury kids clothing line with celebrity clients like Scarlett and Kendra Kramer.

In conversation with UnionBank GlobalLinker (GL), Mary May Buendia Palbrica (MP) shares the importance of taking calculated risks when it comes to pursuing your passion and turning it into a full-time business. 


GL: How did you start your business? 

MP: I started nurturing my love for fashion and creating ever since I can remember. I was a kid during the time when DIY paper dolls made of cardboard and paper were still a thing, and I have precious memories of playing with those. Unfortunately, at that time, I thought a career in fashion was not practical, so I pursued journalism in college. Thereafter, I pursued HR as a career, and worked in corporations for more than 10 years.

Life happened and my love for sewing took a backseat, but sewing has always stayed with me. Fast-forward to 2014, I gave birth to our daughter, Macy. That’s when my desire to sew all came back to me! I finally invested in a new sewing machine and started sewing dolls using free patterns I found online. Eventually, I also started creating dresses for her. On her first birthday, themed “Macy’s Dollhouse,” I made 10 different fabric dolls as centerpieces and made her two dresses as well! Eventually, my friends started to notice Macy’s dresses and I started getting inquiries. My first big break was for a cousin’s wedding, and then for a friend’s, which was what I consider as my breakthrough in the wedding scene.


Choose a business that you love doing! This will help you get through even the hardest and the darkest moments. Trust me, the money will come if you love what you do


GL: You had a corporate job for more than 10 years? What made you decide to leave your job and pursue business?

MP: The scariest thing I did for the business was quitting my high paying corporate job to focus on Macy's Dollhouse full time. It was scary then, especially since I have a family and at that time a baby on the way. But God always provides! It also helped that I have a very supportive husband who also acts as my coach when it comes to making decisions for the business. I also took advantage of technology and social media to grow our brand.

Also read: Understanding branding as a tool for business growth


GL: How did you manage your transition from being an employee to an entrepreneur?

MP: It was a lot of sleepless nights! I’m the type of person who always wants to be on the safe side especially since I have kids. I tried to be as ready as possible - had savings, cut down on unnecessary expenses, prepped the kids and my husband on these lifestyle changes, got our HMO, etc. It is through those preparations that I got the courage to push through. In the end, I learned that preparation is good, but you still need to be flexible in case anything happens that doesn’t go as planned. As an entrepreneur, you have to be fluid, always on your toes. Most of all, have faith and trust in yourself.

Also read: Perfect the transition from employee to owner

GL: What are your challenges after deciding to pursue your business full-time?

MP:  Initially, I was doing everything on my own. From curating my social media feeds, answering inquiries, procurement, sewing, deliveries, etc. But I manage it by doing the following:

  • Hiring a sewing assistant to lessen the burden of production on my shoulders
  • Utilizing technology.  I used social media, Facebook page auto replies, post-planning apps, reliable logistics provider for my deliveries, online ordering and payments for supplies.
  • Managing time. I have a pre-schooler and a 6-month old baby, so time blocking and proper planning are important to ensure that we are able to meet all deadlines.


GL: What are the milestones of your business?

MP: My greatest milestone so far was working with celebrity clients. The most memorable was working with Scarlet and Kendra Kramer. We were also able to join bridal fairs, were featured both in print and online, and our brand has grown from a small time online doll shop to what it is now, the go to shop for luxury kids clothing in the country.

macy's dollhouse


GL: How does UnionBank Globallinker help your business?

MP: As an SME, UnionBank Globallinker has helped me in terms of providing insights and trends via the articles that they regularly share via email. I get lots of inspiration from other successful entrepreneurs and also get to connect/network with them too! It's an amazing community of like-minded individuals and I thank Unionbank for bringing us together.

Also read: How UnionBank GlobalLinker can help grow your business through an impactful website


GL: What are your tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?

MP: Choose a business that you love doing! This will help you get through even the hardest and the darkest moments. Trust me, the money will come if you love what you do. Utilize technology. It’s much easier to do business nowadays. Almost everything has apps already, just find what works for you. I have apps for banking, deliveries, budgeting, graphics design, scheduling, planning, payroll, etc. Good thing is, most of these are free! As much as possible, do not start a new business in debt. I started small and just grew from them. I believe not having this pressure helped me make more sound decisions. If taking a loan cannot be helped, make sure you've made accurate projections and engaged a credible and reputable financial institution like UnionBank.


To explore business opportunities, link with Mary May Buendia Palabrica by clicking on the 'Connect' button on her profile

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