It’s raining soap bubbles for this 39-year old TLRC graduate. Her business is doing great. She already has two vehicles and recently acquired land titles. All these she got by finding the weakness of most Filipinas in the country today: the obsession to have a whiter and clearer skin.
For Josephone C. Festejo of Antipolo City, it was not easy getting to where she is right now. She mainly attributed her success to her love for soaps and her training at Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC).
“I was working in a cosmetic company then. Back then, I was already selling soaps and other beauty products as a sideline.” She narrates.
That time, Josephine was not making her own products. She was simply buying wholesale products and reselling them to friends and other individuals.
Recalls Josephine, “My chemist-friend told me ‘Why not make homemade soaps instead?’ She then gave me a formula before she left the country. My other friend also gave me materials and handbooks on making soaps and told me she studied soap-making in TLRC. She suggested that if I want to learn more about soap-making, I should go to TLRC and enroll in a soap-making class.”
With that, Josephine went to TLRC office in 1996 which was still in Makati City. “I went there to inquire about their courses. I decided to take the Herbal Bath Soap course.”
Currently, this one-day training course is done in cooperation with ITD/DOST and includes lectures on material specifications, product formulation, preparation of extract, costing, and pricing of herbal soaps. The training also includes hands-on training on papaya soap, cucumber soap, carrot soap, germicidal, and moisturizing bath soaps.
“I went back on the day of the training itself,” Josephine relates. “There were no requirements other than the payment of the course. The training was only for a day. My advantage was I already had experience in the soap industry so I didn’t exactly had a hard time. I just need to learn and familiarize myself with the techniques.”
She immediately went on making her own herbal soaps after her training. She recalls making so many rejected soaps in her first few days. “It was hard work but I managed to get through it. I told myself that I already had a market and soap molds so I shouldn’t give up.”
She started her business with an initial capital of P15,000 which she got from the land share she sold in the province. She then bought more soap molds, raw materials and chemicals for her herbal soap business.
The market was the next thing she dealt with. Says Josephine, “I already have a market then but it wasn’t enough so I offered my products through referrals from small companies and factories.” She also established a market in provinces such as Cavite, Cebu, Masbate, Ilocos, Pangasinan, and Roxas City which is her hometown.