On Handling Failure, According To 10 Successful Pinoy Entrepreneurs



Agosto. Buwan Ng Wika. I promised that I'll be writing about Filipino brands, products, and personalities this month to honor my being Filipino. Today, I gathered some of the notable business personalities in the local Beauty Industry to tell us a bit about business, passion, love, and handling failure, which I believe is just as important as striving for success.


FAILURE


They say this is vital to success, but it isn't a pretty and happy place--the mere idea of it is enough to make people shudder and throw in the towel. It's like the dark forest that you should get through before arriving at the enchanted valley.

But is Failure really that bad? Is it really a grim place to be in? These 10 mighty successful Filipinas have been to the land of Failure once and for some, for so many times already, and they're here to tell you that it's not-so-good, but you will survive. Moreover, they also want to tell you that more than being the key to success, Failure is also a place for contemplation, a source of genuine strength, and the true teacher of humility.

Read on and be inspired today. :)

1. Tab Abad- Managing Director, Harem Inc. (Strip, Browhaus, My Amazing Blow-Dry Secret,  SCO, Tangle Angel)
My fave advice: Be realistic,  know when to ask for help, and learn to move on.  You don’t need to be alone to solve any problem. 

Is Failure necessary to achieve Success? 

Why or why not? Its about mindset, I don’t consider something that didn’t go as planned as failing, its more about picking up the pieces and learning from there.  To be successful or considered successful, you need to look at the journey in getting there, it makes it more relevant and meaningful.

Did you ever encounter failure in business? If yes, how did you handle it? 

I don’t like thinking of failure but more as challenges or road blocks, and the best way to handle any challenge is to face it head on.  Be realistic,  know when to ask for help, and learn to move on.  You don’t need to be alone to solve any problem. 

Your advice for budding entrepreneurs? 

First and probably the most important is to do something you love. Not for the money, not for the fame, but bec its your passion. Everything else secondary. A good idea born out of passion will go a long way Be original and different. 

2. Cheryl Tan- Chua- President, Beautybox Corp. (K-Palette, Kracie, CURE)
My Fave Advice: Get into something you are passionate about and be gritty!  

Is Failure necessary to achieve Success? Why or why not?


Yes, failures are necessary for success. However, they will only contribute to success if we allow them to become lessons and not look at them as setbacks. 



Did you ever encounter failure in business? If yes, how did you handle it?


Yes, I have had my share of failures and it does take some time and experience to be able to handle them well. I handle failures by acknowledging and facing them as they are. I assess how the effects of the mistakes can be minimized. Next, I analyze the situation by retracing my steps to understand how and why they went wrong and identify the lessons to learn for my future dealings. It also helps when I get to open up to entrepreneur friends who have experienced failures as well. 


Your advice for budding entrepreneurs?


Get into something you are passionate about and be gritty!  


3. Angela Dinglasan- General Manager, Zenutrients
My Fave Advice: Failure can teach you essential skills and traits that will make you a better person, in business and in life

Is Failure necessary to achieve Success? Why or why not?

YES! Failure is part of life, and to be honest sometimes you learn more from failure than success; when you find yourself having to work around a problem, it encourages you stand up again, to become creative, to become persistent, to find new ways of looking at things, to reach out for help too. In other words, failure can teach you essential skills and traits that will make you a better person, in business and in life.

Did you ever encounter failure in business? If yes, how did you handle it?

Yes of course. I have encountered many instances of failure. Well, it really depends on what exactly happened, but I’ll give a specific example. When we first started Zenutrients, no malls wanted to give me a spot. I approached them all, your SM’s, Robinson’s, Megaworld, Ayalas too. At first I was depressed, it was hard to hear no again and again. But I realized I needed to pick a few who I felt I had a small chance with, go back again and again, and make them love my products and my persistence enough that they will say yes and give me a spot. It took me a year to get someone to say yes! But after that, everything snowballed quickly, and we even had to turn offers down, and after a little over 2 years we have over 40 outlets.

Your advice for budding entrepreneurs?


I’ve said this before and I will say it again: for me there are three key things. First, gain experience. Try and work in the industry you are interested in, for another company. Learn from companies that are established; this gives you experience, builds your confidence, and in a way it’s a test to see if you do like that industry or not!

4. Lia Andrea Ramos- CEO, Glamourbox
My Fave Advice: Surround yourself with experienced entrepreneurs to guide you when you build your business.


Is Failure necessary to achieve Success? Why or why not?

