With people still staying home to keep safe, many turn to hobbies to pass the time, stay creative and become more active. This continuous trend urged fitness enthusiast Aencille Santos to start Manila Athletica — a brand inspiring Filipinos to start their fitness journey from home. And with LOCAD helping them fulfill their growing number of orders, Manila Athletica is ready to empower more customers to achieve their fitness goals.
As Manila Athletic grows bigger and stronger, Santos looks back at the journey of her brand, the operational challenges she faced and how end-to-end fulfillment was the right fit for her business which enabled her growth and success.
First business steps
Starting Manila Athletica was a necessary move for Santos. Before starting her business, she was part of the hospitality industry which was heavily hit and put on pause by the pandemic.
“While the world was put to a halt, my bills and obligations were still going. The problem was clear: If I can’t figure out a way to create an opportunity to grow my income, I will lose all my remaining savings to just paying off my bills,” Santos shares. The unforeseen situation got her asking herself how she can generate income using what she already has and if her passions can turn into a business. In both these questions, fitness seemed to be the clear answer.
CrossFit has been part of Santos’ life for years and with the pandemic closing down gyms, she bought a barbell set and plates for a make-shift gym at home last April. She realized that just like her, many Filipinos staying safe at home are investing in quality fitness equipment to stay healthy and safe. Santos also did her research and discovered that fitness equipment is part of the top ten things people bought during the pandemic, which fueled her excitement even more. Armed with her passion for fitness and market knowledge, Santos built Manila Athletica — a fitness brand that encourages Filipinos to start and enjoy their fitness journey.
Manila Athletica’s best-selling products include jump ropes, resistance bands, and exercise mats which have been essential to their customers’ fitness journey. However, as more orders started coming in, Santos began to struggle picking, packing, and shipping out orders on her own. As a way to ensure she was keeping up with both customer orders and logistics, she found a fulfillment partner for her e-Commerce business.
“Upon assessing a shortlist of players, LOCAD topped the list with their impressive system, organized processes, and quality customer service,” says Santos.
Faster fulfillment orders
Before LOCAD, Santos was able to handle the business as a one-woman team. With its explosive growth, however, she started struggling to fulfill orders and maintain good customer service in the face of a very demanding market.
“As someone who transitioned from being an employee to a business owner, it’s difficult to shake off the habit of doing everything yourself. However, a shift in mindset is necessary: no one can do this alone. It’s necessary to move from DIY-ing everything to delegating to team members, in order to further scale up the company,” she explains.
With LOCAD as Manila Athletica’s e-Commerce fulfillment partner, Santos shared how she’s able to ensure the timeliness and quality of order fulfillment with reasonable rates and impressive efficiency.
“I took the jump and I believe I made a good decision. Now, I have more time to focus on business development, marketing, and research,” Santos says. “The LOCAD dashboard enables me to check the status of my sales targets and inventory health any time of the day. Not to mention, the team assigned to me [is] responsive, helpful, and addresses my concerns as a solo business owner.”
With LOCAD in the picture, Manila Athletica has had a 40% increase in positive consumer comments and two to three times faster deliveries. Santos also anticipates increasing their inventory by almost triple since fulfillment by LOCAD enables her to sell more items.
Manila Athletica is expecting to peak during the holiday season, especially after the New Year, with more people motivated to start or resume their fitness journey. But Santos is not concerned about the surge of orders, “My team and I can focus on branding and marketing, and we have zero worries about the order fulfillment because LOCAD has it covered.”
With the brand now growing at a steady pace, Manila Athletica is looking to broaden its inventory by offering new equipment and accessories that will further help its customers achieve their fitness goals. Product innovation and the creation of an athleisure line are in the pipeline. According to Santos, “We will still focus mainly on e-Commerce but will eventually expand to other Asian markets.”
To know more about the products of Manila Athletica, visit the official website, Shopee, and Lazada online stores. For more information on end-to-end fulfillment services, check out LOCAD and how they help Filipino entrepreneurs grow their e-Commerce businesses.