Jotham Manlapaz, the entrepreneur behind Mama Lou’s Homemade Cookies, stressed the importance of upholding products’ quality even in a business’ startup phase.
Manlapaz knows what he’s talking about; from a home-based venture, Mama Lou’s is now consigning its products in one of the major shopping centers in Metro Manila. Starting out as indulging a family tradition – his aunt baking cookies during special occasions – Manlapaz said he opted to use the best ingredients for his products even if bars him from selling at a lower price.
“While my profit margin is lower, the volume of sales due to the quality of the product compensates for it,” Manlapaz said. “One thing that an entrepreneur must realize is that people will really notice if you substitute an ingredient with something of lower quality. It may not be something you will notice, but those who consume your products will definitely notice.”
This does not mean, though, that Manlapaz does nothing to control his business’ overhead expenses. Manlapaz added that he sought suppliers who provided him the ingredients that he needed at a lower cost. “I started talking to friends and people who are in the business on sourcing some ingredients at lower costs and they shared their own suppliers also,” Manlapaz said.
Now, Manlapaz has a steady flow of clients, allowing him to develop new products. “Especially with food products, you can never compromise the quality. There was one instance when the price of the ingredients really shot up and I had to decide whether to substitute or increase prices; I chose the latter and business remained good,” Manlapaz said.