MANILA, PHILIPPINES – “Dati, asawa ko lang ang naghahanapbuhay,” Mrs. Ilas shared. After her husband stopped working due to the pandemic, she is now able to provide for her family with their business as their main source of income. This proud moment of establishing Buchi Queen is what empowers and motivates her to move forward.
Mrs. Imelda Ilas started making buchi for her family & relatives, and with every occasion, everyone loved her buchi! Then the idea of turning it into an online business was proposed to her by her daughter, and so they tried. Soon after launching Buchi Queen online in December 2019, their buchi became a hit and gained traction and, despite the country going into lockdown, they were able to ride with the demand for local goods through online selling and same-day delivery.
“Buchi is a classic Filipino-Chinese fried pastry that is usually included when you order a lauriat box. Buchi Queen, however, takes this traditional delicacy to a whole new level by giving it a modern twist.” – Buchi Queen
“I created this buchi. As a woman, from preparing the ingredients to mixing the fillings, despite being faced with times that we need a man’s help (such as handling heavy items and doing strenuous labor), I still manage to power through and do it by myself. What should have been produced by four or five pairs of hands, I take upon the tasks of mixing, kneading, and making buchi. It is tiring, but at the end of the day, I am able to do it. When we started Buchi Queen, I used to ask help from my siblings from different parts of the metro and sometimes from the province, to come over to Caloocan and help out with the family business. But since the pandemic, I have been handling the business, with the help of my daughter Joyce for other aspects such as sales & marketing.
“The buchi that I make is not only for my family or for us to make money; I make it to help others.”
With the boom of their business, so did the demand for same-day delivery services. They did not have a brick-and-mortar store– she made buchi out of their home kitchen.
“How do we get these products to our customers, when I do not have the time, energy, and resources to deliver these personally?” Mrs. Ilas recounts having the availability of courier services such as Borzo, to cover for this drawback, “ang laking tulong ng mga couriers katulad ng Borzo lalo na’t mura lang magpadeliver dito, at sila ang pinakamadaling kausap. Lumago ang negosyo namin dahil kaagapay namin ang mga riders.”
Opening a business account with Borzo was so easy, she was able to enjoy the perks right away. Looking back on previous encounters with delivery riders, she conveyed that her heart is out for the riders who brave the heat of the sun & cold rains, just to ensure that her product will be delivered to her customers safe & fresh. Making surplus batches of buchi to give away, refrigerating bottles of water, and giving tips are some of the ways she gives back to the hardworking couriers who fulfill her deliveries, which in turn helps her business grow.
“Bilang babae, hindi lang naman ako pang bahay lang eh. Kung ano kaya ng mga lalaki, kaya rin ng mga babae. Lakasan ang loob, magsumikap, at magtiyaga para kumita.”
Having established her online business, Mrs. Ilas encourages women to not be afraid in opening their own business. “If you have the skill, capacity, and resources to start, even with just a small capital, you can definitely turn your passion into something profitable with hard work, and always remember to put trust in yourself.”