Owner of MLR Souvenirs from Vigan
Just like any small entrepreneur, Lucila Datuin started her business at the bottom of the ladder. With only a P200 capital which she used to purchase a few meters of “abel Iloco” and a portable sewing machine. She began crafting bags which she personally designed.
Not long after she started her micro enterprise, Lucila joined CARD and applied for her first loan of P4, 000.00. She used the amount to acquire a heavy duty sewing machine.
Since Nanay Lucila doesn’t have her own store, the bags they produced are consigned to different souvenir shops in Vigan.
Balik bayans, locals and even foreigners started patronizing her crafts and this encouraged her to expand her business.
Nanay Lucila managed to purchase additional sewing machines from succeeding loans with CARD to support her growing bag making business.
To date, she has 11 sewing machines with 20 employees. She is a very hands-on entrepreneur and personally deals with her clients and handles the design for her products. Her son also helps in delivering the goods and in purchasing raw materials from Bangat, La union and as far as Manila.
MLR Souvenirs now delivers their products to different municipalities in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.
Nanay Lucila’s business generates an average annual sale of P 3,000,000 with P 450,000 profit. Most of it is re-invested in the business while the rest goes to savings which she uses mainly as emergency fund.
But days are not always sunny for Nanay Lucila as her business encounter low sales turnout during off season where few tourists travel to Ilocos. There is also the issue of competitors copying their product designs.
Recognizing that she and her competitors are already doing the same thing, Nanay Lucila plans to offer more merchandise by venturing into T-shirt printing and abaca slipper making. She also aims to enter the market in other provinces and regions.
To be on top of her game, Nanay Lucila learned to play her cards right by offering her products at a more competitive price.
Succeeding as a micro entrepreneur maybe a challenging feat for this single mother of two, but she persevered through continued hard work.
~ Lucila Datuin