A story of redemption for ‘Redempto’ – how a 58-year old ‘sari-preneur’ found his way up with technology and a new motorcycle

In the remote community of Oton, Iloilo, in the Philippines, a man with quite a unique name capitalized on his self-belief and embarked on an exhilarating venture. With a mere P6,000 in capital, Redempto Balbero Pagatpat, 58, with his wife as his partner, banked on his vision and established a small sari-sari store.

Bumps in his business journey

It was an exciting time for Redempto and his wife to run their own business, but they were not spared by problems that new entrepreneurs often encounter. He adopted what he described as an ‘aggressive’ way of running his business by handing loans to his suppliers. However, he did not foresee the possible challenges that may arise. Some of the checks from his suppliers bounced and other loans were not paid, leaving his sari-sari store with debts and a significant financial loss of over a million. Issues like overstocking items and not getting a loan from some suppliers also piled up.

His small business also suffered when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country. Because of the limited mobility and travel restrictions implemented, he had a hard time attending to his customers from different barangays and towns. He recalled going back and forth to numerous local government offices to secure quarantine passes to keep his business going.

Overcoming challenges

Despite facing business woes, Redempto persevered to make his small venture thrive.

He recounted they were able to pick his business up by recalibrating his approach. They focused on negotiating with big dealers, doing wholesale transactions, and going around nearby towns to sell their products. He shared he learned about the system of Unilever through data analytics startup Packworks, where he later availed big discounts.

More unfolding events

Redempto may not be social media savvy but he still decided to join the Packworks’ online show “Sari Supershow: Pasasalamuch” on Facebook. To his surprise, a Packworks representative informed him that he had won a motorcycle, the contest’s grand prize, out of many sari-sari stores that participated in the show.

“Super suwerte ko dahil sa bilog ng Pilipinas, ako pa ang nakakuha ng grand prize. Sa ngayon ginagamit ko lang ang motorsiklo sa pagpunta sa bangko at malapitang order at ginagamit ko upang mag-ikot sa mga interior barangays at pumunta doon para kumuha ng order,” he expressed.

(I’m super lucky because out of all the people in the Philippines, I was the one who got the grand prize. Currently, I am using the motorcycle to go to the bank and nearby customers. I also use it to go around interior barangays to take orders.)

“May sasakyan ako na vroom vroom to the moon,” he added.

(I now have a car that goes vroom vroom to the moon.)

Redempto plans to attach a side carrier to his newly owned motorcycle, or pangkal-pangkal as he calls it in Ilonggo, to enable him to deliver as many as 30 cases of soft drinks to his customers.

Shared success in life

It is no secret in his community that Redempto and his family went through difficult times, but their neighbors also know the triumph they have achieved through hard work and faith in God over the years.

Redempto and his wife, who have been married since 1992, gleefully shared they were able to purchase two delivery vehicles, get their house renovated, and extend their blessings to their children.

He advises fellow ‘sari-preneurs’ to use Packworks, especially in sales transactions and business management. He hopes that Packworks will continue to provide efficient and detailed data about their transaction, which has become instrumental in his business’ growth.

Driving to same paths of success through motorcycle

The motorcycle is close to the hearts of Packworks founders Bing Tan, Ibba Bernardo, and Hubert Yap, who first started as motorbike buddies doing a passion project of delivering solar panels to provinces and far-flung places. Through those experiences, they saw firsthand the challenges brought by limited access for sari-sari store owners. The trio felt the need for change and seized the opportunity to develop an application for small store businesses to have a one-app stop for all their needs. The idea came to fruition with the birth of Packworks.

Since its launch, Packworks has been helping its users by giving them more power to take their businesses to new heights with just a few taps on their devices. Sari-prenuers can use the Packworks’ Sari.PH Pro app for inventory management, ordering supplies for their stores, tracking their sales and revenue, and monitoring their customers’ dues. They can also use e-payments like GCash and Maya for their orders.

By giving away the motorcycle, Packworks aspires for Redempto and other sari-preneurs to do the same – take longer strides and find success through curiosity, passion, and grit.