How to make your product sell like bibingkas

WORDSWORTH - Mons Romulo - The Philippine Star
How to make your product sell like bibingkas
Bodjay and Timmie Samaco.

The bibingka is one of the favorite desserts in the Philippines, mainly served during the Christmas season. It is a type of cake made out of rice flour, baked in clay pots heated with charcoal, topped with a generous amount of margarine, salted eggs and local cheese.

The good news is we can now enjoy our favorite Filipino rice cake all year round, thanks to Bojay and Timmie Samaco, who started Bibingka Manila through an improvised way of baking using metal equipment.

It all began in 2019 when Timmie and Bojay decided to join a dessert fair at the Power Plant Mall. Their bibingka had positive reviews, clients kept coming back for more. They liked the taste and complimented the elegant packaging. During the pandemic, they wanted to keep their employees, so she and her husband decided to go online.

Timmie is a graduate of De La Salle University, where she took up Psychology and Marketing Management. She credits her mom Pinky Hilado as her inspiration in this venture. “While my dad Jun is into real estate, building apartments, I probably took after my mom, who has always been an entrepreneur. She used to export wooden products and supply different stores like Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel. My mom has always been on the creative side and she had different businesses growing up,” Timmie proudly shares.

Bodjay and Timmie with their children Lorenzo and Jaime.

It was Timmie’s love for bibingka that inspired her to elevate this local dessert through sleek and elegant black boxes wrapped with a gold ribbon.

“Bojay and I started experimenting on new flavors during the start of the pandemic. We wanted to innovate and create different flavors for our clients. We started doing ube bibingka, which has pure ube halaya and cheese inside,” adds Timmie.

Bibingka Manila now offers, aside from the original and ube flavors, suman latik bibingka with truffle bacon, seasonal four-cheese and salted egg lava bibingka. They now have five branches (SM Pasig, SM Meganall, Robinsons Magnolia, Landmark BGC, Landmark Alabang and soon, Landmark TriNoma). Bibingka Manila is also a regular at the Katutubo Pop-Up Market in BGC and the bazaars in SM Aura and Bakers Dozen at Power Plant Mall.

After four years in the business, including the pandemic years, Timmie shares with young entrepreneurs her top 10 pieces of advice for putting up a food-stall business.

1. You must have an excellent product. Good marketing will only go so far, but if you really have a good product, then there will be a higher chance of success.

2. Foot traffic isn’t everything. Know your target market. Depending on the product, we look for places with high purchasing power.

3. Always be innovative and never be complacent. The market is very competitive, especially in the food industry, so you always have to have an edge.

4. Know your competitors. Study the market before you enter it. Don’t be shy to ask for help. Before we launch a flavor, we make our friends and family try it first. We value constructive criticism.

5. Have the right people in place and learn to delegate. Look for people who can do the job as well or better than you.

6. Value employees and reward them accordingly. Keep them happy. It’s easier to hire than to retain really good people. Setting your compensation higher than market may benefit you in the long run. You will be able to get the good ones and employee turnover will not be fast.

7. Joining bazaars is a good way to test your product. This will also be a gauge if you are ready to commit to retail spaces.

8. If you are planning to go into business, do it right. Plan well. Don’t settle and work hard for it.

9. Have a solid business plan before you start. Make sure to have good relationships with your suppliers.

10. Learn how to deal with different kinds of people. It’s easy to gain new customers, but it’s hard to retain loyal customers. Have good customer service. *



We welcome your suggestions and comments. Please e-mail me at [email protected]. Follow me on Instagram @monsromulo.

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