Thursday, February 24, 2005

Value Creating processes for homemade goodies

The Manila Times
Business Times p.B1
Thursday, February 24, 2005

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Value-creating processes for homemade goodies

Early yesterday morning I heard Bheng Relatado “ooh-ing” and “aah-ing” in her cubicle that made me curious. She was enjoying a box of sylvannas pala. I asked her what’s so special about it that makes her so ecstatic. She replied, “Tikman mo [taste it]! That is why whenever we have meetings, I serve pastries from Twiggys so that everybody is happy and actively participates in the discussions.” I tasted the sylvannas and I couldn’t agree more with Bheng more.

Homemade goodies have become very popular as gift items or pasalubong. My balikbayan sorority sisters from Canada Milette Rabanillo and Florence Josue and from London, Ester Kazzam brought home loads of them.

So I had a little chat with Pebbles Santos (0917-538-0510) about her entrepreneurial experience.

She said that they started Twiggys more than 15 years ago as her mother’s hobby. Started with one product—lenguas de gato—which was a hit with anyone who tasted them because they literally melt in your mouth! Then other pastries were added to the line—sylvannas, yema balls, sans rival, brownies, food of the goods, San Nicolas cookies, butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies and brandy raisin cookies.

So what makes her hobby last this long and become a successful business?

Pebbles said that the main value proposition for a food item is that it must look good and taste good. Consistency in quality should always be assured so that your customers are assured they will always get a good product every time they buy. This is the most critical aspect that is carefully watched and looked after. This starts with ingredients used (thus changes in ingredients are not made randomly and are first subjected to pilot production, and taste tests and consumer acceptance tests, etc.). And then of course, follow through with the process of production, from mixing and baking, and ultimately packaging.

Another key value creating process for Twiggys is that it is virtually “open” all the time. Being perishable items, normally most of the products are produced to order. And a customer can call (721-4652) at any time and normally within a few hours it is ready for pick-up and if the order is substantial, can be delivered. And any time literally means any time. There have been many instances where orders are phoned in at night, even late at night, and certainly quite a number during weekends and holidays. This was found to be a major “competitive” advantage as it means availability at practically all times.

Overall, the primary consideration driving all these is ensuring customer satisfaction! Twiggys remain a small business and it is now managed by a mother-daughter tandem.

They want to keep it this way so that there is personal attention to all aspects of the business. They have no outlet of their own but they supply a few stores and bake shops with their products. But most important, orders are easily placed by phone.

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur who has a hobby that produces a product that satisfies the need of a customer niche, but you don’t have big capital or a big shop floor, cultivate your hobby and make it grow to become a business.

Grace Ensaymada started this way and they are now located in all major malls in Metro Manila. They even have to construct a new kitchen dedicated to the making of Grace’s ensaymadas according to proud husband Hector Dimacali.

An all-time favorite are the food for the gods and other yummy cakes from Sugar­mom’s Iya PeƱalosa (928-1260).

American Society for Training & Development: The 2005 ASTD International Conference and Exposition will be held on June 5-9 at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida, USA. To join and avail yourself of discounts, please call Ms. Grace Victo­riano for details (715-9332,

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