SM mompreneurs and their secrets to success

Mompreneur, or “momtrepreneurs,” is a slang term describing women who run their businesses while also acting as full-time parents, thus the word is the combination of “mom” and “entrepreneur”.

Meet the four women who are recognized for their exemplary roles of raising their families and tending to their businesses yet still manage to do them with flying colors.

Windy Ongsingco of Señorita de Bacolod

Windy Ongsingco of Señorita de Bacolod

This business of bringing nostalgic moments through classic and freshly made artisanal Negrense desserts is carefully guarded by Windy Ongsingco of Señorita de Bacolod which is located in SM Bacolod.

Not only does she keeps the family’s culinary legacy, but also provides livelihood to their team during these trying times and serves as a key contributor to the local baking industry. Bacolod is, after all, the Dessert Capital of the Philippines.

Challenges. Running a business has its challenges. For Ongsingco, it was training the staff to ensure that goodies are prepared the traditional way and also safety measures during the pandemic.

“We were able to cope by making sound financial decisions and focusing on our core strengths. We also expanded our Señorita line by adding flavored fillings while reaching out to our fans all over Bacolod by opening new outlets for their convenience,” she added.

She also credits their success to SM. As a premier mall in the country, SM has expanded its branch’s reach. “Observing how SM manages its mall operations is also similar to how I manage life as a mother and entrepreneur. May it be offering the general public and my family unparalleled service, good food, and genuine care,” she explained.

She is also a hands-on mother while her son was growing up. Now that he is a teenager, she gives him the freedom to decide for himself. “It was good in a way since it hastened his maturity and I feel lucky that he enjoys helping out our business prosper”, she says.

“An ideal mother should be someone who can gain the respect of not only her husband, son, or any family member but of other people.”

Mia Robles-Ng of Breakthrough Restaurant

Mia Robles-Ng of Breakthrough Restaurant

When in Iloilo, trying the delicious cuisine of the place is a must and one of these go-to places is Breakthrough Restaurant which has a branch in SM City Iloilo.

The person who currently handles the business is Mia Robles-Ng.

“Breakthrough Restaurant is a brainchild of my parents, Munding and Daday Robles. It started as a small, turo-turo style eatery serving home-cooked food and off-the grill-seafoods. Mr. Robles was not a fan of advertising before, so he didn’t pay for any ad. Where Breakthrough is now is a result of hard work, ‘pag-amuma’ sa customer, fresh food, and just word of mouth from our patrons and friends,” Mia shared.

She narrated that before her parents ventured into the restaurant business, Mr. Robles was into the fish culture/fish farming business and her mother was an HRM graduate. They decided to “join forces”, so Breakthrough Restaurant was born. Pioneering in the Sinugba nga Managat, the delicious fish was presumed as pest before, but Mr. Robles as a fish enthusiast knows that the meat of the Managat is really tasty. 

Mia reveals that partnering with SM is a value-added factor. “It helped us reach more customers since Ilonggos love SM.”

As the business grew, Mia and her family made sure that their employees are part of its growth. “It feels nice to give livelihood to people too. Now, we have a scholarship program that benefits the exceptional children of our employees.”

Adapting to the new normal during the pandemic is a challenge, but with their business experience, Mia made sure that they cope. “It’s our first time to do delivery service. Honestly, our food is best eaten dine-in and or fresh off the grill, but we have to adapt.” 

Mia revealed that they used different mediums like telemarketing and social media to remind people that they are still operating. Their waiters became their delivery riders now.

Mia Robles-Ng says that SM has been generous by giving a discounted rental rate. “It helped us cope during these times.”

If there are things to learn with this whole experience, Mia has this to say: “Social media is key because everyone’s on their phones. They will try whenever they see something yummy. But to have repeat customers, you have to make good on your promise that your food is good. Don’t just be Instagramable!”

Apart from the business, motherhood keeps Mia busy. “As a mother, sometimes I think I am at my best, and sometimes I feel I am not good enough. I always want the best for my kids.  Motherhood is a journey, I haven’t mastered it, and that I need to be kind to myself too. To remind me to trust my instincts and just “you do you”.

“A mother is a home – where you feel safe and loved. Nurturing, encouraging, and where you can be yourself.”

Dana Marie Dizon of Sabie Cakes

Dana Marie Dizon of Sabie Bakes

Dana Marie Dizon started Sabie Cakes – maker of designer cakes, cupcakes, and pastries – when she had her child Sabie. “During that time, I had plans to go back to my previous job but God had other plans for me and my family.” 

