Thirty-three year old Jovel Cipriano has been working for IBM Philippines for the last 5 years handling its Visayas-Mindanao operations. Very recently, Cipriano decided to give up his full-time work to focus on his growing dotcom business, Pinoydelikasi.com. A web site that is selling Filipino delicacies over the Internet such as dried mangos, danggit, dried pusit, pastilyas, and tuna belly, among others. He realized that his business would fully boom if he devotes 100% of his time to it.
The concept for Pinoydelikasi.com started March 1999 and it went online last January 2000. Cipriano used to travel a lot and always bring “pasalubong” such as danggit, pusit, dried mangos, and the like. “One day, I actually found out that I can make money out of this. My first customers are my family and relatives,” said Cipriano. “Until one night, I can’t really sleep. I thought of opportunities if I put up a web site.”
The name Pinoydelikasi.com came as a suggestion from his secretary. (Instead of Pinoydelicacy) It was perfect for its slogan, “Lutong Pinoy, Delicious Kasi”.
He remembered how his friends started laughing at him when he broached the idea. “Why did you come out with an idea selling a danggit or dried mango when it is available anywhere. But my point there is what will make me different is I can actually offer quality Filipino delicacies, fresh from the factory. I can actually offer items that are hard to find.”
Cipriano’s x-factor is his network to the travel industry that allows him to deliver Pinoydelikasi.com items abroad and its freshness. “I have a network to help me to actually generate more business that is far, far away from my territory such as Hong Kong, US, London, and Cyprus. I’m guaranteeing my products to be fresh from the factory and even posting a money-back guarantee. If you don’t like it, return, and I’ll give your money back to you or replace with a new product.”
From 9 items, the site is currently selling more than 25 products online and growing. Its top 5 items include R&M dried mangos, mangorine, danggit, pusit, and pastilyas. Its new products include tuna belly, panga, and Villalonga chicharon. More than 70 individuals have tried buying online at Pinoydelikasi.com. 15 of them are now regular buyers.
Another advantage that Pinoydelikas has is it offers products at a much cheaper price. Its R&M dried mango for instance is being sold from P95 to P110 in Manila while one can order from the web site for only P75.
Cipriano’s payment system is still on cash on delivery basis. His business was making 4,000 net profit when it started per month. Currently, he’s averaging at 18,000 per month. This is a combination of both online and offline orders. With the increasing number of products and expansion activities, he hopes to reach no less than 100,000 net profit per month soon.
The main challenge that Cipriano is facing right now is his search for a good payment solution. Although Pinoydelikasi has an interim payment solution through Estore-Exchange (http://www.estore-exchange.com), he realizes that he needs to have one fully integrated in his system.
From B2C to B2B
Cipriano recognized that it would not make any bigger profits if it will stick to its B2C business model. “I’d like to be an example of a dotcom who started as a B2C and become a B2B.”
He is looking forward in supplying Pinoydelikasi.com products to groceries local and abroad such as Europe, Hong Kong, and US. “I intend to come out with my own branding using Pinoydelikasi.com logos. I’ll be selling crispy dilis, my own pastillas, banana chips and I’m thinking of even coming out with my own Pinoydelikasi dried mango.”
Like any other growing dotcom, Cipriano is looking for potential investors too. But he has reservations. “I’d rather work with an angel investor who can actually shell out small amount of money around 2 million, be part of Pinoydelikasi.com, and grow with us.”
He admits being scared in dealing with VCs. “Probably it’s human nature. Everyone thinks that you’ll be eaten by these giants.”
Advice to aspiring enterpreneurs
Cipriano advises that when one encounters a bright idea they really have to do it fast. “The reason why Pinoydelikasi.com is here, is because I acted on it fast. I could have sit down and think and think and think. I started with 9 products just to make sure something is on the web. When people visit the site, they can see something. Eversince, I’ve been working on the improvements to make a very formal, professional, and attractive site.”
He also advised that the logistics portion of the business should not be taken for granted and the back-end as well. “You really have to come out with a back-end solution because eventually you will have to gather information and do data mining yourself. Making use of the information that you already have.”
What keeps Cipriano going is the email of customers expressing how they really love the site. “People are asking for more such as items that are not available in the US and they want me to ship it to them. This is a challenge for me. I hope to be first dotcom entrepreneur to ship dried danggit and pusit worldwide.”