Juliet Herrera and her then-boyfriend, Peter Chen were fresh from college when they decided to venture into business.
Even without any experience, the couple was not discouraged to get into business. At that time, milk teas weren’t popular yet. Juliet and Peter had to find their way into introducing and marketing milk tea as an alternative to coffee.
13 years later, their brand Serenitea is one of the most popular homegrown milk tea brands with branches all over the country. The couple shared some business tips with Esquire.
Here Are Some Business Tips From Serenitea Co-Founder Juliet Herrera-Chen:
Juliet recalled how difficult their first few months were. They didn’t have enough sales and they kept on borrowing money to keep their business alive. But instead of being disheartened, they persevered and worked hard.
“Nalugi kami ng ilang months. Dumating sa point na we kept borrowing money from our parents to sustain the business.”
“Akala namin magsasarado na kami. Wala na kami pambayad ng rent noon, pero nung kumalat siya by word of mouth through the help of the bloggers, doon kami nabuhay,” she said.
2. Test and Improve
Juliet shared how important it is to seek feedback about your product. You should test and validate how good your product is. It’s good that you trust and believe in your product, but your customers should like it too.
The entrepreneur recalled how they improved their milk teas based on the feedback of her officemates.
“Wala ako formal background sa pagtayo ng business so pinatikman ko muna sa mga katrabaho ko kung magugustuhan nila yung drinks namin kasi from coffee to milk tea, medyo bago sa panlasa nila,” she said.
“You know how Filipinos like sweet, so ginawa ni husband ni-improve niya, pinatamis niya to make sure na pasok siya sa panlasa ng Pinoy,” she added.
3. Have A Supportive Business Partner
They say don’t mix business with pleasure. But according to Juliet, she feels lucky that her business partner is her then-boyfriend now-husband.
She said working together as a team is important when you have a business partner. While it’s normal to have conflicting opinions in business, they don’t take things personally. They take it as an opportunity to grow.
“I am very blessed to have a partner na parehas kami ng goals sa life and business. It is also normal that sometimes we criticize each other’s ideas but, for me, nothing is personal. I know it’s for our own growth naman. Hindi rin kasi okay yung masyadong matampuhin. To me, that’s nonsense,” she said.