In the midst of the global pandemic, when businesses were grappling with challenges, a unique venture emerged as a beacon of hope and resilience. KSC Online Shop from the picturesque town of Cavinti, specializing in the sale of exquisite pandan handicrafts and the introduction of mushroom chips, not only weathered the storm but thrived, bringing locally crafted goods to national audience. Ms. Marisol Miras then taught to create an online store that would showcase and sell these unique products given the inspiration of the rich heritage and craftsmanship of her community.

Starting a business after resigning from a bus company due to the pandemic can be a challenging yet potentially rewarding venture. The decision of Marisol to establish a new business was driven by adapting to the changing economic landscape and her eagerness to promote traditional crafts and support the local weavers from Cavinti. Aside from other products that she sells, the shop focused on combining traditional craftsmanship with modern culinary delights. Pandan, a versatile and eco-friendly material, was transformed into a range of beautiful products, including baskets, hats, bags, boxes and place mats. Also, KSC’s mushroom chips gained popularity for their distinct flavors and health benefits appealing to health-conscious consumers looking for tasty alternatives.

However, starting a business from scratch was no easy feat. KSC faced various challenges, from perfecting her products to creating appealing packaging and labeling and also in promoting and showcasing the uniqueness of her products to engage more potential customers from the competitive market.

The Laguna Provincial Office of the Department of Trade and Industry, recognizing the potential of KSC’s venture, offered assistance in its product development through the One Town, One Product Next Generation Program. Marisol was linked with designers for new product concepts and packaging and labelling assistance to enhance the quality of her pandan handicrafts and mushroom chips. She was provided with invaluable guidance, helping her create eye-catching designs that not only stood out on the shelves but also communicated the story behind each product.

KSC Online Shop also had the opportunity to introduce her products to a wider market through trade fair organized by the Department. DTI assisted her in securing a spot for her booth at trade exhibition and provided additional promotional assistance.  The pandan handicrafts, meticulously arranged, caught the eye of passersby with their intricate designs and earthy colors while the freshly cooked mushroom chips tempting fair-goers to sample its unique flavor. Marisol found herself engaging with curious visitors and other trade fair delegates, sharing the story of her business and the cultural significance of each handcrafted item. The mushroom chips, too, drew crowds eager to experience the delicious combination of local flavors.

Marisol felt a deep sense of joy knowing that she was not only preserving a traditional art form but also empowering her community. She knew that there was something more that she could do. She envisioned that the business’ demand for their handicrafts and mushroom chips will grow, and she will be able to help more local weavers. She dreamt of establishing a dedicated production area of mushroom products with modern equipment and hire more pandan weavers with a supportive environment that would enhance their skills and efficiency. KSC Online Shop’s journey from a pandemic-born startup to a growing online enterprise is a testament to the power of creativity, collaboration, and community support. As they continue to blend the old and the new, KSC stands as an example of how businesses can thrive by embracing change and explore innovative avenues in the challenging business landscape created by the pandemic. ♦

Date of release: 3 January 2024