JAIL OFFICER 1 Alrey T. Hiponia at his ukay-ukay stall.

AN Ilonggo jail officer topped the recent Search for BJMP Entrepreneur of the Year 2019.

Jail Officer 1 Alrey T. Hiponia bested other participants in the nationwide search through his unique version of “UK” or what we Filipinos commonly called as “Ukay-ukay” or “Relief” for Ilonggos.

Among several entries from different regions, the straightforward yet convincing presentation of Hiponia convinced the judges to choose his business.

“I have not expected to win because other business entries entail big profit. Mine is just a start-up compared to them. I am however proud that despite being new in the service, I have managed to capitalize on the demand for used yet quality goods. I guess that gave me an edge.”

Hiponia’s business started with small scale of pre-loved clothing which he displays outside their house in Zarraga, Iloilo. Sensing the potential market for such product, he concessioned a place in the market where he showcased the clothing for the public.

“I started with just cheap prices. Then people kept flocking at my shop. I then bought good bulk of used clothing, washed them dry and displayed them on my shop in the market. I make sure that my displays are clean, orderly, and of course, affordable.”

According to him, the Ukay-ukay business seems unappealing to professionals like him. Yet, after discovering the profit yield from such merchandise, Hiponia realized that doing business is actually enjoyable. It does not have to be glamorous. For him, it takes just sheer guts to kick-start everything.

“Regardless of what business you are in, once you started right and profit keeps coming in, you gradually lose the timidity and you start dealing with the customers very well. I now watch over my shop during my day off and I have been making friends with the locals since then.”

Presently, Hiponia’s business has practically helped his family in terms of finances. His income from the shop has tripled in just a quarter, all because of his diligence and dedication in the business. Just like other entrepreneurs who engage in the same type of business, his continues to thrive as more people are drawn towards buying used yet signature clothing – which can only be found in Ukay-ukay drop-off markets.

To ensure the operation of his business is well managed, even his children take turns in watching over his shop. According to him, this is to train them to effectively deal with people and to take pride in the little business they have.

“I have done a good deal with this business. I also want my children to understand that even with meager products in trade, as long as they know how to sell them, and that they deal with clients with sincerity, honesty, and fairness, their business will always yield good results.”

Hiponia hopes to extend his business stalls from Zarraga to other markets.

“Should time permit, I would like to put up branches in the neighboring municipalities.”

The BJMP’s Search for Best Entrepreneur is sanctioned by the BJMP Cooperative who handles the judging and awards the cash prize of Php 10k to the winner. This is the BJMP’s way to encourage personnel to engage in good and legal businesses as an example for others to emulate.