[Executive Edge] The mompreneur behind Candy Corner
When most Filipinos think of candy, the first thing that comes to mind is not usually business opportunity.
Yet that’s exactly what Bubu Andres saw in candy in 1996, becoming Candy Corner, which is now ubiquitous in most malls.
She had sought out to bring some of her favorite candies that were not already available in the Philippines into the country. “In addition, the pick and mix concept was a new trend abroad and we felt the Filipinos would love it so we replicated it here!” Andres said.
Successes and challenges
The first challenge was getting more spaces in the right locations. “Because candies are cheap, we need the foot traffic to get the volume, and the purchasing power, of course,” she said, and rental rates have always been expensive.
A related challenge – and what Andres calls her biggest – was scale. She could not import candy by air (with the heaviness of candy and the cost of freight per kilo, her prices would have to triple), nor send them via door to door in smaller volumes.
Andres and the Candy Corner team instead had to bring them in by the container loads and that they would need the demand to do so, all within the shelf life of candy. As a result, Candy Corner is both the retail brand that you see in malls as well as a distribution arm that delivers to other vendors.
“It’s the only way we can bring volume to our business yet maintain a level of excitement and exclusivity in the products we carry,” she said.
Thus the standard candies and chocolates are distributed to groceries, supermarkets, mass market chains, and other retail outlets, while the more novel and fun products and flavors are sold at Candy Corner.
Mompreneur at work
Perhaps what is most impressive about Andres’ success is that she achieved it as a mother of 3 children.
While Andres said that her family life and children always came first, she would never had been able to successfully handle her business had she not passed on the right values to them.
“If they need me all the time, I’ll not be able to successfully juggle work and family, so I taught them independence at a very young age,” Andres said. She gave them lessons on everything from how to pack when traveling to the importance of diligence when it comes to academics.
As a mompreneur, Andres also had the support of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), one of the most renowned organizations for business leaders in the world.
“While it is primarily a business organization, the peer-to-peer support and networking helps us become more effective in business and thus, have a more balanced, more fulfilled life,” she said.
Through EO’s forum, you have a permanent board of directors, or forummates. “We listen to others’ experiences, learn the lessons, then apply them to our own situations and make smarter decisions,” Andres said. The protocol also requires forummates to speak only from experience and never give “you should’s.”
Andres has been with her forum for 14 years, and together they have celebrated many milestones together. Through her involvement in EO, she hopes to show her fellow female entrepreneurs that it is possible to successfully balance different aspects of your life.
“I’m an entrepreneurial mom,” she said. “I’m still happily married, and Ricky and I raised 3 wonderful kids while being internationally active in EO.”
Andres is always open to giving other female entrepreneurs her advice, which fittingly relates to both family life and business life.
For those starting out, she recommended closely saving the profits from their business for the first 10 years.
“Control the urge to buy anything nice,” Andres elaborated. “Your friends will do it but don’t feel the pressure. After 10 years, you can buy anything you want and the sacrifice will be worth it.”
She also advised mompreneurs of young children to not feel guilty if they are working hard on some days and they do not have enough time for their kids. “The key is work as hard as you can while they are below 10 years old, but make sure you are there for the big moments and be fully present when with them,” she advised.
Andres’ strategy essentially comes down to front-loading your work with your business so you are freer later. “Once they hit their teens, they will need you more and you will feel it,” she said. “Business will have to go around your family schedule.”
Andres also feels that teaching children is done for the sole purpose of making them assets in society and making their parents proud.
“Once they find their place in this world and are able to make a difference in their own center of influence, our work as parents is done,” she said. – Rappler.com
Rappler Business columnist Ezra Ferraz is also the chief content officer at ZipMatch, a tech company backed by Ideaspace Foundation, Hatchd Digital, IMJ Investment Partners, and 500 Startups. He brings you Philippine business leaders, their insights, and their secrets via Executive Edge. Connect with him on Twitter: @EzraFerraz