Weaving My Way To Success
In the middle of the pandemic, the heart to continue pursuing the goal to achieve a better life for her family has initiated a fire within one of our Nanays. Introducing Nanay Lorena Sollano, our 50-year-old Nanaypreneur in Sogod, Cebu. With her husband Tatay Larry Sollano, they pursued their business in rattan furniture making that started on the year 2013.
Before their business, her husband was working as a sample maker and quality controller in a rattan exporter company. Because of this, he has learned how to make furniture out of rattan. Life was not easy for the Sollano family. They cared for 5 children along with their grandchildren, lived under one roof and only Tatay Larry was working. For additional income, they had extra jobs such as being a committee for a basketball game in their barangay.
“Sauna, usa ra gyud ka kilo nga bugas among kaunon, tungaon namo sa among lima ka anak ug among mga apo. Lisod gyud among kahimtang kay wala mi makuhaan og lain pang konsumo. (Before, we can only share one kilo of rice for the whole family. We had a rough life because we didn’t have any other source of income.)” kwento ni Nanay Lorena. They used their knowledge about rattan and started a business as their source of income.
To continue their dream to expand their business, Nanay Lorena decided to join RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RAFI MFI) during the year 2017 when she was invited by a chairwoman in one of the centers of Sogod branch. With the capital of Php 5,000, she was able to buy raw materials in making rattan furnitures.
Alongside their journey to success, the Sollano Family also experienced hardships in their business. Due to the pandemic, their sales decreased because the lockdown and quarantine protocols resulted to a limited number of cars driving around their area where they had their products displayed.
Even though the situation has been tough, they continued selling and displaying their products. Eventually, one of their client asked if she can customize a certain design for their wedding. This was when the rattan planters were made and increased their sales because plants were a big trend during the quarantine period.
“Sa sinugdanan pa lang nakaila na ang mga tawo namo kay ga-supply mi og furniture sa mga resort ug sa mga mall unya tungod ato nidaghan among kliyente. Nagamit pud namo ang Facebook sa pag-upload sa mga pictures sa among furniture o mag-send sila og mga gusto nila nga design unya amo rang buhaton. (From the very start, clients started to know about us because we supplied rattan furniture to some resorts and malls that made us gain more clients. Facebook was also helpful because we were able to upload pictures of our furniture and clients were able to send their pictures for customized designs.)” according to Nanay Lorena on their furniture design that was one of a kind. Now, she has 12 employees who are also her neighbors. She wants to help them earn income during hard times like this.
The achievement that Nanay Lorena and Tatay Larry have now, is because of the perseverance and dedication to provide quality products and introducing different designs that attracts new clients and long-time buyers to come back again. Nanay Lorena also aims to expand their business in a bigger platform and provide newer designs.
“Akong matambag, kung sila ganahan musugod ug negosyo, di lang magpakawa ug paglaom. Mintras naa pay mutabang sama sa RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RAFI-MFI) nga mudako pa atong negosyo, dili lang magpadala ug magpakawa sa paglaom kay muabot ra ang panahon. Kinsa man magtuo nga mudako gihapon among negosyo bisag lockdown. Dako kay kog pasalamat sa RAFI-MFI, kay kung wala ko na miyembro diri, dili ma ing ani akong negosyo karon. Gitabangan nila ang mga miyembro kung unsaon pag gamit sa kwarta ug unsaon pagbalhin sa social media pareha sa Tindahan ni Nanay. May unta’g daghan pamo ug matabangan. (My advice to all those who have a business, never lose hope. Until there is someone who can help us, just like RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RAFI-MFI), to expand our business, let’s continue to be dedicated because time will come for our business to boom. I did not expect my business will still sell even though we’re on lockdown. I am very much thankful to RAFI-MFI, because if I did not become a member, my business will not be where it is now. They helped all the members on how to handle our money and how to transition to social media like Tindahan ni Nanay. I hope you will continue to help more people like me.”) Nanay Lorena’s advice to other Nanaypreneurs who are doubting their business or are just starting.
The story of Nanay Lorena and Tatay Larry is an example of when you persevere and continue to dedicate oneself to your business, being successful will never be far away. While there are many ways to be successful, but for Nanay Lorena’s business, it is to continue weaving rattan on their way to a comfortable life.
The Microfinance Program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI-MFI) provides financial and non-financial services to micro-entrepreneurs with a mission of elevating lives of the vulnerable and disadvantaged communities through stable and rewarding livelihood.