Yvonne Dale Buenconsejo, a 35 year-old devoted mother of three from the emerging town of Dalaguete, Cebu, cherishes the tranquil mornings spent savoring a cup of coffee with her husband. Their ritual of sharing this precious time at 5 a.m., dubbed “babe time,” became a cherished relationship goal. One particular morning, as they relished their coffee on the terrace, they noticed locals passing by on their way to the seawall for their morning routines. This sparked a small idea: “Why not offer early-morning coffee to the community?”

After over a month of careful planning, they launched a pop-up coffee stand, initially offering only pour-over coffee, with Yvonne’s husband serving as the barista on a motorcycle in the town’s plaza. Handling most tasks himself, Yvonne’s husband juggled responsibilities while she cared for their three children—an infant, a toddler, and a grade-schooler.

Their idea resonated with the community, attracting individuals engaged in morning routines. Within a few months, visitors extended beyond the town, drawing people from nearby areas. Responding to the growing demand, they expanded their offerings to include iced coffee, bottled coffee, and frappes. Six months later, they opened a physical store with umbrellas for dine-in customers. Over time, they transformed the café into a cozy space, offering a variety of cakes, cupcakes, and croissants.

However, the transition to a physical store brought new challenges, including the need for more manpower, equipment, and furniture. Human resource management became particularly demanding.

Invited by the Negosyo Business Counsellor in Dalaguete, Yvonne participated in a Simple Bookkeeping Seminar in September 2022, discovering various programs offered by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). She joined the OTOP ACT program in December 2022 and became one of the mentees in the KMME program nearly a year later. Yvonne found the DTI Kapatid Mentor Me-Money Market Encounter (KMME-ME) program transformative, profoundly shaping her mindset in managing both the business and her team.

Throughout the KMME program, Yvonne gained valuable insights into entrepreneurial mindset, accounting and finance principles, human resource management, and business plan enhancement. The mentors she encountered served as a source of inspiration, fostering personal growth in both entrepreneurial and individual capacities. The program shifted her approach to business challenges, reframing them as opportunities for growth.

Realizing that entrepreneurship was their true calling, Yvonne and her husband were empowered to not only enhance their business but also remain actively involved in their children’s lives. Recognizing the importance of collaboration, they continued their joint learning journey.

From a modest pop-up coffee stand, Yvonne and her husband embarked on a mission to spread their passion for coffee and mornings, encouraging others to appreciate the benefits of early rising for both physical and mental well-being. Thus, their brand proudly carries the moniker “5 AM.”

Today, evolving from serene mornings with a steaming cup of coffee at 5 AM, the couple joyfully presents their establishment as 5 AM CAFÉ, reveling in the uplifting influence they exert on patrons, staff, and the broader community.

Interested customers may reach Yvonne via her Facebook page: 5 AM café. For more information on local products and produce proudly made from Cebu, visit DTI Cebu Facebook page. (Success Story/DTI Region 7 Central Visayas). ♦

Date of release: 11 March 2024