Food and friendship, perfect business mix for three pals
Love for food and long-time friendship brought together Mayang Villacrucis, Mark Pabriaga and Fred Salonoy in starting a home-based cake and pastry business.
Called The 3 Monkeys Cakery, the close to one-year-old business generates customers through the social network, Facebook and through word-of-mouth advertising and recommendations from previous clients. The first product was banana cake.
“We thought it was the easiest cake to make to start our business. We were wrong. Our first client complained that the cake was very dry,” recalled Villacrucis.
They improved their products by watching YouTube and Facebook food videos. They spent long hours in the kitchen to bake and test their products.
Since then, they have baked variations of the banana cake consisting of banana yema, choco, choco overload, cashew and mallows. They also expanded their product line to include egg tart, apple pie and brownie smores.
Villacrucis studied business management at the University of the Philippines Cebu College.
Salonoy studied Civil Engineering while Pabriaga took up Fine Arts, both at the University of San Carlos. Villacrucis and Salonoy have known each other since high school as high school classmates. Pabriaga was Villacrucis’ workmate in a business process outsourcing company back in 2010.
“We did not finish our degrees. Let’s just say we did not take college seriously,” shared Villacrucis.
Being college undergraduates did not stop them from getting employment though. All three have full-time jobs; that is why they need to plan ahead and agree which days of the week they need to bake.
Villacrucis is the one who has always loved baking. Her late father bought her an oven four years ago. She baked for her family but never thought they can start a business using the same oven.
Villacrucis is in charge of buying the ingredients, baking the cakes and pastries and promoting the business on social media.
Salonoy is the resident expert in preparing the dough for the pies while Pabriaga is their in-house innovator who “discovered” the recipe to make their banana cakes soft and moist.
They are currently working on their business name registration with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Next year, they will work on pertinent business requirements and permits.
They also plan to apply for DTI and Go Negosyo Kapatid Mentor Me program so they will be guided in improving and growing the business.
While there is a general belief that relationship between friends goes sour the moment they become business partners, Villacrucis said they have not encountered major fights that affected business operations.
“We understand our differences and eccentricities. I learned that it is okay to have a business with friends even though many people say it is going to destroy the friendship,” she said.
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