They often say that venturing into business is not for the faint-hearted. You will face disappointments and failures, and only those who are determined enough to keep going will often succeed. For Jerson and Mary Grace Manabit, grit and perseverance were essential ingredients in their recipe for success. In their journey, we’ll be motivated by how they started from scratch, failed a lot along the way, but persisted until they realized their dreams.
The couple spent 10 years working at Jollibee before they decided to venture into entrepreneurship. They started by selling eggs and rice (bigasan) at a rented stall. This turned out to be their first challenge and a valuable business lesson. Because they started without enough capital, they drowned in debt and had to sell Jerson’s hard-earned car.
Determined to succeed, the couple became agents, selling house and lots, insurance, and more. Mary Grace wrote in a Facebook post, “Dito nasukat ang kagustuhan naming matupad pangarap namin, kung ano dapat ang ugali ng isang negosyante.” [These tested our determination to achieve our dreams and what it takes to become an entrepreneur.]
The couple ventured into the cosmetic and skincare business, selling Dr. Alvin’s Skincare Products. They opened a small stall, and luck finally came as they were earning almost P20,000 daily. Soon, they had 3 parlors, 3 “bigasan”, and 5 beauty product stores. Everything was fine until Dr. Alvin’s stopped producing their products, and everything fell apart. They were deep in debt again and started closing some of their businesses.
Jerson and Mary Grace tried their luck once more and flew to Manila to borrow P400,000 and launch their cosmetics company, “Ageless Beauty.” While introducing a new product proved to be a challenge, it didn’t stop them from working hard until success was finally on their side again.
The pandemic was both a challenge and an opportunity for them. It pushed them to make their own beauty soaps and products instead of rebranding. This proved to be a success and led them to open their cosmetic manufacturing plant. After all the struggles they went through, they finally realized their dreams. They secured their permits and licenses, had numerous dealers and resellers, and even opened a pharmacy. They went from being in debt to owning 5 houses, 4 farm lots, 7 vehicles, and more.
According to Mary Grace, there’s no shortcut to success, and you should pay off debts to avoid karma. She said, “Wala pong overnight success, ang lahat po ay tinatrabaho, pinagpapawisan, iniiyakan, pinupuyatan at higit sa lahat huwag kalimutang magbayad ng utang.” [There’s no such thing as overnight success. Everything is done with hard work, sweat, tears, and sleepless nights. Importantly, you should learn to pay your debts.]
She recalled how their trials and failures had led to their success. “Ang dati cashier ngayon ay isa ng CEO ng sarili nyang kumpanya at ang dating tagapunas ng lamesa ngayon ay isa ng may-ari ng sikat na brand,” she said. [The former cashier is now the CEO of their own company, and the crew who wiped tables is now an owner of a popular brand.]
Building a successful business takes time, energy, and dedication, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. So savor the ups and downs and stay focused on your goals. Good luck!