Clarita Luber was a certified public accountant for most of her professional life. Retiring as a banker after working for 29 years, Clarita wanted to share the bounty she had accumulated. In 2007, she, along with some friends, decided to establish the Life Source Multi-Purpose Cooperative to help the local community in barangay Mauway, Mandaluyong City.
Life Source, an affiliate of Cooperative Union of Mandaluyong City (CUMC) first dabbled in microfinancing, but Clarita and her associates realized that it was not sustainable. They lost a lot of money due to unrecovered costs from the loans.
The cooperative needed a different business model to make a real impact on their community.
It was then that they had the idea to concoct a herbal supplement syrup to produce and sell—the Best Life Mixed Herbs Syrup.
To produce the syrup they established their manufacturing site in Baranggay Ibaba, Malabon City, and invested P675,000 with a screw-type juice extractor, double-jacketed pasteurizing machine, and gravity refilling machine.
Their vital herbs ingredients such as a blend of apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger, honey, lemon, and turmeric – known as nature’s body cleansing agents as anti-oxidants and detoxifiers are bought in Divisoria, Manila.
Lifesource has one regular employee and four on-call, three of which are female.
With some advice from a few government units, they were able to finalize the formulation of their product, receive their Food and Drug Administration (FDA) License to Operate, and get their product’s registration in November 2016.
Getting the approval of the FDA is one of the most difficult tasks that LifeSource encountered. Their present hurdle is how to penetrate their product in the market.
They do direct selling and, at the same time, have their products displayed at the Department of Agriculture showroom and the Filipino Inventors Society Cooperative. They also sell their products at their office located at 751 Nueve de Pebrero, Brgy Mauway, Mandaluyong City.
From this, their mission to uplift the community began to take hold. The approvals greenlit the mass production of their herbal concoction. They began employing willing cooperative members for the production and encouraged them to do direct selling to bolster their income.
Clarita was a graduate of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Kapatid Mentor ME program (KMME) in 2017. With DTI’s assistance, Life Source began reaching a wider market range. They were able to sell their products in the agency’s regional and national trade fairs.
Lifesource sales started at P400,000 per annum and grew to P1.2M last year. However, with the pandemic, Life Source has no production and no sales from March to July 2020. With big hopes, they bounce back to life in August.
For Life Source, a minor bump will not stall them, they are even undertaking research and development to come up with new products for the market.
Their story from inception to market-readiness was all because a woman dared to bring her advocacy to life. “Most women tend to be more compassionate,” according to Clarita. She used this compassion in dealing with Life Source’s suppliers, customers, and members. It has allowed them to build good relationships and help more people. “There are easy and hard challenges, but with the determination to succeed and help others, and with a lot of teamwork, life becomes easier,” Clarita shares. She tells other aspiring women entrepreneurs, “Dream, act, and achieve your goals. Our government agencies are willing and ready to help us from the business’ start until you’ve reached your desired vision.”♦
Date of Release: 24 November 2020