I think failure is a great teacher to accomplish success though it is not necessary in every endeavor to achieve success. Some people who go through failures come back with greater passion and drive to achieve their goals. There are others who are more calculated and all elements fall into place when they execute their plans and become instant successes. What’s important is to stay driven and committed to your goals, whether you have previously failed or not.

Did you ever encounter failure in business? If yes, how did you handle it?

Glamourbox is my first business venture and I continue to meet challenges as we grow the business. There are things that work, and things that don’t work. I stick with what works and learn from the things that don’t. It is important to cut your losses early and re-strategize when needed.  Being an entrepreneur is tough but it builds your character and you just have to keep going to be successful. 

Your advice for budding entrepreneurs?

Surround yourself with experienced entrepreneurs to guide you when you build your business. Having mentors and/or people you can throw ideas with aid you to become better at what you do. Build your network and get to know other entrepreneurs, you will also learn a lot from each other and it could lead to new opportunities!


5. Sophie Uy- Proprietor, Megaluxe Marketing (Charm Brushes)
My Fave Advice: Don't be afraid to fail. Don't be too hard on yourself.


Is Failure necessary to achieve Success? Why or why not?

This is a tricky question. I would have asked myself what I would be right now if I never encountered failure. I would say that it is not entirely necessary or imperative to fail to be able to succeed, but failure can be beautiful as it further refines, and strengthens your character as an entrepreneur.  Depending on how you look at failure, I would have to say that if you see on a positive perspective, you get to evaluate, see where you have done wrong, and further strategize and do better for your next moves. As you become aware of the mistakes that you have committed that made you fail, you gain more wisdom, and will be more careful, and know what you do in your next endeavors.

Did you ever encounter failure in business? If yes, how did you handle it?

Yes! Definitely. I remember that I have cried buckets several times because of failing here and there. I felt that I was not fated to be a great entrepreneur, and I was fed with all those lies in my head! My Dad, who was self-made man and a businessman that I respect and admire so much pulled me up from my crying spree, shook me ( lovingly, of course! ) and told me that I must not give up because this is just the beginning of my journey. He has gone through so much failures in his life, and he was still standing, and doing great. I must forego my emotions getting the best on me and focus on how to remedy the situation, as there was always a solution to every problem. He told me that it was not the end of the world for every failure I stumbled into. He told me that for every rejection, there were other opportunities that I must open my eyes to. It made me shed away my tears and stand up. I began being less emotional and stopped wallowing, and just focused on the future, doing my best in everything I do. After that, I would just see failure as something that you might encounter on a day by day basis. Failure ends on the day it occurs. The next day is all about new possibilities and fresh beginnings. :)

Your advice for budding entrepreneurs?

Don't be afraid to fail. Don't be too hard on yourself. Perfection is only for robots. The beauty of an entrepreneur's experience are the tears that she has cried, and the bliss that she would experience, just because she put her entire heart into what she does. Do your very, very best, as if you are doing things for God, and God in His perfect will and time will determine the results of your business. For every failure that He gives you, look at it on a positive perspective - that there might be lessons needed to be learned, or things that must be changed. Failure won't kill you. Failure will make you better.


6. Nats Toh- Co-Founder and Operations And Creative Design, Sample Room
My Fave Advice: Don’t also second guess yourself because if you don’t believe in yourself then how will you expect people to do the same.


Is Failure necessary to achieve Success? Why or why not? 

Yes, I believe so.  Failure is a good teacher where you can learn and not repeat the same mistake again. It will also help you grow as an individual because you experience something you haven’t experienced before. 

Did you ever encounter failure in business? If yes, how did you handle it?

Yes, I used to sell garment overruns in Greenhills Tiangge for 2 years. But it didn’t work out as expected because I cannot directly get a stall from Ortigas Management, hence, making my rent way too expensive.  I believe this became the hindrance to successfully continue on since overhead is way too high.

Another contributing factor is overstocking. I had so much inventory which cannot follow the fast pace demand of the market. I realized that you need to keep on changing your merchandise to entice buyers. Take note, one cycle in GH tiangge only runs for 24days, after which, you need to move again.

After 2 years, I stopped and moved on in finding another business.  As a business minded person, one failure should not stop you, rather it should inspire you to go on. Fortunately, I had another opportunity to start a new business, which is called Sample Room – a sampling website that allows you to “Try Before you Buy”.

Sample Room has been operating for 2.5 years, and I cannot be more than happier to see it grow every day.

Your advice for budding entrepreneurs?

Don’t let failure discourage you in trying. Follow your instincts, believe in your passion and try again. Don’t also second guess yourself because if you don’t believe in yourself then how will you expect people to do the same.


