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IT exec quits job to sell danggit, pusit online
by :Janette Toral 8/13/00

Thirty-three-year-old Jovel Cipriano worked for IBM Phils. for five years handling its Visayas-Mindanao operations. Very recently, Cipriano decided to give up his full-time job to focus on his growing dot-com business, Pinoydelikasi.com – a Web site that sells Filipino delicacies such as dried mangoes, danggit, dried pusit, pastillas and tuna belly, among other items, on the Internet. He realized that his business would fully bloom if he devoted 100 percent of his time to it.

The concept for Pinoydelikasi.com was born in March 1999; it went online last January. Cipriano used to travel a lot and always brought home pasalubong such as danggit, pusit, dried mangoes, and the like. "One day, I actually found out that I could make money out of this. My first customers were my family and relatives," said Cipriano. "Until one night, I could not really sleep. I thought of the opportunities if I put up a website."

The name Pinoydelikasi.com (instead of Pinoydelicacy) was his secretary’s suggestion. It was perfect for its slogan, "Lutong Pinoy, Delicious Kasi."

He remembered how his friends started laughing at him when he broached the idea. "Why did you come up with an idea selling danggit or dried mango when they are available anywhere. But my point is, what will make me different is I can actually offer quality Filipino delicacies, fresh from the factory. I can actually offer items that are hard to find."

Cipriano’s "x-factor" is his extensive network which allows him to deliver fresh Pinoydelikasi items abroad. "I have a network to help me actually generate more business far, far away from my territory such as Hong Kong, the United States, London and Cyprus. I’m guaranteeing my products to be fresh from the factory. I’m even posting a money-back guarantee. If you don’t like the product, return it and I’ll give your money back or replace it with a new product."

From an initial nine items, the website is currently selling more than 25 products online and the list is growing. Its top five items are R&M dried mangoes, mangorine, danggit, pusit and pastillas. Its new products include tuna belly, panga and Villalonga chicharon. More than 70 people have tried buying online at Pinoydelikas.com. Fifteen of them are now regular buyers.

Another advantage Pinoy-delikasi.com has is that it sells products at a much cheaper price. Its R&M dried mango, for instance, is sold from P95 to P110 in Manila, while one can order it from the website for only P75.

Cipriano’s payment system is still cash-on-delivery. His business made a monthly net profit of P4,000 when it started. Currently, he is averaging P18,000 per month, representing both online and offline orders. With his growing list of products and expansion activities, he hopes to generate at least P100,000 in monthly net profit soon.

The main challenge Cipriano is facing right now is his search for a good payment solution. Although Pinoydelikasi.com has an interim payment solution through Estore-Exchange (http://www.estore-exchange.com), he realizes that he needs to have one fully integrated into his system.

From B2C to B2B

Cipriano believes that he will not make a bigger profit if he sticks to the B2C (business-to-consumer) business model. "I’d like to be an example of a dot-com who started as a B2C and became a B2B."

He is looking forward to supplying Pinoydelikasi products to groceries here and abroad such as in Europe, Hong Kong and the US. "I intend to come out with my own branding using Pinoydelikasi.com logos. I’ll be selling crispy dilis, my own pastillas, banana chips and I’m thinking of even coming out with my own Pinoydelikasi dried mango."

Like any other growing dot-coms, Cipriano is looking for potential investors, too. But he has reservations. "I’d rather work with an angel investor who can actually shell out a small amount of money, around P2 million, be part of Pinoydelikasi.com, and grow with us."

He admits being scared of dealing with VCs (venture capitalists). "Probably it’s human nature. Everyone thinks that you’ll be eaten by these giants."

Cipriano advises that when one encounters a bright idea, one just has to act fast. "The reason why Pinoydelikasi.com is here, is because I acted on it fast. I could have sat down to think and think and think. I started with nine products just to make sure something was on the website. When people visited the site, they could see something. Ever since, I’ve been working on improvements to make a very formal, professional and attractive site."

He also stressed that the logistical aspect and the back-end operations of the business should not be taken for granted. "You really have to come out with a back-end solution because eventually you will have to gather information and do data mining yourself, making use of the information that you already have."

What keeps Cipriano going are the e-mails of his customers expressing how they really love the site. "People are asking for more, such as items that are not available in the US, and they want me to ship those to them. This is a challenge for me. I hope to be the first dot-com entrepreneur to ship dried danggit and pusit worldwide."

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