Success does not happen overnight, neither is it guaranteed after a single attempt. Truth be told, the road to achieving success is often marked with delays and reroutes, but with a promising reward for people who work hard and persevere. Cherry Mendoza, the owner of Moolk Cream-ery Corp, chooses to walk this path with much gratitude and enthusiasm.
Exposed to business from a young age, Cherry has always been fascinated with the countless rewards that it could bring, especially in growing her character, skills, and network. “I really see my world in business, grabbing every opportunity that comes my way because I know that this is God’s blessing. I don’t want to take that for granted,” she shares.
Cherry started as a poultry contract grower in 2004 and used her father’s farm in Baras, Rizal as her production center. While starting a family with her husband, Cherry initiated the project by borrowing half a million pesos from her father and hiring 14 employees to jumpstart the business.
For Cherry, investing her heart and soul in the business is worth it. Starting as a contract grower, she recalls how she would take every chance to learn the ropes of the poultry business.
However, she is not content with only a poultry industry, she wanted more.
With farmlands available, she, together with her husband decided to engage in cow farming in 2014 and dairy processing in 2017. Initially, she invested P350,000 and hired 12 additional workers for this endeavor.
Cherry attended all the training programs offered by the National Dairy Authority to gain additional knowledge in the milk business.
These programs were the initials building blocks that made Moolk Creamery Corp to what it is today. However, like all businesses, it is not without its challenges.
The brand name Moolk is coined by Cherry’s eldest daughter, with the first two syllables resembling the sound of the “cow” and the last syllable a contraction of the word “Milk”. It was so named to remind them that they are selling cow’s milk which is easy to remember. Thus, every time Cherry tells the story behind the brand name and make the ‘moo’ sound, she does not fail to make children laugh or smile. She also hopes that their products bring smiles to their customers.
Establishing a dairy business in the country has many challenges such as the importation of milk-producing animals, providing adequate forage or grazing grounds, adaptability of the cows to the tropical climate, and the low demand for organic fresh milk in the local market.
Cherry said that their business has a grass to glass concept, meaning that they care for the herds and ensure their pasture is always fresh. They harvest the milk twice daily via a milking parlor
and process this is in the same area to prevent spoilage from transportation and unsanitized handling.
Customer order-taking is done in advance and products are delivered within or the following day right on the customer’s doorstep to ensure freshness and longer shelf life.
To expand their marketing reach in the ever-changing business landscape, Moolk tapped different resellers and online platforms such as Lazada, Supplya, Ekadiwa, Buyanihan, Uproot, etc. While exploring the digital marketplace, Moolk also sells on a weekend in leading malls around Metro Manila.
When asked about handling these difficulties as a woman entrepreneur, Cherry was resolute in her answer: “A challenge is a challenge. But I don’t think I’m at an advantage or disadvantage because of my gender…In the end, our determination and tenacity to face challenges are what will charge us to go further.” True enough, she kept moving forward.
With determination, tenacity, and the right training, Cherry was able to go further and establish Moolk Creamery Corp. Cherry cited the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) and One Town One Product (OTOP) programs in promoting the business, giving exposure to a wider network, and increasing brand recognition in the market.
What makes her dairy success even ‘sweeter’ are the opportunities created for women through this livelihood. At Moolk Creamery Corp, management and processing departments are being run by women–the latter comprising of the wives of their poultry farmers. As Cherry puts it, recognizing the value of women in the workplace creates opportunities. By moving beyond the gender barrier and championing women in the workplace, people’s support is gathered.
While the paths to success may look different for everyone, Cherry has a piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who may need an extra push to keep moving forward: “Just do it! It’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them. This is not a short sprint but a marathon. You owe it to yourself to do your best and unlock the full potential that God has given you.”♦
Date of Release: 1 October 2020