by Maia Fortich-Poblete
I first met Fibe Rabaca-Audal in a BPO company where I used to work as an assistant content editor. If I remember it right, that was back in 2009. She was like most of us in that office; followed company rules, performed her tasks efficiently, joined employee activities, and she mingled with everyone.
One particular event that I vividly remember is the company’s monthly (or quarterly?) celebration where we all cosplayed our favorite characters. Fibe was Tinkerbell and I remember taking her photo because I was struck by how appropriate the costume was for her. Several years later, we’ve both moved on to other fields, but we continued to stay in touch (thank you, Facebook!). I was amazed at her transformation. It was like Tinkerbell was finally out of her hiding place and flying through life confidently.
Fibe, who married her high school sweetheart Macky Audal, gradually transformed from a sweet Tinkerbell to a confident woman a few years after she left the company. I remember her selling various stuff on Facebook, something that a lot of my friends do. But Fibe’s story is different because this served as a stepping stone for her. This was what helped her build a small but successful business – one that she is happy and proud of. And one that has helped make life sweeter for her, her family, and many other people.
From her online store, Fibe gained the trust and loyalty of customers, some of whom she didn’t know personally. This led to more opportunities and she soon started selling more products online. Eventually, she opened a physical store, which gave her more loyal clients.
Today, aside from being a Skin Magical franchisee and the owner of Fibe (Fashion in Beauty Enterprise), Fibe also runs Happy Nails and Beauty Lounge.
To find out how Fibe built her business, I asked her some questions that, I hope, will serve as an inspiration for those who are planning to or are already starting to establish their own businesses.
M: What kind of childhood did you have? What kind of games did you play?
F: I can’t remember if I played something like baligya2 when I was kid. But I remember we had a
sari-sari store, a karenderia back then. My mom scolded me because sometimes, I don’t ask permission from her when I wanted to play outside, and no one was minding our mini store. I started helping my mom when I was only five years old.
M: In high school and college, did you already show an interest in business?
F: Yes! My parents’ life was all about businesses. They did not finish college but I will never be ashamed about that. In fact, I am very proud of them.
We had different businesses when I was young. We had a sari-sari store, a karenderia, taxi units, motorela (you can still see them in the city until now), RD jeepney (we sold it after Sendong), and we also bought and sold sweepstakes. We had a Internet café when I was in college. My parents made me the person “in-charge” of these businesses during my free time.
M: You used to work an 8-hour job. What made you decide to switch directions and start working at home?
F: I actually had 2 jobs in Cebu before. One full time job and a part time job! I decided to start working at home when I got married and had kids. I decided to ‘sacrifice’ my career because my kids needed me, since my husband is not always around (He’s a seaman).
M: How did you come up with the idea for your business?
F: Healthy social life? Haha! I used to work the whole day on my online job. I realized that my social health was depleting and so I decided to sell clothes online and do meet ups once or twice a week. I also wanted to make and feel myself beautiful, that’s why I entered the beauty industry. Every time my husband comes home from work (he spends six months abroad), I want to make sure I look beautiful.
M: Can you please narrate what you did/how you achieved your business goals (i.e. successful online shop, physical store, and salon)?
F: I used to work online as a Virtual Assistant, Web Developer and Designer, Graphic Artist, etc.
I used to last a week without going out of the house. I was a workaholic and was even nocturnal. My husband was worried because he felt it was unhealthy for me. A friend introduced me to online selling. I decided to give it a try – for my social health, since I can do a once a week me which eventually became twice a week meet ups. The demand increased, especially my beauty products. I directly import them from Thailand. I also do bulk and wholesale purchases for some local products.
Eventually, I decided to rent a little space in a shop in Divisoria. God has blessed me with satisfied clients and they had a lot of referrals. I had to get a bigger space and my own little shop. I stopped working onine and decided to focus on my business since I was also pregnant with my 3rd child at that time. Then an opportunity came and a new product was introduced to me: to become the first and only franchisee in Misamis Oriental for a particular product – I spent almost all of my savings for that product.
Some of my clients rejected the new product I introduced to them. But I did not think of giving up because that’s all I had. I invested majority of my savings in that product. I just posted and marketed the product – with the help of my friends, too. This brand finally became known in the city, the province, and the country. It was even featured on ABS CBN and TV5.
M: What are the valuable lessons you learned in your journey? And what would you like to say to those who would like to follow your path?
F: Get into something that interests and excites you. In my case, I’d like myself to feel beautiful. Using beauty products is not bad. If you feel beautiful, your self-confidence also boosts, right? Why not make other people feel confident, too?
Business is not all about money. It is also about sharing the good things you have learned. It is also imparting to them your blessings – and I mean also giving them businesses. My clients, I taught them to also sell beauty products – some of them are now my distributors and also to share their blessings withtheir clients as well. It makes me feel really good when some people send me messages thanking me because I helped them with their financial needs. Some even passed their exams for employment abroad and the money they used was the profit they got from the business I shared with them. You see, business is equal to money. But business with a heart to help is something different – and fulfilling.
M: What are your plans for your business and for your family (at this point in your life)?
F: Plans – still praying for it. Because no matter how you work hard for it, if you do not pray for it, God will not grant it. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7.
I hope Fibe’s story inspires you to never give up on your dreams. May her story inspire you to finally start working on that plan you keep postponing. There’s no better time to start than now, and there’s no better way to succeed than to believe in what you can do. (And please, don’t forget to pass on your blessings to others along the way!)
Fibe is located along Pabayo and Hayes Street
Happy Nails and Beauty Lounge is along Pabayo and Gaerlan Streets (FB: @happynailsandbeautylounge)