Is it possible to make millions out of Php 5,000?
If you ask45-year-old Corazon Bautista, her answer would be a resounding “yes.”
In an interview with Entrepreneur, ‘Nanay Cora’ shared the secret to her amazing success. According to her, she initially borrowed five grand fromTulay sa Pag-Unlad Inc.(TSPI), a microfinance institution in their area. The money, which she borrowed in 2008, had a loan term of 6 months. She used the money to start a small business.
“Sinasabi ko sa sarili ko na kapag ako nagkaroon ng puhunan, ‘pag ako binigyan ng pagkakataon, magsasarili na rin ako. Doon na ako nagsimulang mangarap, na sana’y magkaroon na rin ako ng ganitong negosyo,” said Nanay Cora.
(I’ve always told myself that if I had capital, if I get the chance, I would start my own business. That’s when I started to dream of having my own venture.)
Being a skilled seamstress, her natural inclination was to establish a ready-to-wear(RTW) garmentsbusiness. She spent Php 3,000 purchasing cloth and sewing supplies and set aside the Php 2,000 just to make sure she had money to pay off her loan in case her business fails.
Using two sewing machines she bought during her years as a seamstress for various RTW companies, Nanay Cora, along with her husband and son, eventually produced more than a hundred pairs of sexy ladies’ shorts.
She then took her products to the Pasig City public market and and sold them at thenight market.
What happened next was simply beyond her expectations.
The Entrepreneur article tells us:
“As (Nanay Cora) waited for customers in the dark of the night market, a wholesale buyer for a clothing store in Baclaran—she could only identify the man as ‘Buboy Bunal’—walked up to her, examined her merchandise (feeling out the cloth and using a flashlight to examine the shorts’ workmanship), asked how many pairs she was selling, and offered to buy the whole lot if she counted them again.”
In an instant, Nanay Cora got her investment back – and even made a decent profit.
The initial success became a regular thing as she met more middlemen for clothing shops and garment wholesalers. She, however, was wise enough to keep the money untouched.
“A month into our business, I made a deal with my husband and son that we would not use money from our livelihood to buy our food, not even a peso. We agreed we would make ends meet using only my husband’s earnings as a construction worker. We did not think of setting aside money for ourselves because we wanted to be able to buy materials and keep our production going. That was our tactic; if we had no cloth, thread, zippers, or buttons, then our production would stop, and we’d have to wait for sales to buy materials again,” she shared.
In time, Nanay Cora was able to pay her loan and, seeing her noteworthy performance, TSPI gave her the chance to borrow bigger amounts of money ranging from Php 8,000 to Php 10,000.
Eventually, the loan seamstress was able to buy new sewing machines and even hire more people to meet the increasing demand for her products. She now has more than 20 sewing machines and just as much number of employees. Their home now has a second-floor extension where most of the production is done.
Her product line has expanded from shorts to uniforms, corporate attire, and others. Her creations are now being sold in stores and shops such as SM, Market! Market!, 168 Mall, Ever Gotesco Grand Central, and Gaisano.
Upon realizing that some of her products are being exported to Canada and Pakistan, she later decided to form her own brand, Huge Isaac, so she could also penetrate the export market.
Through Nanay Cora’s experience, we learn that with skill and diligence, a small amount of money can indeed lead to good fortune.