A medical student’s best friend is often caffeine as training to be a physician entails long study hours and overnight call duties. This habit of drinking coffee for energy boosts led to the launch of digital coffee shop start-up MD Brews; it started with Abbygale Lumanglas who read transcriptions and studied presentations with a cup of coffee always by her side. Lumanglas and her partner, Gabriel Jorge Habunal, aptly coined the name of their caffeine haven “MD Brews” a mix of the title “Doctor of Medicine” and the process that produces a delightful beverage. Today, they also share their joy through cloud logistics partner LOCAD who reliably and efficiently delivers little bags of caffeine, coffee syrup, and other home barista necessities to their customers’ doorsteps.
Sharing the caffeine miracle from one med student to another
As a med student, Lumanglas knows the struggles of studying 24/7 all too well. She and Habunal also realized that the pandemic lockdowns did not have to stop that delightful coffee-drinking experience. They set up MD Brews with the simple but powerful mantra: “Be your own barista at home.”
Habunal shares how their vision also caught on beyond their immediate customer base: “Medical students were the primary target audience for our business at first. Then we noticed that there were students from different disciplines and backgrounds who started buying some of our products.” Currently, MD Brews offers a variety of items, from locally sourced ground and drip coffees to coffee syrup and sauce.
After gaining sudden traction, the couple decided to broaden their reach and focus solely on working to be a niche coffee brand catering to the caffeine kick of young professionals. However, the courage to handle more orders is not enough for business expansion, a lesson the couple learned the hard way.
Selling the beauty of daily coffee fix with LOCAD
“Before tapping the help of LOCAD, we could not cope with the high volume of orders,” Habunal recounts. It added more pressure on the couple because most coffee lovers want their coffee grounds and drip bags delivered as soon as possible. That is why delivery speed is of utmost importance to the owners. He further recalls that because they were in charge of every aspect of the business — from marketing, repacking, down to connecting with suppliers — handling fulfillment was “quite tedious to handle.”
Describing their traditional inventory tracking as “hard and complicated,” Habunal stresses that he and his team had to manually incorporate data into spreadsheets or with a pen and paper before teaming up with LOCAD.
But since enlisting the help of LOCAD’s fulfillment service, the process has become smoother. Habunal describes LOCAD’s technology as “user-friendly” as the system enables them to keep track of their supplies and access details of inventory in real-time. The owner also underscores that LOCAD’s competitive advantage is its safe storage facilities which make keeping caffeine products fresh a breeze.
Labeling their partnership with LOCAD as a pivotal turning point for MD Brews, Habunal details, “By having LOCAD assist us on the fulfillment and packaging needs, we were able to focus on promoting the products. If we did not focus on marketing at that time, we would not have reached what we have now.”
Their decision to outsource fulfillment also proved to be worthwhile as MD Brews grew to be a rising e-commerce brand, resulting in a 100% revenue increase and a preferred seller status which is among the most sold products in their product line. “It has been continuous sales and we have experienced a boost in our sales by a lot,” Habunal adds.
The coffee culture
Equally important in the ascent of MD Brews is the country’s café culture which has been booming over the past few years, especially in Metro Manila. Right now, people do not only want to receive and drink coffee; they want to have a personal hand in making it or becoming their own baristas.
Enjoying coffee can be a journey, encouraging both Habunal and Lumanglas to continually deliver the ultimate coffee experience.
The couple believes in the power of the beverage, especially during moments of productivity, and has tremendous respect for their customers who have made drinking — and preparing it — their lifestyle. Right now, they envision guiding more coffee lovers, medical students or otherwise, to be their own baristas in their coffee nooks.