Honestbeeâs Crystal Gonzalez: âYOLO is our driving forceâ
Crystal Gonzalez, managing director of Honestbee: “We don’t have to spend our bonding time in the grocery or in the mall. With the Honestbee app I can now go to the park or just chill at home with my family on weekends — true quality time.”
Honestbee’s Crystal Gonzalez: ‘YOLO is our driving force’
MISS TECH - Kathy Moran (The Philippine Star) - April 1, 2019 - 12:00am

No wonder 35-year-old Crystal Gonzalez is at the top of Honestbee, Asia’s fastest-growing food and grocery service powered by community and technology. The aim of the company is to make life moments better for all through food, people and technology, and their mission is to make great food experiences accessible to everyone.

“I have to see the product I get involved with as something I need and like,” said Gonzalez, managing director of Honestbee Philippines. “When that is clear to me, I set my goals and passion into making that company work and hopefully become the best in the country.”

A career in tech

As part of the millennial generation, Gonzalez is very familiar with the landscape of her profession. She started out working in a telco (“a traditional job,” she shares) but moved to more groundbreaking jobs as she saw needs that she knew she could fulfill.

She joined Yahoo when it was very new in the country, and then in 2013, she moved to Viber and launched it in the Philippines.

“I remember being so amazed that with Viber, one could communicate with other people for free,” she said. “At that time it was an unheard-of concept in the Philippines and I liked the service immediately, so I took the job.”

She says she was the first employee in the country outside of Israel, where Viber started.

Gonzalez launched Viber and grew it from scratch, securing an efficient team and an office. In less than six months, Viber quickly became big. Filipinos started appreciating the service and using it. The early adopters were the very young people, students, yuppies and some office workers.

“In 2014 I managed Viber Southeast Asia and the main priority market to launch at the time was Myanmar,” she said. “As a result of its instant success in the Philippines, we became Viber’s top country user in the world.”

Gonzalez may throw herself into her work, but at the end of the day she knows it’s just a job, even if it’s one she does well. “But when you have kids, they are your world, as I created them and they will always be there for me.”

Honestbee and ‘You only live once’

In 2017, Honestbee sought her out to head their company in the Philippines. Pregnant with her second child, she knew she could not handle the demands of traveling Viber required, although she was with them up until her eighth month of pregnancy.

Gonzalez said she already knew Honestbee was an online grocery six months prior to them reaching out to her.

As fate would have it, she was grocery shopping when she got a call from Honestbee asking if she would accept their job after her maternity leave. She said yes.

“I was on maternity leave for two months,” she said.  “I didn’t want to travel around the world for a job, but I also realized that I didn’t want to stay home and rest for the rest of my life.”

As a mother, Gonzalez said the service Honestbee provided made sense to her. It would be an app that she and her other friends would use. “I started in Honestbee in February 2017. Most people I knew did not know about the concept of a grocery delivery service,” she shared. “Most of my circle of friends are moms who were looking for service just like what Honestbee offers.”

Before she joined Honestbee, Gonzalez would spend her weekends in three or four stores buying stuff for family. “More so if you have kids; not only do you have to go to one or two groceries for food alone, you have to go to three other stores because the needs are different for toddlers and babies. I would be in a grocery and then have to drive to another store because not everything we needed was in one place,” she said. “And then I had to go to Mothercare for my baby stuff.”

Uncluttered meeting rooms and neat, open spaces in the Honestbee head office allow employees to think and be productive.

With people spending hours in traffic, it becomes a cycle of going to work, buying stuff and then sleeping. “It does not make for a quality life,” observes Gonzalez added. “It is not the way to live.”

It was the need for making life better for all Filipinos that Gonzalez knew she could help at Honestbee. “I started with the mindset of, we don’t have to spend our bonding time in the grocery or in the mall,” she said. “With the Honestbee app I can now go to the park or just chill at home with my family on weekends — true quality time.”

Which is exactly the idea behind Honestbee: first, they want to give you back your time. Second, it makes life easier. You don’t need to carry what you buy to the car. Third, it’s hassle-free, which includes no need to park. No going through traffic, no wasted gas. And, most importantly, no lining up. These are the factors that make Honestbee the success it is today.

“I can be doing my grocery shopping by going to the app and pressing a few buttons while my kids play in my room,” she said. “In no time I am done and I am sure that the grocery and food items I need will be delivered.”

Work with the right people

Gonzalez’s personal formula for success has to do with the quality of the people she hires. “It is one of the things that make us different. I hire not solely looking at CVs. I try to get to what their life story is.”

She believes that getting to know the personality of a person is more important than any skills they might have developed, because skills can be learned but character can’t be taught. “If a person has a bad attitude, that can’t be changed,” she notes. “I also let go of people who don’t have their heart and mind in the right place because it’s what keeps a company down and slow.”

Honestbee has grown in the Philippines, with 260 employees. Every person who works and has worked at Honestbee continues to believe in the process and purpose of the company.

Order what you want

Honestbee delivers not only groceries but takeout food as well. “Our goal is to give our customers convenient access to their favorite foods, whether if it’s through delivery straight to their doorstep or getting them to go,” Gonzalez added.  

You can now order ahead of time and browse through different meal types from Honestbee’s new merchants like Bacolod Chicken Inasal, Outback, Max’s, Dairy Queen, and Greenwich using the new food takeaway delivery option on the app. Select your collection time, place the order, and check the status as it gets ready for pickup. An exclusive discount will also be applied to the subtotal amount of your order depending on the restaurant you choose.

Before we leave the Honestbee office, Gonzalez shares the story that made her the person she is today. “When I was 28, I discovered a lump in my throat that was caused by my thyroid. The recommendation was chemotherapy. I was single and didn’t want to go bald. I realized then I shouldn’t take my precious time in life and career.  I looked for another opinion with a treatment where I would not go bald. It was a wakeup call for me about how short life can be.”

At 35, Gonzalez is married with two young kids, whom she has time to take to the park on weekends. She had made Honestbee the number-one grocery- and food-delivery app in the country. She still wakes up in the morning knowing there is still more to do at Honestbee. “I work with a lot of millennials like myself,” she said. “YOLO is our driving force and to do what we can as soon as we can and then move on to what is next.”

*   *   *

Download the Honestbee app for free on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and sign up for an account now. For information, visit https://www.Honestbee.ph/en/groceries/stores/traits/babies-maternity

CRYSTAL GONZALEZ HONESTBEE VIBER
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