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Success Story: "SWEET AS A CUPCAKE: Baking Creations from an Abrenian YEPreneur"

Sweet Creations

Ms. Rochel Perillo, also called Rochel, believes that the true meaning of success is sweeter when one truly embraces not only the good things but also the bad things, embracing both the outcome and the process of getting there, especially the hardships and challenges encountered on the way. Rochel is a believer in the saying that experience is the best teacher, hence it is in the process and the repeated tries that the essential learnings are realized.

Ms. Rochel Perillo

Step 1: Prepare the ingredients.

“I am passionate when it comes to food, especially in cooking and preparing sumptuous and delectable desserts. Having such love for food was my reason and starting point in starting a small home-based business in the food industry”, said Ms. Rochel P. Labaro. Her passion and love for cooking and services started at a young age, in fact, she took up Hotel and Restaurant Management and graduated in 2014. To supplement her knowledge in food preparation, she also joined seminars to obtain national certificates in Commercial Cooking and Food and Beverages. These learnings and accomplishments served as her springboard to a job at the ALOHA Hotel in Manila as a kitchen crew. After four years of employment, she decided to shift her gears and entered the business scene. 

Step 2: Start with the base. A balanced and tasty batter, complete with ingredients, ensures a good cupcake.

Just like any venture, starting her sweet shop was far from the sugary and syrupy taste of Rochel’s products. Armed with PHP 1,000.00 and loaned baking tools from her sister, she embarked on her journey towards her dream business in 2018. Though seemingly lacking, Rochel started her business with the basics needed for baking. She offered made-to-order or customized for the customers of the municipality of Bucay, Abra. In 2019, she expanded her menu with more traditional as well as trendy food items such as puto, kutsinta, and cupcakes. It was also that same year that she started using her brand name — Sweet Creations. She used the name to expand her market by availing of online market platforms and opportunities such as the business’ own Facebook page. In 2020, she adopted trendy pastry and drink options such as layered cakes, yema cakes, and smoothies of different flavors.

Step 3: Bring on the heat. Heat makes the dough and batter rise, even if the fire is scary.

In any business, challenges and hardships will always find their way to bring you down. The onset of the pandemic was also the start of Rochel and Sweet Creations’ struggle, with parties and gatherings banned, in fact, people were obliged to stay at home, and pastries especially cakes were the least priority of buyers. During such time were the longest months for Rochel and her small business. 
But just as the elders have repeatedly reminded the young ones, there will always be light at the end of the tunnel. As months passed, the new normal means of doing business and doing life, in general, found its way into the municipality of Bucay. And with the new hope awakening, Rochel decided to take the renewed chance to improve her craft and business to adopt more sustainable and innovative ways. Luckily, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Abra Provincial Office came barging in with the perfect means to boost her passion to push through with her business.

Step 4: Wait and let it rest. No icing can survive a hot cupcake. Use the time to prepare your toppings and designs.

While waiting for the new normal, it is important to take a break and use it to improve ones’ self. The Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) is one of the new programs of the DTI under the administration of Secretary Lopez. The program taps the youth entrepreneurs from across the country who are willing to undergo a free short modular program, which aims to assist existing and budding entrepreneurs ages 18-30. This was an opportunity of a lifetime for Rochel, who took on the challenge.

According to Rochel, she was able to make her business plan using the business model canvass and business continuity planning modules. These planning modules and models served as her guideline and roadmap to see the visions and goals of her business. The business plan made her realize the importance of planning. Through the business tools, she was able to do a bit of backup planning to lessen, if not eradicate, the hindrances to her business operations such as power interruptions, calamities, and any other disruptions. She also practiced basic business recording and bookkeeping to determine and identify whether the business is yielding an income or loss. She also arranged systematically her delivery/pick-up schedules to meet the customer’s demands on time.

Sweet Creations also saw a new marketing model in the creation of its website, which is in addition to other social media platforms used to promote her business. With this, Sweet Creations’ market reach was expanded. Armed with these learnings, she was able to finish the module classes. On 21 November 2021, she was one of the 105 graduates of YEP Year 2, with celebrations held at the Cinque Amore Resort, San Juan, Abra.

Step 5: Put the icing and cherry on top.

As of now, Rochel plans to establish a pastry store in South Poblacion, Bucay Abra. But before that, she also took on the full businesswoman mode by making her business official. By registering her business, Rochel signified her willingness to push forth with the business.  She was assisted by the Negosyo Center - Bucay on 29 November 2021 in acquiring her business name and business permits from other business licensing agencies.

With these succors, Ms. Labaro was able to improve her traditional way of handling her business. She was given wider knowledge on how to cope with the everchanging trend in the business world.

 “My deepest gratitude to the DTI for having me as one of the YEP mentees. I am beyond happy to proclaim that I am a proud graduate of the program. There were so many learnings I acquired from this course and applying them to my business saw many beautiful changes and improvements. Thank you very much DTI!”

Step 6: Your cupcake is done! Sweet Creations is now ready to satisfy your sweet cravings.

Sample photos of Sweet Creation’s baked products.


By: DTI Cordillera Administrative Region

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