From K-pop stores to online bakeshops: Resilient MSMEs lead economic recovery


As COVID-19 community lockdowns and mobility restrictions drag on, MSMEs have sustained their businesses in creative and innovative ways more than one year on.

From K-pop stores to online bakeshops, small business entrepreneurs bring simple joys and pleasures to the comfort of one’s home. 

One of these online shops is Cheotnun PH (@cheotnunph on Instagram), which is a Philippine-based Kpop shop where people can order various K-pop products. The shop also offers “pahanap” (sourcing) or “pasabuy” (group buy) services for Kpop items not found in their site. Some of the albums and merch sold by the shop are from K-pop superstars including BTS. 

“As fans of K-pop ourselves, we get excited whenever we anticipate the arrival of our albums or merch. We thought it would be a great idea to be able to share this excitement with other K-pop fangirls and fanboys in the Philippines,” said Anthea Patricio, who is one of the owners of Cheotnun PH. 

With more businesses shifting to digital and online platforms, the country’s largest integrated telco PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications support MSMEs nationwide through connectivity and digital platforms. 

The Hallyu wave has seen the rise of online shops which provide fandom (a twist on the words fan and kingdom) access to merchandise of K-pop superstars. These include K-pop albums and other products, which range from clothing to accessories and even bedroom essentials such as pillows and blankets. 

#StayAtHome with home essentials 

As Filipinos stay home to ensure their safety and protection, many MSMEs also thrive by creating unique products and scents for one’s home.

DOMA Essence (@domaessence on Instagram) is a shop that focuses on candles and fragrances. Co-founder and owner Jay Avellana shared, that aside from his full-time job working in their family business, DOMA Essence is his passion project. 

According to Avellana, technology and the demand to create more seamless experience for third-party logistics played a critical role in helping them manage their logistics – from sourcing to producing and all the way to delivering their products online. 

“We are firm believers of social media and tech when it comes to brand building. Social is one powerful platform to get your message out there especially when we are talking about delivery brand value. If our customers are happy with our product and they are able to share their DOMA Essence experience, we know that we are doing something right and we strive to multiply that experience exponentially,” Avellana said. 

Meanwhile, Made and Mood (@madendmood on Instagram), a mom and pop online shop based in Manila, sells modern and minimalistic homeware pieces. Made and Mood offers retail, wholesale and custom-size production for boxes and baskets. Founder and owner Christine Pangilinan shared that the shop was established in 2018. Since then, she started investing in furniture and accent pieces, which helps one’s place feel more cozy and comfortable. 

“This pandemic has hastened a lot of aspects in the retail and online business industry,” Pangilinan said. 

“In order to make our business thrive and remain resilient amid the pandemic, I always have two words in mind: innovate and diversify. It is important to strengthen our brand’s online presence and explore different sales channel for the business. Social media is an essential leg to keep the business strong. It gives us a platform to build a community, engage and interact with our audience as well as showcase our voice,” Pangilinan said. 

Golden Cookies for everyone

Golden Cookie (@goldencookieph on Instagram) is an online pastry business selling cookies, cinnamon rolls, and other types of sweets. Pursuing her love for baking, founder and owner Diane Gollon established Golden Cookie in 2013. 

According to Gollon, her business thrived amid the pandemic. “With the surge of online ordering, my sales grew so much. I was baking multiple batches morning and afternoon every day, 7 days a week, and all leads were from my Instagram and Facebook pages,” she said. 

“Having to stay home due to lockdown, I was able to really pour all my heart into Golden Cookie and we grew so much at that time, it was definitely a blessing in disguise. I enjoyed it the most because it gave me something productive to do at home,” Gollon added. 

According to Gollon, creating a strong social media presence and a brand identity is crucial for businesses nowadays. With so many online businesses and start-ups coming into play, it is crucial to know what makes a business stand out. Focusing on one’s expertise, creating quality products and investing one’s time are crucial in building one’s business. More than anything, building rapport and having a good customer-support strategy ensures a business to thrive and for customers to be happy and satisfied. 

To deliver great customer experience, PLDT Enterprise offers its latest solution, BEYOND FIBER, which empowers businesses to continue their operations with minimal service disruption. The BEYOND FIBER offers faster internet connectivity with boosted minimum speed, which is three times higher than regular fiber connections. 

PLDT Enterprise's BEYOND FIBER becomes the most reliable partner for MSMEs as it enables businesses to go beyond with its business-grade fiber and curated digital solutions.