The Philippine Consulate General organized the first-ever Fil-Am Women’s Entrepreneurship Forum in New York on 27 April 2019 at the Philippine Center.
The forum served as a venue where aspiring Filipina entrepreneurs met, engaged, and networked with four inspiring Filipinas who have grown their businesses in design, events, social media, beauty products, and dental services on-demand start-ups.
In his welcome remarks, Deputy Consul General Kerwin Tate said that the Philippine Consulate recognizes the myriad opportunities for improving lives in the Filipino American community, emphasizing that New York has a huge market where,“with the right product and the right effort, success is just around the corner.”
The panel discussion moderated by Ms. Ledy Almadin of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce New York (PACC NY)featured four successful Filipino-American women entrepreneurs Carla Caramat, CEO and Co-Founder of Dentist on Demand; Ivie Joy, CEO and Founder of Ivie Joy Floral + Events; Mally Roncal, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Mally Beauty; and Jeanne Grey, CEO and Founder of GreyLayers.
Each shared their stories on what sparked their desire to venture into entrepreneurship, their driving force and motivation to become successful, and how they raise and sustain the capital funding for their businesses.
Mally said that “timing is everything,” recalling her decision to start her own makeup line after feeling the toll of the demands of being a celebrity makeup artist and with people constantly asking her “how do you make that look?” She admitted that she was not the best makeup artist, but she knows that “I could do makeup, I can communicate what I know, I can sell something like nobody’s business, and I can speak from my heart.” She pitched her products to QVC,a broadcast TV home shopping channel network, and her products were completely sold out in 36 minutes.
Ivie Joy, who was working as a production assistant and designer at a floral shop, realized that her floral designs were being sold at weddings and gave her the idea that “if her designs are making money for these people, then it should give her the level of confidence that she can do it on her own.”Speaking about managing her capital which started at $2,000, she emphasized that she had to “choose the right people to work with and maintain good relations with owners of floral shops, vendors and clients she had worked with to deliver the highest quality of product.”
Jeanne, who was convinced by her family to pursue nursing, said she decided to find an outlet through blogging and social media. Remembering her first campaign paid her $10, Jeanne realized that blogging and social media could be something big and so GreyLayers.com came into fruition. It became one of the most influential blogs in the East Coast, amassing more than 471,000 Instagram fans and international blog subscriberships.
Carla, who has been in the dentistry field for over two decades, said that in 2012, she was fortunate to have worked with one of the founders who championed and sponsored her idea of starting Dentist on Demand in New York. From a start-up perspective, she asked herself “What value can I bring having a new business model?” She further added that “I needed to step back and look into what market can we tap into, making the product or services unique that can cater to the needs of the community.”
A networking event attended by more than 100 participants immediately followed after the program. The participants were able to interact with these entrepreneurs whose products were also on display at the Philippine Center Gallery lobby.