in photo: Jyh Anne Online Shop owner

When faced with trepidations, nothing beats a woman — a whole lot can attest to that. COVID-19 pandemic has brought all the negative things an individual can endure. But for a breadwinner who has dreams and mouths to feed, giving up was not an option, not even the least.

Mary Anne Cuaterno opted to start an online business last 2018, selling ready to wear clothing while working as a cashier at a restaurant in Manila. In 2019, she had stopped her online business because of the demands of her job. Obliging to straight shifts just to deliver her duties in the restaurant and earning enough to sustain her family’s needs. Without a father to guide them, she had fill in his shoes to support her mother and younger siblings. After almost three years of hard work, she got promoted last year as a restaurant supervisor, but then the pandemic happened. Restaurant operations stopped and forced her to come back home in Paete, Laguna.

The pandemic outbreak had brought unexpected difficulties and adjustments in her life. She chose to see things in comparison with a half glass full. She found opportunities rather than treat is a barrier and cry herself to sleep. She revived her online business and worked day and night to have enough money for her family to get by every single day. During her stay in Paete, she browsed the internet to participate in different webinars she could find about online selling for free. As luck would have it she saw a webinar about eCommerce and sought the help of the Business Counselor of Negosyo Center Cavinti. She was able to attend Digital Marketing, a timely topic for her business. She also participated in Bookkeeping, Business Costing, Salesmanship Strategies, Negotiation Skills, and Taxation even if she hates math as she honestly points out. Soon enough, she also registered her business under the name Jyh Anne Online Shop.

Without knowing when she’ll be back to work in Manila, she needed a contingency plan. She started selling native delicacies, cakes, meriendas, any kind that they can cook or whatever ingredient is available in the market. She sold almost anything that they can come up with to earn enough to pay the bills and pay future school fees of her younger sibling. Seeing that she has a lot of competitors with food and almost everyone was into online selling, she decided to drop the food business and venture into beauty products. She is doing most of her transactions online using Facebook posting one product after another. Using the things she learned from DTI Laguna webinars she also put her online shop on Shopee under the name Sis.Co, collaborating with her younger sister and other online sellers. Being a product user herself, this had helped her sell more than expected and paved the way for her to earn a certificate as a product reseller. Clients flocked their social media page and began offering delivery services because of the growing demand.

in photo: Sis.Co Shopee Shop

For nearly half a year, she had been able to reap the fruits of their labor just from online selling, thanking DTI Laguna for the free webinars and opportunities for growth. She had managed to keep food to the table, bicycles for delivery and for recreational purposes, new appliances, a new sala set for her family to enjoy some quality videoke time and fill their almost empty house and most importantly pay the utilities. Not only that, she got engaged, got married and was able to go back to Manila to work in the restaurant last month. For now she manages both the restaurant and her online shop.

“Just keep believing, be positive kahit mahirap and have faith in God, sa business dapat tulungan ‘wag hilahan..”

This year had brought a lot of struggles and and unexpected blessings for Mary Anne. One of her dreams is to have her own café in Paete with her serving their own gourmet items. She also aspires to put a decent physical store for her beauty shop so her clients can be well accommodated. Sure it will take time but when one perseveres and possesses faith in God, nothing is impossible. Her goal was for her family to survive, especially this pandemic, but she did way better than expected and this only proves that you can do better when you dream. ♦

Date of Release: 13 January 2022