Starting a business from scratch at any point in one’s life is truly terrifying. Even adults with enough resources to fund a starting capital are not safe from the risks that entail this industry. Putting up businesses, like flower shops and cafés, surely requires blood, sweat, and tears.
But for Angelica Aquino, a 22-year-old college student from Baao, Camarines Sur, juggling two businesses at a time is a task she is ready to conquer.
Who said that two is too much?
The Fleur, a made-to-order online flower shop, is born out of Angelica’s sudden midnight inspirations. It was January 14, 2019, when she had her eureka moment.
“Solo lang ako sa dorm noon. I couldn’t sleep because of the adrenaline. I was too excited when I thought of having a business with my own brand.”
Because of this excitement, she immediately created the social media pages for The Fleur. She also began to watch video tutorials and research sample photos of flower arrangements, specifically Korean-inspired bouquets, on Youtube and Pinterest.
Even after three years of running The Fleur, Angelica admits that she is still in the process of learning arrangement and design techniques.
“Never-ending learning [pa rin] para yung craft ko rin, naguupgrade from time to time. Experiment lang ng design, kasi kung paulit ulit na lang yung design mo, I find it boring. Kung pwede pa mag-add ng colors, add lang.”
As of the moment, she is trying minimalist designs for her arrangements. She incorporates pastel and pale colors into her products to go with the “pa-cute” trend, which is mainly inspired by Korean designs.
“In this business kasi, I cannot stick into one design or one theme lang because I have a very broad market. Iba-iba sila ng style. Experiment lang talaga.”
Start of something new… and it smells like coffee!
With the help of Angelica’s sister, she started her second business this pandemic. Kohii Café, a pop-up café mainly based in Rizal, is an unexpected business venture.
“Hindi talaga kami [ng sister ko] nagkakape dati, honestly. My sister bought coffee essentials one at a time. From Nespresso capsules to a coffee machine! I remember I would often tell her, hinay-hinay lang sa gastos, ang dami niya binibili.”
Because of her sister’s sudden interest in coffee products and the surge of pop-up coffee stands at that time, Angelica suggested trying and setting up their little café for only one weekend at Marilaque Road in Tanay.
“We only sold ten cups on our first day. Pero wala naman yun sa amin kasi for fun lang naman talaga yun.”
But then they decided to try again the next weekend, and fortunately, it took off.
Personal moments of pleasure
Angelica, now with two businesses at the same time, shared all her favorite things about this whole adventure.
As the owner of The Fleur, she revealed the most memorable bouquet she did for the brand.
“…the Leni Bouquet. First of all, pink na pink siya. This bouquet gave so many opportunities to me. Many clients would ask me if they can get the same bouquet. And some local marketing agencies are messaging me if I’m down for a television promotion. Kaya ito talaga yung favorite ko.”
She also expressed the joy she feels when she personally delivers her products to customers. The smiles on their faces whenever she gives them the flowers are enough to make Angelica feel appreciated.
“Sobrang fulfilling sa part ko lalo na kapag babae yung recipient. I know every client na naabutan ko ng bulaklak, they feel pretty. And para sa akin enough yun para maging happy ako and enough reason yun to continue what I am doing.”
But this path is not as smooth as it seems…
As a third-year Financial Management student, Angelica definitely experiences the struggle to manage two businesses and complete academic requirements at the same time. Although, she mentioned that she uses her time management skills in resolving this.
“Time management lang talaga. Kapag di ko naman na kaya, I would ask help especially sa mga kapatid ko. Every peak season naman, naghahanap rin ako ng tao who can help me kasi kung ako lang talaga, hindi naman kaya.”
Furthermore, as a small business owner, she shared that there are various problems she encounters every day while managing The Fleur and Kohii Café.
“Financial, marketing, supplies, time, and even yung pagod talaga. Minsan nasasacrifice mo din health [ko] kasi there are times I would skip meals kasi may gagawin pa ako na dapat matapos ko.”
But she thanks her loved ones for being there to help her when she needs it.
One of her main support systems is her sister and partner, Teresa. Angelica revealed what it’s like to work with her sibling in managing Kohii Café.
“Fun! Pero nakakapagod all the time. Bossy talaga kasi yung kapatid ko. Kasi dream niya maging donya like Small Laude.”
She also mentioned that her sister is great when it comes to business and, therefore, she takes her advice really well.
“She always see the bigger picture in everything. I would always take her advice, specifically sa business. Magaling mag-business yung sister ko.”See Also
They sometimes have misunderstandings, especially when it comes to their projects, but they resolve them immediately. Their opposing ideas would eventually be meld into one that benefits the business in the long run.
What’s next for The Fleur and Kohii Café?
Angelica revealed that they are planning on expanding Kohii Café in Bicol, although they are sticking to home pick-ups and pop-ups for now. They are also open for event bookings as a coffee bar.
“So far we have scheduled bookings na this year. Sana marami pa dumating. We are also studying about coffee business supplies dito sa Bicol kasi parang wala pa yata direct suppliers dito. It will be a win-win situation kung mauna na kami.”
@kohiicafe Tara, kape! 🤎 #kohiicafe #tarakape #coffelover #wheninrizal ♬ Here’s Your Perfect – Flukie
Meanwhile, she shared her dreams of having a flower café, merging her two businesses together. But for now, it’s still an idea stocked in her head because she has no budget for that.
At this point, she sees herself being a business owner in the long run. Therefore, she puts her 100% effort into her projects.
“Naka set na yung mind ko na this is it. I’m building my future already. Habang tumatanda, diversify lang ng business kung meron naman budget. If wala naman, isustain lang yung kung anong business ma meron ako right now.”
Words of gratitude and encouragement
Angelica thanks her family and loved ones for their never-ending support for her and her businesses.
“I’m super thankful to my support system especially my sister. She have been helping me a lot, guiding me every single time I ask for help. Also to my Kuya Max and Ate Jam who got married last year. Sobrang thankful ako lalo na for driving me so I can deliver orders on time. To my Mama and Papa who inspired me to become a good business owner. Thank you for always throwing [a] fit whenever my craft is not looking the best, so I could redo it. And to my boyfriend who never failed to show his support to me. Also for helping me tie ribbons well because I really can’t do it properly.”
As for her fellow business owners, she gave a simple yet motivational statement.
“Keep on dreaming big! “
You can visit The Fleur and Kohii Café‘s social media pages for orders and more updates.
Facebook and Instagram: @TheFleurNaga
Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok: @cafekohii
Padayon, Angelica! Your flower café dream will soon become a reality.
Gabriela Alexandra, or better known as Alex, is currently a journalism student at Bicol University. She likes to call herself a struggling artist, an idealist, and a hopeless romantic. She may wander around a lot, but she is never lost.