Couple turns buko pie love into growing BAM Pies business
Many people enjoy buko pie.
And for Jan Michael De la Viña, his father-in-law was no exception to this love for this buko treat.
His father-in-law would always order buko pie when they get a chance to visit a mall in Cebu City, which has a buko pie store.
And then one day in 2016, the 32-year old De la Viña thought to himself: Why not bake buko pie for his father-in-law himself? After all, he grew up in a family of bakers.
“I thought I can bake him the pies because my Papa taught me the recipe. My father-in-law loved the pie and some of our friends heard of it after several social media posts — they started ordering,” he told Cebu Daily News.
And so, BAM Pies was born — a business started by De la Viña and his Cebuana wife Bonnie in 2016.
Aside from his specialty buko pie, they also sell pineapple pie and egg pie for P240 per box.
Their other products include chunky oatmeal cookies (P45 per pack), Mamacoco or custard-like macaroons (P20), and Negros Pasalubong (P35 to 60).
The business started with a purely online, made-to-order and delivery model.
But in October 2017, they decided to invest in opening a kiosk to exhibit their products at South Town Centre, one of the new malls in Talisay City, which also serves as a pick-up point for their online customers.
De la Viña does the baking himself together with one assistant.
He also manages their social media pages.
Bonnie, on the other hand, takes care of the administration tasks and marketing, sales reports, and taking of orders.
They have three other employees who are assigned for in-store duties like sales and management.
The word “BAM” is a play on their names Bonnie and Michael.
But it also means Buko Pie and more.
De la Viña is from Bacolod City but has been living in Talisay City, Cebu since 2013 after he married Bonnie who is from Talisay.
He finished a degree in nursing at the Riverside College in Bacolod City but has not pursued the profession, apart from doing volunteer work at the Red Cross in Bacolod for two years.
Growing up, De la Viña recalled that he had always dreamed of living in Cebu after always getting amazed at seeing the island when they go on trips to their father’s hometown in Canlaon.
Aside from running the business, he is also working with one of the leading life insurance companies in Cebu now.
It was his relationship with his father, which blossomed over liking buko pie, that inspired De la Viña to also put up the business.
He grew up in a family of bakers but it was his father whom he looked up to the most.
They would spend time talking about the family recipe for their buko pie and how to perfect it.
“I would often call him and he would call me to check on how I was doing with the buko pie, if I was doing the filling or the crust correctly. The pie became the reason why we spend more time over the phone and it also helped our relationship as father and son,” he said.
As a couple, Michael and Bonnie started with just P800 to buy the ingredients of their pie including two aluminum pie plates to bake for his father-in-law and eventually some friends who saw photos on Facebook.
Like any other
business, they also had to endure some challenges especially when they started.
They only had one small oven which can only bake two pies at a time.
And when the orders started pouring in, De la Viña would spend sleepless nights waiting for the pies to bake so he can make more.
Now, he said they are happy with how their business has been picking more and more customers.
With their kiosk at a mall already up, they now get up to 80 to 100 orders a week.
Aside from the support of their family, De la Viña credits the insights they have gained from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in growing their business.
They are part of the DTI’s mentor me program, which he said has played a huge role in how they were able to scale up BAM Pies.
“I am currently enrolled in a mentoring program. I learned so much about growing the business and I also get a lot of inspirations from developing
business people like me,” he said.
Being a small business, De la Viña said they had also come to realize the struggles of other smaller businesses.
This is why they have been getting their ingredients and raw materials from smaller players.
“We buy our resources and ingredients like buko from small-scale buko vendors so we can help them augment their income. If our business grows, they grow with us,” he said.
Aside from their local market, they also have another supplier of buko just near their home.
BAM Pies wants to be known as a source of pasalubong which can be enjoyed not just by locals but also by tourists.
In the future, De la Viña said he wants to partner with tourism stakeholders so they are able to put up pasalubong centers in famous tourist spots in Cebu where they can sell their products as well as that of other small businesses like them.
“Our vision is to give the hapPIEst experience to all Filipinos and
foreigners alike. We look forward to contribute to the country’s tourism (industry). It has always been my dream to bring an excellent pasalubong business in Cebu,” he said.
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