7. Darlyn Ty- President, Viviamo Inc. (BDJ Box and BDJ Power Planner)
My Fave Advice:  ...Success like most things in life is a cycle. If you stop, you won’t be able to sustain it for long. 


Is Failure necessary to achieve Success? Why or why not?

Yes. In one of my favorite movies “Meet the Robinsons”, “In failure you learn, in success not so much.” I believe failures big or small make us stronger and strive for bigger and better things. When you’ve overcome something challenging, worthwhile, difficult, I believe that’s the only time you can truly say you have achieved success.

However, it doesn’t mean if you’ve achieved success – you’ll continue to be successful. If you stop working on something (even if you’re already successful), eventually you will lose your success. I read somewhere, success like most things in life is a cycle. If you stop, you won’t be able to sustain it for long. 

Did you ever encounter failure in business? If yes, how did you handle it?

A lot of times. But I won’t necessarily call it failure. I believe in the power of mindsets, and I choose to see them as challenges that I have conquer. 

Every challenge is different, most of the time (especially when you handle your OWN brand), it’s emotional. It’s important to be able to step back and ALWAYS be objective. For me, regardless of the costs, it’s important to always be fair. Treat partners, clients, customers how you want to be treated – be fair, just, sincere and kind. Though clients or customers may not always be happy with your answer – I believe they appreciate your being “fair” and sincerity. 

Your advice for budding entrepreneurs?

It’s a LOOOOOT of hard work. Just because you call the shots doesn’t mean you will have things in control. There are lot of things that will be outside your control. You need to be smart and quick in providing solutions. You need to committed to developing yourself. Always, always, always read and research about various things. Be curious. You never really know when something you’ve read would help you. Your business can only grow as much as you grow. So don’t stop growing.


Work hard. Mentally, emotionally and physically. It’s not supposed to be easy. Otherwise everyone would be doing it. :)

8. Michelle Asence Fontelera- President And Founder, Zen Zest Asia
My Fave Advice: You can look at failure at different ways.  Its either something that will bring you down or something that you learn from. 

Is Failure necessary to achieve Success? Why or why not?

You can look at failure at different ways.  Its either something that will bring you down or something that you learn from.  If it is a learning experience, then it is not considered as a failure, but rather as a learning curve with just a bit of a bump so to speak.  The road to success, more often then not, has a lot of learning curvesJ  In my case, I have been in business for 14 years and until now I am still learning a lot of things.  It is not necessary, but it is something that you cannot avoid.

Did you ever encounter failure in business? If yes, how did you handle it?

I have had a lot of mistakes in my 14 years in business. Hey! I’m only human and I’m not a super genius! Hahaha! During my first few years, to be honest, I go ballistic and wild! I would shout and get so angry.  But I have learned through the years to just let go, move on and learn from it. 

Your advice for budding entrepreneurs?

My advice for budding entrepreneurs is that they should never stop learning.  They should never rest on their laurels and think that they are the greatest thing on earth because there will always be someone with a better idea, much better talent and so on. But I believe there is more than enough room for everybody.   They should never stop improving themselves and their business. Most importantly, they should be passionate about their business.


9. Rissa Mananquil- Trillo- Co- Founder and Chief Brand Officer, Happy Skin Cosmetics
My Fave Advice: Do what is right, not what is easy.

Is Failure necessary to achieve Success? Why or why not?

Mistakes—not failure—are necessary to achieve success. When starting your own business, failure should never be an option. 

Did you ever encounter failure in business? If yes, how did you handle it?

It was a challenge creating a beauty brand in an environment where the word "local" has yet to be embraced by consumers attracted to anything "imported" (a colonial mentality is still prevalent in our society). But my partner, Jacqe Yuengtian Gutierrez, and I wanted to change this. From day one, we aspired to be a global Pinoy brand. The success of Happy Skin proves that Filipinos are ready to embrace homegrown brands that offer world-class quality.

Your advice for budding entrepreneurs?

The same as my mantra in life: Do what is right, not what is easy.

10. Mikki Galang- Managing Director, Digify Marketing Solutions Corp.
My Fave Advice: There are ways wherein you can try to minimize failures in the business. It helps when you've had experience from previous work.


Is Failure necessary to achieve Success? Why or why not?

A lot of times, yes. But there are ways wherein you can try to minimize failures in the business. It helps when you've had experience from previous work especially because a start-up business entails a lot of risks. It also helps providing contingency plans with financial analyses and simulating business scenarios. Then from there, combine it with your business instinct and I think that you can achieve more 'yes' in your venture.

