It’s a fun way for children to play and exercise in a mall. It doesn’t use inventory or electricity, it brings families together, and, as its brochure notes, you get to hire “the most persuasive salesperson in the world for free.”
[related|post]What is it? It’s a cute, cuddly “animal” from LuvPony Kiddie Ride, a fledgling amusement business built for kids and inspired by a child—in this case the daughter of Leonid Warguez, who had worked overseas as an electronics technician.
Drawing inspiration from the pony ride he took his daughter to during a vacation to Singapore (which “she liked very much and constantly reminded me of,” says Warguez), the Cebu City native created a mechanical rocking horse that moves forward and “gallops like a real one.” Covering his creations in plush to simulate real ponies, he then leased space on the second-floor hallway of SM City Cebu and made a rental business out of it.
The rest is a story Robert Kiyosaki—a big influence on Warguez’s life after he read the author’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad e-book—would be proud of. The college dropout eventually quit his job in Singapore to start Luvpony in April 2010, and by October that year, he had opened a second branch at the Limketkai Mall in Cagayan de Oro City.
Now that his two outlets have, in a year, earned him about P4 million in gross sales, Warguez has opened Luvpony to franchising, with an aim of opening branches in malls of major cities across the country. It’s certainly an accomplishment for a self-described “street-smart entrepreneur” who, because of financial struggles, admits to “skipping some meals just to survive.”
“I started working in 2001 as a technician in an American company based in Cebu,” says Warguez, 29. “The experience was full of ups and downs, and after working (there) almost five years, I realized that there must be something more, other than just being an employee with an average salary.”
But his life shifted around December of 2004 when his wife e-mailed him a copy of Rich Dad, which triggered his desire to be his own boss. He then started an online gadget store that sold MP3 players, digital cameras and camcorders, and portable DVD players, among others.