Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Behind Esmis

Back in 2009, after taking up Culinary Arts at MIHCA and had my internship at Basilio's, I opened an online business named Cafe Julita (my grandma's name) where I used to sell leche flan.  It sold like pancakes but I had to put an end to it due to having a similar name to an existing restaurant which I don't know of at that time, and making the decision on whether to choose kitchen or desk job.  Obviously I chose the corporate world and stayed there for almost two years.  Why?  Well, the main reason was because in the kitchen you'd only get to earn 8k to 10k as a beginner.  If I was a fresh grad back then, I would've accepted those numerous job offers on fine dining restaurants, but I was being practical then, I was 25.  I thought of my parents' medical benefits.  And I've been getting sick every now and then when I was working at Basilio's.

The past two years had been a rough road for me.  I had the difficulty on deciding which career path to choose, the pressure on the job that I'm really not interested in, the death of my father, the depression, my experience on getting mugged right outside our house, and the deterioration of my physical and mental health.

To overcome some of my emotional issues, I went online, got interested on Joseph Gordon-Levitt's organization HitRecord.org, and got involved on some of the collaborative work like the short story that everyone's working on at that time entitled StitchTown.  Moonbug, the coordinator, got inspired on my apple crumble photo that I put up on the website and asked me to come up with a refreshing dessert that would definitely fit the world of StitchTown.  He said that I can go crazy on the ingredients.  That's when I created Heaven's Pie.  A custard pie filled with mango-banana-apple slices, dusted with cinnamon powder and topped with cornflakes.

Why naming it Heaven's Pie?  Well, my dad was the inspiration behind this.  I do believe he's in heaven.  

I had extensive research of making sure that this kind of pie or recipe doesn't exist, and fortunately, it's an original.  That's when my sister gave me this idea that I should sell this pie.  And I then decided to go back on my online made-to-order business and now naming it Esmis, derived from my father's nickname Esmi.  

I sold these pies and the cinnamon rolls I made at work.  Everyone loved it.  I had difficulty on the pricing since I'm really not good at it and have a very little background on it as well.  Prices varied from time to time.

Since I was working at Taguig and goes home to Cavite every day by commute, I had the difficulty on bringing my baked products to work.  So I decided to not sell then.

But when I realized late last year that I no longer see myself working in a corporate world and visualize myself being an entrepreneur, I then handed my resignation and pursued my dream.

I felt freedom.  Then early this January, I opened Esmis once again.  Colleagues began ordering cinnamon rolls, pretzels and my signature Heaven's pie.  I saw a potential.  Now I want this to grow badly.

The thing is, I'm making all these goods here in Cavite, informed my clients on the pick-up points in the metro, didn't charge a fee on the delivery/pick-up, and my pricing is way cheap.  I did not foresee those people who tend to abuse me.  We set a schedule for pick-up, then later texting me they won't able to pick it up on the scheduled time and asking if it's possible to meet up in the evening instead.  First of all, I'm from Cavite.  I worked my a** off double time within the week to buy materials, ingredients and, of course, bake which will take a huge amount of my time.  Then I gave my weekend for client meet-ups to hand over their orders and now I have to adjust my time for these set of people?  Very inconsiderate people indeed.  Due to this, I strictly implemented my rules:  there's 50% downpayment on the total bill of the order/s a person has made, I'm now charging delivery/pick-up fee, and pick-up/meet-up schedule is on Saturdays only from 10am-4pm.  So, even if I need to adjust on their availability, it would still be worth it as I charge them for my efforts.  :)

But that gave me this push to look for a store location.  I don't want it to be in the metro since I'm sick of the city itself, but the problem is, most of my clients are from the metro!  I'm thinking of putting up a shop in Tagaytay or Nuvali instead, but I know it will cost me money to put up one on those locations.  Sigh.

Since I don't have the budget, I have this another idea, sell my pies on banchettos or night/weekend markets.  But the problem is I need people to work with!  I have this difficulty on trusting people these days because of the things I've been through.  Sigh.

I'm thinking of having business partners.  There were a couple of people who were interested, but then again, I thought, I need people who are willing to work on this business full-time, who are going to focus on the marketing, administrative stuff, and scouting for materials while I focus on the kitchen.


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