Starting small is key to businesses

Published June 14, 2022, 3:29 PM

by Edgard Hilario

If people still judge books by their cover, then they will also judge products by their packaging. But when the budget is already tight during the pandemic, can small businesses still afford great quality? Yes. This is how. 

EntrePouch, a Filipino packaging company, is offering ready-made and customised pouches, which are designed and priced specifically to cater to the various needs of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the Philippines. 

Whereas other packaging companies would require a minimum order of tens of thousands of pieces, EntrePouch can start with as few as 100 ready-made pouches, which is perfect for entrepreneurs who want to test the waters first before diving in too deep. 

“We understand the struggles of MSMEs and want them to know that it’s okay to start small,” said Company President and Chief Executive Officer Jeannine Yu. “If you have an idea and a product, then we can do the packaging for you. Start with 100. Who knows? It might sell like pancakes.” 

Why should MSMEs #PouchIt? 

Unlike other forms of packaging, pouches are versatile and come in different sizes, colors, and materials. It can store more products in less space and at lower cost. But pouches were not available in small quantities, until at least a decade ago. 

EntrePouch started in 2012, when Yu and her sister Jessica Chesa Tan, who is also its managing director, partnered with several companies abroad so they could offer affordable and presentable packaging to local MSMEs without the financial burden of a huge minimum order. 

MSMEs were a neglected market in the packaging industry. EntrePouch’s goal was to help them compete in the retail space. With a minimum order of 100 ready-made pieces, each item can cost a few centavos to more or less P10, depending on the preferred material. Clients can also get custom stickers for as low as 10 pieces, courtesy of its sister company EntreLabel. Thus, the company found its edge. By making quality packaging affordable in smaller quantities, EntrePouch helped give MSMEs an advantage important in any growing business — an access to quality. 

EntrePouch also does customised direct print packaging, which would give the product a distinct look to stand out in a crowded market. Entrepreneurs can start with as low as 1,000 pieces — a service the company continues to offer, even though the quantity is too small to make any profit from. 

Pressures during the pandemic 

The pandemic has changed the market a decade after EntrePouch was launched. Apart from the traditional costs in running a business, COVID-19-related expenses and high inflation rates also add to the financial pressure. Although the economy has recently reopened, many businesses are not out of the woods yet. 

This is why EntrePouch decided to retain the pre-pandemic price of its product, despite incurring higher production costs. By not increasing its price, MSMEs can continue to have access to quality packaging, and help its partner MSMEs get back on track. 

Start small. Grow big. 

Despite the struggles brought about by the pandemic, Yu still believes in the huge potential of starting small and these difficulties should not hinder MSMEs from growth and EntrePouch understands the needs of starting small.

“There were a lot of entrepreneurs approaching us and telling us that they have spoken to other suppliers who required a minimum volume of around 30,000 pieces,” said Yu, who graduated with a degree in Management Engineering from the Ateneo de Manila University. “We have given these clients access and hope to kickstart their vision as they have felt neglected by other suppliers. Many people want to start a business, but most of them want to start small so they can manage their risks.”  

Experience has shown that it was right to support the growth of MSMEs. For example, EntrePouch has clients who started with 100 ready-made pouches until they transitioned to their own customised pouches, such as healthy food retailer Greenola and all-natural sweetener producer Sweet Best. Even though these clients have grown substantially, they continue to trust EntrePouch as their partner for growth.

EntrePouch has also attracted the interest of established businesses. It is currently responsible for some of the packaging of American bakery chain Cinnabon as well as Filipino coffeehouse chain Bo’s Coffee. 

“A lot of our customers had been with us from the beginning and still trust us in all their packaging needs,” Yu said. “We are very grateful and proud to say that we have a lot of entrepreneurs right now where products are already marketed in supermarkets and even exported.”

Growing with EntrePouch

Many of its clients are coffee retailers. But the application of pouch packaging goes beyond food and drinks. It can also be used by businesses that sell cosmetics, raw materials, and fertilizers, to name a few. EntrePouch wants to help businesses start small and eventually grow big. But more than that, it wants to make the ordering process as seamless as possible. 

Orders can be booked online at entrepouch.com, which also provides customers with a broad catalogue of pouch packaging like a stand-up pouch and a flat zip-lock pouch. Moreover, it’s offering a same-day delivery in Greater Metro Manila, an advantage for businesses that need to replenish their inventory at short notice.

“We know first-hand the very high quality of Filipino products, and we hope they choose to do their product good by choosing EntrePouch to grow their business with,” Yu said.

 
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