P500 and a dream were all it took for startup couple
LUCENA City—Determined to put up a business of their own, couple Angelo and Lorelyn Dimaano gambled their last P500 in 1999 in the purchase of basic materials to announce their entry into local ads streamer business.
“It was the last of our savings, but we still decided to try our luck once more and ventured into streamer ads business. Thank God, we’re not wrong in our decision,” Angelo, 37, tells the Inquirer.
He and his wife, Lorelyn, 34, narrate the ups and downs of their experience as a couple wanting to start a business of their own after several failed ventures.
When he met Lorelyn, Angelo was working as an all-around helper in the arts and advertisement section of a mall here. One of his tasks was to assist in the design and production of streamers.
“But I vowed that after five years with the mall and I’m not getting anywhere, I might as well resign and try my luck as an entrepreneur. I have a family to secure a better future for,” Angelo says as he recalls his decision to leave the mall in 1999.
With their small savings as capital, the aspiring businessman and his wife, both high school graduates, ventured into the sale of fresh fish, pork barbeque and other street food fare in their neighborhood in Lucena City only to realize that their meager profit was just enough for their daily needs.
Angelo also worked as a part-time construction worker and eventually found himself working in a local graphic designs and streamer production shop to help augment the small earnings from their small food business, which they eventually closed after two years.
With the remaining P500 in their pockets, Angelo convinced his wife that they should better make use of the techniques and styles that he learned from his former work at the mall and at the local art shop.
“I also learned from the art shop owner that there is money in the streamer making business. Earning good money a day is quite easy, especially when one has been able to establish regular clients,” he says.
Inspired by the bright prospects of his newfound trade, Angelo bought iron sheets and, with some pieces of wood and leftover paint from the construction site he once worked, he designed an advertising poster for his venture which he christened “Letratext.”
Angelo posted his own ads design with his business name, phone number and shop location on the corner of the main road leading to the subdivision where his parents live.
“My neighbor allowed me to use their phone for call-in queries,” Angelo says.
His first job order was for a streamer lettering which he priced much lower than his established competitors in the city’s downtown area.
“I vowed to myself that if I want to succeed in this field, I must offer my service at the lowest price possible. I’m more than willing to offer my service for free at that time just to be able to secure a deal,” he says with a big laugh.
With the remaining money, Angelo bought textile, small cans of paint and an ordinary Chinese brush to fulfill his first job order.
Over the next four years, his streamer advertisement business grew, according to wife and business partner Lorelyn.
In 2007, the couple acquired modern advertising equipment and ventured into computer design and tarpaulin printing.
For the second time, the couple once more gambled their hard-earned savings from their art shop and purchased a second-hand tarpaulin printer in Manila for a whooping P470,000.
Lorelyn says the money was supposed to be her placement fee for a job in Italy.
“But I backed out at the last minute because I don’t want to leave behind our two growing children. Besides, I have strong belief that the tarpaulin printing business would also turn out well if I stay and help my husband,” she says.
After acquiring the machine capable of printing tarpaulin measuring five feet, and a high-end computer, the couple rented a small space near the Lucena City hall and again started from scratch to make a name in the highly competitive tarpaulin printing business.
To promote their new shop, the operator printed their business name on several tarpaulin sheets which they distributed for free to tricycle drivers plying the city streets to serve as protection from the rain.
With no hired hands, the couple started the tarpaulin printing business on their own.
“My knowledge of computer designing is limited, but I persevered and found ways through the Internet on how to improve my craft,” Lorelyn says.
After an uphill climb, the couple was able to grow their income expand their business. They now maintain several computer units and five tarpaulin printing machines, including a brand-new one that costs P1 million which the couple is now paying on installment.
Letratext maintains three branches in Lucena and another one in Lucban town.
Angelo and Lorelyn attribute their modest success to the quality of their relationship with clients and shop workers.
Also, the couple stresses the importance of dedication and a single-minded focus on one’s goal.
“There should be no distractions. Every minute should be focused on how to achieve the target without prejudice to the interest and welfare of the family and co-workers. Of course, don’t forget to pray for God’s guidance,” Angelo explains.
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