This mompreneur is living proof to the title as she shares that she had to balance her schedule for baking and tending to Sabie’s needs.

When she was starting the business she said that she lacked confidence. “I studied more and learned. I never stop pushing myself to be a better baker and artist. I also had a great support system. My husband and family were there to lend a hand with my supervision. Breastfeeding, of course, was something I could not delegate.”
 
According to Dizon, SM played a major role in her business’ success. “A lot of people have gotten to know us through our store in SM City Puerto Princesa.”
 
SM has also imparted to Sabie Bakes the importance of branding. Dizon said it is important to believe in your product and what it stands for. A brand does not stop in the product itself but the person behind it and how it is made.
 
It seems that Dizon’s supermom attributes have been an important factor in Sabie Bakes’ delicious offerings. “I recognize my kids’ differences and adjust to what they need. I could be the think tank that my son needs for his daily hundred questions. I could also be my daughter’s coloring and crafts partner when she likes to do art. I am flexible, I push and support their possibilities as individuals. I recognize my imperfections and I work hard to be better and be the best mom I could be.” 

Wilda Wuthrich Usi of Sue’s Cake Gallery

Sue’s Cake Gallery is a household name in Iloilo. The brand is synonymous with delicious and great-tasting cakes. Customers continue to look forward to the new flavors and trendy designs that they offer. And the woman behind it is Wilda Wutrich Usi (featured photo).

“I always say that having this business has been providential. It was God’s way of being faithful to those who have been faithful to Him,” Wilda shared. The cakeshop was an acquired business from its original owners in 2011. She revealed that she was their only choice to give the business to because they recognized her creativity. “I am a CPA, but at that time, I was engaged in my home-based handcrafted accessories business. That is how they saw my gift for artistry.”

Usi shared that she was drawn to this business where her passion for the arts can be expressed into something that people will enjoy. Hence the cake shop’s tagline “We put a smile on every occasion”.

Usi is thankful to SM City Iloilo for the reprieve and revision of their lease payment because this helped them survive the pandemic. “SM City Iloilo also spearheaded innovative ways to reach out to shoppers online. We enrolled in their delivery services,” she said.

The success of the business did not only benefit the family but their staff as well. “The continuous growth of the business made my employees feel secure with their jobs. I can give them more benefits and perks. I believe that people are the greatest assets of any business enterprise. So as the business grows, I also take pride in knowing that my employees feel proud as I have seen their lot in life improved.”

Sue’s Cake Gallery is also faced with challenges during the pandemic but this did not hinder Usi’s creative side.

“We took the opportunity to develop affordable product lines. We also aligned our employees in a win-win arrangement that would both benefit them and the company, just so both parties can continue to survive. We implemented flexible working arrangements,” she explained.

As an SME and a local entrepreneur, Usi shares her top 3 valuable learnings from the pandemic:

First, a mindset of starting a new business. “Having a fresh mindset was able to make us focus on the things we need to prioritize based on the present situation. It was difficult at first but it worked to our advantage in the long run,” Usi explained.

Next, a clear focus on what needs to be accomplished. “In our Business Continuity Plan, we are looking at this time until December to just survive, to get the operations humming, and making changes to adapt to the new normal. After which, we will re-assess our business condition and make the necessary adjustments and possible hard calls and decisions if so warranted,” she said.

Then, prepare for the future. “They say that preparation is key. I need to prepare my business for a future crisis, intensify online presence, and build financial resiliency to achieve business continuity,” she said.

Apart from being a businesswoman, Usi is also a mom. “As a mother, I have embraced the meaning of selfless love early on. I quit my promising career and gave my time and attention to my special child, Francine, who was diagnosed to have cerebral palsy and autism. With two more children after her, Abby and EJ, I have learned how to manage and balance my time, making sure that my spiritual life and physical well-being are not neglected. I want to give the best of myself to my children, not what is left of me at the end of a tiring day. I am not pesky when it comes to the academic achievements of my children as I believe that what is more important is that they grow with the proper moral values and strong faith in God. Seeing them become responsible members of the society is enough reward for all the sacrifices I have made,” she said.

Usi also looks up to her mother, the brightest light in her darkest moments, her greatest supporter in all my endeavors, and her best friend through thick and thin. “She is the most reliable and constant thing in my life, especially when I feel lost. Her love has made me strive to become the best version of myself and this is also what I aspire my children to become.”/

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