MANILA, PHILIPPINES – For this head of a young family, a dream of having their own home motivated him to pursue an online apparel store as a side hustle in the middle of pandemic.
Richmond Argosino, a full-time sales operations supervisor, opened Ken Goods and Apparel in May 2021. The online store focused on selling ready-to-wear clothing pieces such as plain tees, polo shirts, jackets, and caps. Then, they eventually expanded to offer other products such as toys and home and garden items. They then started branching out to other services like customized packaging, designing, and printing jobs. What’s great about Ken Goods and Apparel is that some of their items are sourced from local suppliers, allowing them to support their fellow entrepreneurs.
“I’ve always been a business minded person ever since. I am always taking every business opportunity that knocks my way, but I took that to the next level when my then girlfriend and I planned to get married. We pursued and made our business page official and allocated 100% of our income was being saved for our wedding fund,” he said.
It was no surprise that when the opportunity to join Pinoy Dream Negosyo by Rakuten Viber came through the RaketPH channel, Richmond grabbed it immediately. For weeks, Raketeers—or members of the RaketPH channel—had gone through weekly challenges that tested their entrepreneurial spirit and skills. Richmond and the other Raketeers were asked to submit videos of them explaining their side hustle, think of creative ways to promote their offerings, and propose ways how their business can give back to the community—until three of them reached the final round and pitched their business to an esteemed panel of judges.
Judges for Raket Mo ‘To were Joseph Arnold De Guzman, Go Negosyo mentor and Chairman and CEO of First Food Link Distributors, Inc.; Jennivev “Nene” Tamayo-Plamio, a celebrity mompreneur and one of the pioneer members of the GrabExpress Madiskarteng Boss Club, and; Chris Aguilar, APAC Marketing Director for Rakuten Viber.
In his pitch, Richmond emphasized that Ken Goods and Apparel’s research and quality control are two of the important factors that allowed him to better respond to customers. He also shared how he was able to overcome their biggest challenge which was storage as he used to live with his sister in a small apartment.
“I eventually decided to move out and find my own place, which was good timing, since my then girlfriend and I were about to get married. Luckily, we were able to find an apartment and assigned one room as our storage area which really helped improve our operations and ensure we’re maintaining the quality of our products and preventing damage,” he explained during his pitch presentation.
Richmond underlined that while it was part of their business plan to expand their network, joining RaketPH and Pinoy Dream Negosyo also enabled them to share their knowledge and experience with other Raketeers. “We’ve been striving hard to sustain our small business using the different tools available online. One of these is Viber, of course. It remains to be our main communication platform not just with customers but also with resellers and suppliers,” he said. “Being part of RaketPH channel has not only widened my network, it has also allowed me to widen my knowledge and skills with the help of business experts and my fellow Raketeers. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, I recommend you join this Viber channel as it has been impactful in my journey as a business owner.”
Richmond’s honest pitch about the strengths and challenges of his online store showcased his aptitude for business, eventually impressing the judges who declared him the winner. He won the major cash prize and other gifts from Viber’s partners, which will allow him to replenish their inventory and expand their product range.
“I was shocked when they declared my name. But more than anything, I consider it as an honor. Though I really did my best in delivering my pitch, I have listened to the other Raketeers and I think they all really did well. Much as I believed in our products, and hoping mine was the best, right at that moment, my fellow entrepreneurs were very impressive too,” he shared.
Viber, the leading messaging and conversational commerce app, had launched Pinoy Dream Negosyo to empower Pinoy micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to launch a business or scale their side hustles up. As a kickstarter, it aims to open bigger opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to share their journey and at the same time acquire the right knowledge and tools to make their business goals a reality.
“I joined Pinoy Dream Negosyo because I believe that our small business deserves to be in the spotlight too. Small businesses like ours need all the help they can get to sustain and grow,” Richmond said. “I’m thankful that entrepreneurs like me have been given the platform and the opportunity to improve our business and take a step towards achieving our dreams.” Richmond also emphasized that perseverance is important and he encourages other entrepreneurs to continue despite the difficulties and to understand and focus on the goal.
The mission to support Pinoy MSMEs continues with the Pinoy Dream Negosyo Season 2, launching very soon! Join the RaketPH channel on Viber for more details!