NECESSITY invented this mother. And the need to raise her own cash brought Nikki Molina-Halili into the world wide web as a businessman.
“I was in college when I thought of being a working student because I wanted to earn my own money,” Molina-Halili told the BusinessMirror in Tagalog. “Gusto ko na din kasi kumita ng sariling pera dahil tatlo kaming magkakapatid na nag-aaral nang sabay-sabay, eh ayaw ng parents ko kaya ayon naisipan ko na lang mag-online business.” [We were three in the family but my mother won’t let me work and study at the same time. So I put up an online business.]
Molina-Halili owns NKN Sweet Shop, an online store on social-networking platforms Facebook and Instagram. Began in 2013 when Molina-Halili was still in her junior year in college, NKN Sweet Shop sells desserts, like cheesecakes in a jar. The NKN stands for the first letter of her name and her son’s and husband’s names: Nikki, 1-year-old Keeno and Nico, a seafarer.
The 25-year-old Molina-Halili graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management at the International School for Hotel and Restaurant Management. Her home in Las Piñas City, which she shares with her immediate, serves as a physical base for her business.
Molina-Halili said her academic background helps her in managing the business.
“As an HRM graduate, I was trained to give customers the satisfaction they deserved,” she said.
Molina-Halili said she also takes influence from her father, who owns a bar and restaurant in Las Piñas City, which is now 20 years old and running. She said it also helps that her recreational activities are cooking, baking and photography.
Molina-HALILI said she spent a trifle when she started her business. She began by posting images of her products. She rolled her initial sales into an investment kitty.
From desserts, Molina-Halili expanded her product line to swimwear, authentic bags and cosmetics for women, which she all order from a direct supplier. The prices range from beginning with P500 and go higher relative to size and style.
She earns an estimated P20,000 a month.
“Napaka-accommodating ni Nikki. Inisa-isa niya talaga i-explain sa akin yung mga swimsuits noon kasi nahirapan akong pumili dahil first time ko bumili sa online,” Sunshine Mangilit, a 19-year-old human-resource student, said. [Nikki is very accommodating. She patiently explained the difference between swimsuits because I had a difficult time to choose as it was the first time I was buying something online.]
Mangilit, a schoolmate of Molina-Halili’s cousin at the Rizal Technological University, was one of NKN’s first customers.
For Harvy de la Cruz, a criminology student at Taguig City University, however, it was love that brought him to NKN’s online doorsteps.
“May date kasi kami noon ng girlfriend ko kaya naisipan ko siyang bilhan ng regalo. Eh sakto naman na yung pinsan kong babae eh na-try bumili sa NKN Sweet Shop. Nagandahan naman yung girlfriend ko doon sa bag na nabili ko [last March] na hanggang ngayon ginagamit niya pa din,” de la Cruz said.[I thought of buying my girlfriend something for our date. It was my cousin who recommended NKN Sweet Shop. I bought her a bag, which she appreciated and still uses until now.]
Molina-Halili said she came up with an online business because it was easy to establish and to advertise products.
She expanded into clothing and bags because she said these are also her favourite things to own.
However, she added an online business like hers also face difficulties, like gaining the trust of clients since the products are virtual. Likewise, competitors sell items at lower prices.
She addresses these difficulties by posting online the proofs the items were shipped and the positive feedback from satisfied customers.
Molina-Halili, however, also plans to establish a physical store.
“Gusto ko din talaga na magkaroon ng physical store. Mas maraming tao kasi ang makakakita lalo na yung mga walk-in clients,” she told the BusinessMirror. “Mas mapapadali din ang transactions. Kasi sa online, kailangan pa nilang mag-antay sa shipment.”[I really want to have a physical store as more people, especially walk-in customers, can see and touch the items. Also, the transaction will be fast and easier unlike in online, they still need to wait for the shipment.]
“For those who are planning to have a business, I advise them to dream big and start on it right away since I started without a capital,” Molina-Halili added. “Everything is on the web; [anything] can be possible.”