The tart sweetness of dried mangos from Cebu is timeless, classic, and unmistakable—similar to Audrey Regis’ story as a bank employee. For 22 years, Audrey set on her career in finance until something wonderful happened, she became a mother.
At the age of 40, she gave birth to a son that changed her general outlook on life.
“I took the leap of faith to become an entrepreneur when I became a mother at a late age.” It was this change in her life that pushed her to shift gears into becoming an entrepreneur. With part of her savings as her capital, she put her focus on making more out of the popular Cebu delicacy.
As a child, Audrey loves to eat anything with caramel. Her mother sent her to a baking school every summer during high school and she looked forward to all classes, from pastry fundamentals to baking masterclasses. It was a relaxing and financially rewarding passion that soon led her to invest in the food business.
In October 2013, Audrey placed P300,000 as seed money for the business which was part of her separation pay from Citibank.
In her processing site in Mabolo, Cebu she installed a horizontal packing machine, blower tunnel, tempering machine, ban sealer, food processor, and a dual heavy-duty burner that will eventually produce the delectable confectionaries.
“My business started with the thought of answering a demand for product variety in the market. The famous Cebu delicacy needed a twist,” she shares. Like how having a child adds a different flavor to a woman’s life, Audrey created the salted caramel mango products that Audrey’s Confectioneries are now known for. Now they offer four (4) different flavors: classic, cashew, pistachio, and chocolate—effectively making the beloved local fruit more fun and funky.
With help from the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) different seminars, Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) programs, and domestic and international expos, Audrey was able to expand the business and put in additional capital. From selling in one pasalubong center at the Cebu Domestic Airport, Audrey’s Confectioneries is now found in 73 outlets nationwide including groceries like Metro Gaisano, Rustan’s, and Savemore. With the help of a friend, they were also able to put their products up on Amazon in the United States.
“Everything was going smoothly until the pandemic happened. All industries and businesses of different sizes were affected. These kinds of challenges choose no one. “[Right now,] we face the same challenges as [men] in the business world.”
As the entire nation weather with the COVID-19, Audrey continued to battle its impacts with five (5) employees on skeletal workforce. There were four (4) women employees along with a gentleman down from 12 staff to help her keep the business on track.
Audrey emphasized the edge of women and their outlook toward business challenges. “Women are more sensitive to employees’ needs and customer experience,” she says. It allows them to face problems with empathy to get the best outcome for everyone involved.
Despite all the hurdles brought forth by these difficult times, Audrey didn’t let it dampen her creative juices as she introduced a new product under her label, Vegetable Samosa.
Audrey hopes that her leap of faith inspires more people to be fearless and embrace the changes in life. “I was told that I inspired other employees to take [chances] to become business owners as well […] I was 42 years old and one can never be too old to make that change in life,” she concludes. From raising a child to bringing a brainchild to life, she shows that age truly is just a number.♦
Date of Release: 15 October 2020