A 25-year-old proved that a business can thrive amid the pandemic, only if you have the right strategy. From being a full-time employee, Anna Herman Magalona is now a proud owner of a coffee shop business with 15 branches nationwide.
Like any employee, Anna found herself already contemplating the effects of pandemic. Already thinking forward, Anna wanted to prepare just in case she would be retrenched. She thought of opening a coffee shop as a side hustle. Instead of immediately quitting her job, she tried to juggle her job and business.
Anna opened “But First, Coffee” in August 2020. Her first branch was in her rented condominium.
Her business was a success and quickly expanded. On her fourth branch, Anna decided to quit her job to focus on her growing business. With determination and good marketing strategies, “But First, Coffee” was getting more and more patrons everywhere. Now, Anna has 15 branches all over the Philippines. Even more impressive, she achieved all these in just a year.
Starting a business amid the pandemic
Like any humble entrepreneur, Anna admitted that although she hoped to be successful, she didn’t expect it to be that fast.
“Hindi pa rin talaga siya nagssink in. Gusto ko lang talaga ng side hustle na makapag-compensate at least similiar sa sahod ng company ko,” Anna shared on Philstar.
“Just in case nga mawalan ako ng work because of the pandemic,” she added.
Anna began with a capital of P6,000 and tried and tested her recipes on her own. As a coffee lover, she enjoyed crafting her own blends. Her passion fueled her determination to succeed.
“Everything was very uncertain in those days. I personally felt that uncertainty. So, I used that uncertainty as a motivation for something or to make something that will catch me if anything happens to my career,” she recalled.
Not giving up
The coffee shop owner admitted it was difficult to gain customers at first. It was a struggle because her first customers were just friends and family. Then, she would go without customers again. She also had to pause her operations when she tested COVID-19 positive.
But despite it all, Anna didn’t give up. After a month of recuperating, she rented a place near her condo to open her shop. Anne became creative in her marketing and promos.
When her business was already gaining attention, many started asking for partnership. Her friends came in to become co-owners of branches. Anna soon started franchising her coffee business.
Anna helped open the 15th branch of But First, Coffee last December 2021. Out of the 15 branches, 3 of it were owned by Anna while the rest are franchisees.