Small Business, Big Passion
Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, Eunice Chelcie Uy was always inclined to put up a business of her own. In 2016, the 25-year-old launched Chelcie’s Homemade Spreads, a selection of all-natural jams and pâtés sold online and in select markets around Metro Manila. The venture started as a side gig while Eunice worked for the family’s construction business. She has since left her full-time job, but Eunice has kept Chelcie’s Homemade Spreads’ operations small to allow her to explore other business and work opportunities. She shares how the business started, her tips for having a sideline while holding down a job, and what she plans to do next.
EUNICE HOLDS A DEGREE in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management from the De La Salle-college of Saint Benilde in Manila. Prior to joining the family’s construction business, she managed her family’s restaurant at a boutique hotel in Makati. But venturing into the food industry wasn’t exactly deliberate.
“My family kasi, my mom especially, loves to cook. And yung brother ko naman went into restaurants also. So, after ko mag-restaurant, ayoko na sana mag-food business, pero every time I think of a business, doon ako napupunta,” explains Eunice. “There would always be opportunities there. At saka mahilig kasi talaga kami mag-cook, so ’yun yung lumalabas na talent.”
A PRACTICAL APPROACH
Eunice did not pass up the opportunity to turn her kitchen skills into profit. Interestingly, while many entrepreneurs talk about their love for their products, Eunice is more passionate about the actual business. “Hindi kasi ako yung type of person na kailangan gawin ko kung ano yung masaya ako,” she says. “More of sa business side talaga ako nag-iisip; kung saan okay ang business, I go for it.”
She first sold Chelcie’s Homemade Spreads online and at bazaars. Being a former restaurateur, she had blogger friends who helped generate buzz for her product. “Kasi ’pag na-post ka sa mga blogs and stuff, people follow you eh,” says Eunice.
Once the business took off, Eunice found herself receiving other business offers. For instance, she now accepts orders for customized flavors for events.
THE PRODUCT LINE
Eunice single-handedly produces about 30 jars of spreads per week, except during special seasons, like Christmas, when orders balloon. On such occasions, she employs the help of a few on-call workers. Her spreads are popular because there’s something for everyone. While Eunice made sure to introduce something new to the market, she also included some old standbys.
Chelcie’s Homemade Spreads offers three flavor selections: Filipino, Western, and tea-infused fruit butter (Eunice’s take on fruit jams, but with a thicker consistency, and without the preservatives).
The fruit butter selection includes flavors like Peach Cinnamon infused with Chamomile Tea, a favorite among kids, and Pineapple Coconut infused with Earl Grey Tea, which is popular with older foodies. Apart from the unique flavors, classics, like Roasted Chicken with Herbs, and Smoked Tinapa Pâté, are also available.
“For every selection, gumawa ako ng isang typical flavor kasi merong mga tao na hindi adventurous sa taste,” she says.
HOW SHE DOES IT
With nationwide deliveries and customized orders, Eunice has learned to be intentional with her schedule and routine, especially when she was working for the family business. While many people may not have the flexibility that Eunice had, those considering a sideline can take a cue from Eunice, who would schedule all the orders to be met so that she could attend to them all at once. “It’s just a matter of time management and how to strategize schedules and yung sistema mo with the business,” she says.
She would also find time before going to work to take care of business, so to speak. “Kapag deliveries outside Metro Manila, pinapa-deliver namin siya through courier. Eh yung delivery takes two to three days— ayokong tumama ’yun sa weekend kasi the spreads have to be refrigerated, too. So nag-e-end up, minsan before I go to work, ginagawa ko na.”
Though Chelcie’s Homemade Spreads is already enjoying success, Eunice doesn’t see it as her be-all and end-all. Driven and ever passionate about running a business, she is considering other avenues where opportunity, Chelcie’s, or any idea that strikes, will take her. After all, why stop at one venture?