Here’s a very inspiring business success story in a major broadsheet lately. Rags to riches stories are stuff of legends - and readers tend to get mesmerized with the dream - but the truth is hard work and perseverance is key. How can a Pinay housemaid (doestic helper or katulong) turn P1k into a multi-million peso soap making business?
In the story of Leonora C. Atienza, or “Aling Nora” - is a story of a ppor Filipina housemaid who was able to turn her Charmica soap business into a million peso business venture. Amazing isn’t it? How did she do it? Well, read on and be inspired.
It was proven time and again that poverty is not hindrance to success. If you will just work hard, have faith and persevere you will surely become successful.
Aling Nora came from a poor family. She and her siblings, 11 of them learned the hard way in their childhood. Their parents are rope maker from Pangasinan, and the children would help their parents day and night in rope making.
But Nora had bigger dreams. After graduating from elementary, she went to Manila and became a housemaid for 3 years. It was a hard life–doing household chores and studying high school at the same time. But Nora didn’t mind. She knew that her dream to be successful will come eventually.
And so at a tender age of 17, with the help of a friend she became a seamstress at Riverside Mills Company in Pasig. She met her husband there Jose Atienza and they had 5 children. Sewing business at that time was not a boom business. Nora quit her job and tried selling all kinds of packed-snacks to her former co-workers. But it was this big dream that prompted her to enroll in a soap making course at the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center.
TLRC is a government institution under the Office of the President that monitors and disseminate technologies that are being developed and assess their applicability. In1980, TLRC started developing training courses and seminars based on the mature technologies that have proven to be ready for the market.
Soap making, candle making,creative food packing are just some of the courses that they offer. Their seminars were always a hit, attended by more than 11,000 individuals yearly.
Just like any other entrepreneur who were just starting, Aling Nora struggled at first in her backyard business. Good timing came in year 2000 for Charmica. Starting with a 1,000 capital, Aling Nora used this amount to buy the ingredients. Together with the help of her family, they started the production in their own kitchen.
But luck seemed to be on Aling Nora’s side, when her daughter was born she named her Charmica and from then on there’s no stopping to Charmica soap…
Today, many companies buy soap from Aling Nora. Among her clients are a big network-marketing company and El Shaddai. She also has celebrity patrons. Among them is Fanny Serrano with whom she struck a partnership to export the product in UK, US and Japan. She was also able to buy a 179-s.q lot in Antipolo City where the technologically-equipped Charmica plant is located. It was a far-cry from the kitchen where she started in the 90’s.
Aling Nora appears happy with the way the business has grown-from a sort of experiment to a bona fide multi-million business capable of churning out thousands of bars of soap that are sold both here and abroad.
And her recipe for success? Aling Nora shares, humility and being hands-on in the business are just some of the key in her success.
So there you have it folks. I hope Aling nora’s story will inspire those small businessman out there and those who are thinking of putting up a business. Good luck!