It all started with cravings for a pastry she loved and the determination to provide for the needs of her son.

Armed with grit and a small oven that she borrowed, Baby Grace Dingsalan braved the path of entrepreneurship to put up RichBlitz Sweets.

Grace wanted to have a source of income that would enable her to spend time with her baby boy. She used to have a fulltime job, but felt putting up a business would enable her to fulfill the duties of a single parent.

Baby Grace Dingsalan, owner of RichBlitz Sweets showing off their products

Humble beginnings

In 2015, while thinking of a possible business, Grace recalled the pastry she tasted and loved. She did her homework by searching for recipes.

There were no online video tutorials then, so she had to depend on traditional cook books.

It took several attempts before deciding on the ideal recipe, which she thought would entice buyers to try her products. Despite having not much amount of capital on hand, she was still determined to try her luck in baking and selling baked goods.

Her resourcefulness made this possible when she asked her relative to lend the basic ingredients for baking—cheese, eggs, flour, and sugar. Grace started with only 32 pieces of cheesy cake bars, which she offered in a restaurant owned by a relative.

An employee of RichBlitz Sweets mixing ingredients

An employee of RichBlitz Sweets scooping and molding pastillas

“I started small as I just wanted to try if I would have buyers,” said Grace whose loss would be minimal in case the cake bars did not click to customers.

To her surprise, all of the cheesy cake bars were sold out within the day.

While she reaped only a small amount of profit then, the response of the buyers inspired her to bake another batch of cake bars. For the next batch, she spent Php700 to buy the needed ingredients. This batch was again sold out.

She officially called the product “Cheezy Cake Bar” and considered the idea of expanding her market.

Grace noticed that the cake bars were always sold out at her relative’s restaurant, then she tried offering it to other stores and supermarkets. Unfortunately, she was rejected a couple of times. She felt bad, but this did not stop her from trying and approaching more potential clients. This inspired her instead to try harder and look for other opportunities.

“I never even thought of quitting. I was sure opportunities would come despite the rejections I encountered,” said Grace whose spirit was not dampened at all.

She was willing to take small steps toward her big goal of running a successful business and earning enough for her family.

True enough, her little business encountered great opportunities that would later enable her to expand.

Cheesy cake bars in a tray

An employee of RichBlitz Sweets packing sweets

Unboxing opportunities

While she was pleased that her business was growing, a staff from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) approached and invited her to join the trade fair in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

During the trade fair, another staff from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) approached her and offered DOST’s services in improving her business. Grace was determined to grow her business, so she grabbed this opportunity.

Grace shared that DTI was instrumental in the success of her business as the trade fair opened more opportunities. She was also given a chance to attend a training for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sponsored by DOST. This exposed her to more learnings, which she later applied to her business.

When Grace was still learning the ropes of running a business, she was humble enough to identify the weak points and take action to improve on those areas. She admitted that her product’s packaging was not attractive enough. She was only using a simple packaging made of lantern paper, bond paper, and ribbon.

Pastillas de Leche, one of RichBlitz Sweets' bestsellers

Bottles of toasted Pastillas de Leche

After attending workshops sponsored by DTI, she realized that her packaging is a crucial factor in increasing sales. Using lessons learned she got from those seminars, Grace made sure to improve the packaging and make it attractive enough for potential buyers.

Eventually, the demand for her products dramatically increased to the point that Grace’s small oven at home could no longer cope with the demand. “Everything was falling into place. My prayer was heard right away,” said Grace whose friend offered a second-hand oven which she used to meet the increasing demand for her pastries.

The seminars and trainings provided by DTI not only improved her marketing skills, according to Grace. She also learned the different aspects of business management such as product quality and production volume. Her business also became more efficient to keep up with the increasing demand. In return, this enabled Grace to provide more employment opportunities to more workers.

After some time, Grace decided to expand and offer additional products including baked cassava, buko pie, cookies, pastillas, macaroons, brownies, and more.

Expanded reach

Ingredients used for the pastries and sweets of RichBlitz Sweets

The current status of Rich Blitz Sweets is already a far cry from its beginning when Grace even had no money to buy eggs, flour, and sugar.

Currently, Grace employs 10 workers and would hire additional people from time to time, depending on the demand.

The products of RichBlitz Sweets have become a staple pasalubong of those who are visiting San Jose, Occidental Mindoro—some would even bring the pastries overseas. She has also been getting orders from other areas such as Bacolod and Metro Manila.

Asked on the advice that she could give to aspiring entrepreneurs, Grace said, “We have to work hard to achieve our goal—nothing worth having comes easy.” She also stressed the importance of giving the consumers the quality they deserve.

Grace has proven that one’s perseverance, grit, and humility would pave the way towards success.