There is no doubt that the pandemic has shaken practically everything we have been accustomed to and rely on – personally and as a community. At the peak of the pandemic, MSMEs have taken the greatest hit which challenged Jammy San Juan-Magsino and her team at Frankie and Friends to come up with something smart and fast, if they were to help their partners.
“We started with creating relief bundles through our products and packaged them as gifts for people who would want to help from home,” explains Jammy. “We ventured into an Essentials Subscription Box that puts together sustainable and artisanal products that is delivered to your doorstep every month.”
Despite the looming uncertainty, their team demonstrated extraordinary commitment to their cause. “In the first few months when transportation was very limited, our senior sales associate, Mike Mancenido, would walk close to an hour just to keep track of inventory and orders. He also led our team in ensuring our entire store was secured and became the point person in getting us back on our feet,” Jammy proudly shares. Upon reopening, Frankie and Friends exhibited the bayanihan spirit by waiving all their fix fees.
In challenging times, it is important to work in a culture that is like family, as Jammy realizes, “coming together with like-minded individuals, employees and good location partners like SM is so important in overcoming low seasons.” Through the pandemic, SM waived rent and extended marketing support to all its MSME partners. “SM helped us through great transparency, accountability and quick responses to concerns that were very pressing despite the uncertainties,” expounds Jammy.
Through this, Jammy and her team picked up key lessons during this pandemic that helped mold them as responsible entrepreneurs with a mission. “Count your wins, even the small ones; customer loyalty is brought about by a balance of empathy and efficiency; and never cease praying,” recounts Jammy. “God is in control and works all things for the good of His children.”