By Trixie de Guzman
Trixie De Guzman worked as a telecommunications and ICT professional, focusing on the fields of marketing and business development. She had a stable job, a flourishing career, good pay, a seat in the boardroom, and the coveted office with a view. But in her heart, she had always wanted to be an entrepreneur.
Her family and friends thought she was crazy leaving all these to pursue her dream of becoming a businesswoman. After experiencing some changes in her then corporate environment, she took it as a sign to finally make that jump and pursue her entrepreneurial aspirations. This is her story.
Today, we are proud to welcome one ambitious “cat lady” to The After Six Club’s Ambitious Tribe. Read on and learn how her love for bags and accessories drive her ambition.
My entrepreneurial side was quite obvious since I was 16 years old. However, for most people, finding a job and entering the corporate world were necessities back then. Even as a corporate employee, I’ve always had this nagging feeling of wanting to pursue my dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
After joining some business workshops and groups in 2017, my path towards an entrepreneurial journey became quite clear and achievable. These groups gave me the courage I needed.
Genuinely Everywhere was established in 2011. The phrase “Genuinely Everywhere” was randomly blurted out by a Kris Rocha, my photographer friend. She took some photos of the leather bag she got from me. She took photos of it everywhere! And that’s how I got my business name.
My love for bags and travel made me choose this line of business. I currently have a home office and a small workshop. Genuinely Everywhere produces genuine leather travel bags and accessories. We design and make bags and accessories based on functionality during travels.
Is it always necessary to be passionate about what your business is about in order for it to succeed?
I believe that being passionate about what you do is the key to a successful business because it makes you feel that the work you do is not work at all.
How did you obtain capital? Were there investors?
A good friend was brave enough to lend the capital. Other than the trust he had, he believed in the concept and the position I wanted to take. Friends helped me along the way, especially in getting my foot at the door of the leather industry. However, building the business from the ground up was mostly a sole effort. As it grew, and the volume of orders increased, I chose to work with family and relatives for specific tasks such as crafting and sewing.
On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate the importance of having a business plan?
Five! It’s very important because having a plan or a path allows one to accomplish milestones faster. It also allows one to identify options in case some plans or strategies do not work.
How did you build your customer base? What form of marketing has been most effective for you so far?
My business is 95% online. I rely highly on Facebook and Instagram in increasing my client base.
How do you generate new ideas for your business’ growth?
Travel experience plays a huge role in coming up with new designs and items to market.
How do you deal with major mishaps? What would you say is one of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
A major mishap I experienced is having a subcontractor and becoming too dependent on one. During the early days, I suffered from the subcontractor’s incompetence due to my dependence on them, hence, the progress slowed down. I had to widen options, especially with suppliers and crafters to ensure continuity in the product delivery.
What skills do you believe are necessary in handling a business?
Flexibility and adaptability. It’s important that the business remains agile enough to keep up with the changing trends, markets, and distribution channels
What would you say are some dos and don’ts in starting one?
Dos: Start a business with passion + vision. You must be hands on. Never stop learning.
Don’ts: Don’t jump into a business endeavor that you are not interested in or have no plans to be involved in.
How much time did you spend working this business out? How long did it take before you started seeing results?
Three months. Within three months, I already had my first corporate client and customers who were outside of my own network of friends and relatives.
Was there ever a time you felt afraid that this might not work? How did you manage this fear?
The fear is always there. But sound strategies, plans, and ideas allow you the flexibility to adjust when necessary.
Describe a typical day for you.
I start each day by replying to online inquiries and emails. I maintain an online presence through posts and interactions on Facebook and Instagram. Then I attend to the production line. I also do some desk work like creating new designs and post layouts. Peppered throughout my day are some crazy cat lady duties.
How many hours of work a day do you put in? How many days per week?
I work between 12 and 14 hours a day, seven days a week. My goal is to lessen work hours to just eight hours despite the increasing volume.
What is your greatest fear?
To not be able to expand the business.
What sacrifices have you had to make to get here?
Lesser travel and inability to work remotely for a specific time period.
What can you consider is your greatest success?
Being recognized as a real entrepreneur.
What would you say is the “secret to success”?
Hard work, hard work, and hard work.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I am my own boss. I love being able to convert ideas and designs into actual products.
What motivates you?
Seeing people I don’t know use my products. It motivates me to reach a bigger client base.
Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
An owner of a well-known brand and trusted supplier of big corporations.
Do you consider yourself an ambitious person?
Yes! Because if you want to be successful and achieve personal goals and ambitions, one must take risks. I know I have taken some risks without regret. That ambition fuels me to work harder, even in trying times, and not quit.
What piece of advice can you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
It’s a rough road but if you have patience and you work hard enough, the sense of fulfillment you get will take you to a better and smooth path.
Edits: Kath C. Eustaquio-Derla | Image Credit: Patricia de Guzman, Genuinely Everywhere
A former telecommunications and ICT professional, Patricia “Trixie” de Guzman now owns and operates Genuinely Everywhere. Her company produces genuine leather bags, kits, pouches, and accessories designed for the modern-day traveler. Genuinely Everywhere incorporates form and function in their designs to make sure you travel in style and with utmost convenience.