in photo: Nanay Yolly, with Negosyo Center business counsellor.

“Do good and good things will follow.” Yolanda’s Homemade, a start-up home business of Mrs. Yolanda Dela Torre, also known as “Nay Yolly” is continuously achieving success and creating remarkable contributions to the community by showing support to other businesses and local tourism. This tells a heartfelt story of an ordinary mother who manages to overcome life challenges by doing something productive and purposeful.

Nay Yolly is 65 years old, a housewife and mother to her five children. She used to weave and create handcrafted pandan products which is a prominent skill and livelihood of local women in the municipality of Luisiana, Laguna. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, she was constantly being admitted to the hospital due to health risks of diabetes which resulted to both physical and mental stress. In the hope for diverting her attention, she focused on making her original suka recipe and shared it to her family, relatives, and her son’s co-workers.

It was then during a Christmas gift-giving event in Jairus’ workplace (his son’s) wherein Jairus wanted to give something unique and personalized, he requested Nay Yolly to make her recipe specifically for the said event. They purchased bottles online and designed it with some ribbons to look presentable. Fortunately, Jairus co-workers all loved it and requested for a purchase of this product in which they had no plans of considering it as a profitable business. Later on, they started receiving inquiries and orders online through their personal Facebook account.

in photo: Yolanda's homemade vinegar.

In 2021, they decided to officially start a home business located at Banahaw St., Barangay San Buenaventura, Luisiana, Laguna, and registered it as Yolanda’s Vinegar Trading. Initially, their target market involves working individuals outside Laguna who prioritize convenience, quality and enjoyable experience with their ultimate sukang sawsawan. “Maasim, manamis-namis at maanghang,” this is how people who get to try their suka react after tasting it. Moving toward establishing brand awareness, they utilize social media, primarily the Facebook page and Instagram, to earn followers and attract potential customers. They thought of using Nay Yolly as its name to create a home-like brand image generating good and positive vibes that audience would want to dwell in. In addition to, behind its social media and brand image is a team which consists of family members who have different assigned tasks to properly manage business operations such as social media posting and management, creating visual graphics, responding to online orders and inquiries and producing high quality products.

However, according to them, beginning was always the hardest. They encountered challenges such as inflation, which they did not have any control over. Although the cost of goods used for production increased, they still prioritized the quality of the product. Weather conditions have also affected its operations due to delays in deliveries but despite these challenges, they kept working toward growth and development.

In 2022, the Department of Trade and Industry Laguna Provincial Office (DTI-Laguna) screened Nay Yolly and showed unwavering support to Yolanda’s Homemade Vinegar through its One Town, One Product Next Gen Program 2022. As one of the program beneficiaries, they have acquired new knowledge through training, product development and referrals to improve product quality and design.

As they continue pursuing product promotion and development, they become active participants and sponsors of local trade fairs in Laguna such as in Luisiana October Fest 2022, Pandanan Festival, and Laguna’s colorful and festive Anilag Festival 2023. Moreover, they get to be invited by DTI-Laguna for Pagsanjan Bangkero Festival 2023 and Likhang Laguna Trade Fair at Venice Grand Canal Mall, McKinley Hill in Taguig City. Modification on packaging and labeling was conducted and majorly contributed to the existing and now IPOPHL-registered trademark of Nay Yolly’s business — Yolanda’s Homemade. They now offer not just vinegar but a wide variety of homemade food products like sapin-sapin and ube-yema biko.

Nay Yolly and Jairus expressed appreciation and gratitude to DTI-Laguna’s hands-on guidance and assistance to their business, from product development, seminars and trade fairs to business name and IPOPHL (Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines) trademark registration.

Furthermore, as part of their advocacy and marketing strategy, Nay Yolly becomes a blog-like page which features different business establishments in Luisiana and nearby areas such as Lucban, Cavinti, Caliraya and Pagsanjan. It aims to achieve a goal, an effective promotion of their own brand and others’, to show support especially to start-ups which leads to a higher chance of getting viewed by each other’s audiences. They get to share an authentic and delightful experience with followers through real-time post and on-site visits which also keep them entertained and informed with newly discovered products and places. Through this, they are able to receive more inquiries and social media engagements as well as promote local tourism.

The best example was a post by Nay Yolly during the soft opening event of Pilgrims Dream Ecofarm and Resorts Inc. in April 2022 which generated 158,131 impressions and reached 133,828 people. Also, another advocacy of Nay Yolly is to support local farmers and weavers by purchasing crops used for production and handwoven bags customized for product packaging. This resulted to a better and purposeful outcome that everyone involved may benefit from. They also take into consideration to keep establishing connections with other business owners through distribution, reselling and consignment agreements in which their products are displayed and sold in stores.

Customers may purchase Yolanda’s Homemade Vinegar at OTOP Hub Luisiana operated by Brics Ventures (one of Laguna OTOP Hubs located in Luisiana) and at St. Luis Farmers Pasalubong Store is both located in Luisiana and Calle Arco in Pagsanjan. For bulk and advance orders, you may inquire through Facebook Page.

Nay Yolly’s journey doesn’t just stop there. As part of their future plan, they also want customers to reach them and purchase their products through other e-commerce platforms like Shopee and Lazada and physical stores like supermarkets. They also want to establish their own café and pasalubong store and, most importantly, make it officially registered in the Food and Drug Administration.

Throughout the years of business operation, Yolanda’s Homemade received various achievements and recognition. It was awarded during the 19th QAsia Quality Excellence Award 2021 for Best Homemade Gourmet Vinegar and got featured on GTV’s Biyahe ni Drew aired in 2022. However, these are just additional blessings since they started it for one good purpose and that is for Nay Yolly to divert her attention and make herself busy. They consider it as their greatest achievement, and she undergoes only regular check-ups and takes necessary medicines. Together with Yolanda’s Homemade’s success, Nay Yolly has become healthier and more productive, spreading goodness and sharing blessings to the local community. ♦

Date of Release: 31 August 2023