Did you ever encounter failure in business? If yes, how did you handle it?

Of course. In the digital marketing/PR industry, for example, there is a growing trend for less structured programs that allow more user-generating stories and interactive content from online users and influencers but most of the agencies are still traditional in their approach (paid advertisements, canned PR content, big non-individualizing events). And in the digital world, everyone in the ecosystem should act fast and adapt easily. We realized this  bigger opportunity before, but acting on it is just as important so we went back to the core values of our company and redesigned our services to fit all these. Now, a lot of our clients (and potential ones) recognize the services that we offer and we are very happy with that. 

Your advice for budding entrepreneurs?

I think that if you have the business idea that fits an important industry or consumer need, protect and nurture it. Don't be afraid to grow and act hastily, but you should calculate your step and combine it with your business feel. 

Now which personality can you relate to? :)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beauty. Fitness. Fashion. Food. Travel. Unicorns. World Peace. Digify Corporation.

11 Lovely Thoughts

  1. Wow. I found myself a bit teary eyed as I was reading this. I've dealt with failure myself and it hurt me in many ways but like what some of these succesful women have said, learn from it and move on. One particular line from Sophia Uy struck me the most: "Don't be too hard on yourself." Ahh. I, myself, am guilty of being to hard on myself. Only now did I realize that I don't get the results I want if I constanly pressure myself. Of course I should work hard but sometimes I should give myself a break and show me some lovin' from time to time. Another line that struck me was from Nats Toh. She said, "Don’t also second guess yourself because if you don’t believe in yourself then how will you expect people to do the same." Ay. This hit me so hard it made me a bit teary eyed. I am about to take a very important exam but I have no confidence and I doubt if I will make it. But when that time comes, I know the only thing that can help me is my confidence and faith in myself. Ugh. That phrase was so, soooo good.

    Thank you so much for this post. Sharing this with us is really inspiring. Thank you!

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  2. Really inspiring. Thank you so much for this post. I really admire these women and it's good to read their insights about such things. Again, thanks ^_^

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  3. These women <3 so inspiring! I actually have a hidden dream of becoming a company CEO or something :)

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  4. This is so inspiring! Reading insights and advices from wonderful women is instantly an inspiration. Great post ms.martha! <3 Thank you so much:)

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  5. Wow, this is so inspiring. Just the post I needed right now. I've read each and every post. I can relate to each of them in some ways. I just love how unique they see and perceive failures. I also admire their advices to everyone. Truly role models. :) Oh, I've seen Ms. Darlyn during BDJ events and I love how hands on she is! Talagang inaasikaso niya kaming bellas. :D Nakakatuwa

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  6. Ohhh, this is so timely for me. Something motivating and empowering at the same time. More please... Kidding aside, I do appreciate your effort in gathering their life stories one by one. These ladies truly teach me to dream big and never give up. This is such a good read to all ladies out there.. Cheers to our dreams.. 🌟👍👸

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  7. I agree with the two women who said that challenges and mistakes (not failure) are part and parcel of success. These errors help us grow, improve, and be the best that we can be. The important thing is that we learn from our mistakes. I love Tan-Chua's advice: "Get into something you are passionate about and be gritty!" It's just about everything we need to be happy in life! <3 Thank you for empowering Filipinas in your own personal way :) Keep it up, Martha! ~Starr

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  8. I agree with the two women who said that challenges and mistakes (not failure) are part and parcel of success. These errors help us grow, improve, and be the best that we can be. The important thing is that we learn from our mistakes. I love Tan-Chua's advice: "Get into something you are passionate about and be gritty!" It's just about everything we need to be happy in life! <3 Thank you for empowering Filipinas in your own personal way :) Keep it up, Martha! ~Starr

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  9. So inspiring! Some of the ladies are already those who I look up to!
    Their advice not only applies to building your business but in climbing up the corporation world as well, if business is not for you (like me).

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  10. Ms. M! Thank you for the opportunity of letting us learn from them. Based from it, they were also humans and they were able to recognize mistakes, but saw it as an opportunity and learning. Salute to all the Filipina entrepreneurs. More power and God bless us all! :)

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  11. I love Rissa's answers: Brief yet concise but packs a punch! This line struck me the most, "Do what is right, not what is easy." I am so empowered with this interview because not only did you feature people behind LOCAL products, all of them happened to be WOMEN. I admire them so much, their brand has really grown. I also believe that success doesn't taste as good when you don't experience hardships or failures in achieving it.

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Thank you for your comments!