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Betting on a hot, hot, hot business!

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva March 26,2017 - 09:38 PM

Marvin Viagedor, owner of Silly Boy Hot Sauce, is coming out with new hot sauce products in June.

Marvin Viagedor, owner of Silly Boy Hot Sauce, is coming out with new hot sauce products in June.

Former salesman risks it all in Silly Boy Hot Sauce venture

Quitting one’s job at a multi-national company, even when a promotion was looming, just to risk it all for a new business venture may sound as silly as silly gets.

But 31-year-old Marvin Viagedor, owner of Silly Boy Hot Sauce, was nothing short of serious when he decided to pursue an enterprise which only his passion for chili pepper fueled.

“I know I was silly to gamble on this, but I was convinced that in the long run, this will be my legacy,” he told Cebu Daily News in an interview.

Viagedor, a nursing graduate from Talisay City in southern Cebu, took sales and marketing as his first job and has paved his way to the top of his career over the years.

During his last stint as a salesman, he oversaw his company’s operations in the Visayas and was one step closer to handling operations in the whole Philippines.

He would have wanted to go higher up the corporate ladder, become a general manager, and eventually invest his retirement funds in a business many years from now.

Decision changer

But in 2012, all this changed when his boss that time told him and his colleagues about the importance of the quick execution of an idea than thinking only about how feasible it would be.

“Why wait until I retire?” he recalled having thought to himself then.

Deciding what kind of business to set up was not as difficult for Viagedor as it is for most starting entrepreneurs.

Since college, Viagedor has been collecting different kinds of hot sauce brands from all over the world, given to him by friends and relatives who travel abroad. He currently has 300 bottles of hot sauce in his collection.

Viagedor said he loves hot sauce so much he even drowns his food in it during every meal.

Since his wife, Nicole Marie, 30, loves to cook and bake, thus was born Silly Boy Hot Sauce.

“I had this mentality that if I can sell products that aren’t even my own, I am sure I can sell something I created,” said Viagedor.

P100K capital

With a capital of close to P100,000 pooled from his and his wife’s savings, the Viagedor couple started operating their small business from their kitchen in Barangay Cansojong, Talisay City in 2015.

At first, they only sold their products through Facebook since both Viagedor and his wife still had full-time jobs.

They sold an average of 240 bottles every month, each priced at P100 to P150 for 150 mL containers and half the price for the 45 mL kind.
Viagedor said during some months, their products were sold out in less than a week.

Silly Boy Hot Sauce currently has three variants including Original, Extra Hot, and Garlic, which all use naturally grown chili peppers from the mountain barangays of southern Cebu.

However, there were some months when Viagedor and his wife got too busy with regular work that they were not able to sell any at all.

DTI program

It was only last year that Viagedor quit his job of three years to focus on his business full-time, after realizing the commitment required when he joined the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Mentor Me program as well as seeing the potential of his venture.

Before he joined DTI’s mentorship program, Silly Boy Hot Sauce was already available at Koa Tree House, Lamiks Chicken and Beer, and The Toy Box and Vape 8 Talisay.

Silly Boy’s sales picked up dramatically after the program wrapped up towards the end of 2016 since DTI had several marketing opportunities lined up for participants like Viagedor.

1,200 bottles sold

From December 2016 to January 2017, Silly Boy was able to sell an average of 1,200 bottles each month, mainly due to the demand during Christmas and Sinulog.

Production of Silly Boy products, however, has been on hiatus since January this year as Viagedor complies with requirements for accreditation with the Food and Drug Authority (FDA).

To get a license, Viagedor said they would need to build a dedicated production facility for their products as well as have all their hot sauce variants tested and approved by the FDA.

Wooing partners

The entrepreneur said he is currently convincing relatives and friends to help fund laboratory expenses and other accreditation-related costs by investing in the venture, and in return get “shares” in the company.

Viagedor said he hopes to get the FDA license by June this year, just in time for the launching of new product lines such as chili powder, chili paste, and chili oil.

Target market

For 2017, Viagedor said he targets to have all local restaurants in Cebu use his products, particularly the Pages-owned Mooon Café.

“I really want to go local because Cebuanos have the tendency to prefer homegrown brands,” he explained.

In five years, he said they target to be available in all retail stores nationwide as well as to be present in all homegrown restaurants in the Philippines.

The goal, Viagedor said, was really to represent Cebu to the whole country and the rest of the world through Silly Boy Hot Sauce.

“It’s funny because when you look at Cebu closely, it looks like a chili pepper. It’s not something you would talk about now, but in 10 years probably, I’m sure something is going to happen,” he said.

And if the brand will make Cebu known as home of the best hot sauce in the Philippines, maybe Viagedor wasn’t so silly to quit his job and start this venture after all.

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TAGS: betting, business, Capital, decision, hot, program, sauce, venture

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