Home BW Launchpad Tapping into creativity: A mom’s shift from restaurant-bar to tampipi basket innovation

Tapping into creativity: A mom’s shift from restaurant-bar to tampipi basket innovation

By Miguel Hanz L. Antivola, Reporter

A SMALL BUSINESS must have all hands on deck, yet it is even better if only a single pair runs a tight ship to effectively manage missteps, according to stay-at-home mom and entrepreneur Bambi Y. Temeña.

Before starting her handmade insulated tampipi basket business, Ms. Temeña was a go-getter who had experienced both business failures and successes.

“I was into events and parties, then I also got into catering and food,” she said in an interview with BusinessWorld. “I had a restaurant, bar, eatery. I think I’ve entered all of them.”

After her graduation, Ms. Temeña began doing gigs such as event planning and catering all by herself for small functions. Eventually, she was invited by four other married couples to start a restaurant-bar.

She used to run the 2000s-famous Tapika Resto Bar along Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, which nurtured musical talents such as Paolo Santos and MYMP.

However, the business had to close down due to increasing traffic in the area from the underpass construction, causing low demand, as stated by Ms. Temeña.

This was followed by the neighborhood barbecue and packed meals stop, Barbi-q-han, along Xavierville Avenue — a partnership with her mother-in-law, which she had to leave unattended for two years to attend to her sick mother in the United States.

The small eatery’s lease expired without her management, and she had to continue home-based as the pandemic came about.

“All those times I had partners, but with this one — it’s really just me myself,” she said, applying the lessons she learned previously in her current venture.

“What I always advise is to start small, and if you can, start just by yourself,” she added on the difficulty of navigating the dynamics that come with having business partners, whether it stems from personal or corporate endowments.

“Because I’m always very much involved in the business as a managing partner, it’s hard to meet halfway and find your place.”

Ms. Temeña noted always having a hands-on, creative, and entrepreneurial mindset, which she has clung onto amid challenges, given the limits of her resources.

What came about from searching for holiday packaging for Ms. Temeña’s frozen food products in 2020, eventually pivoted into its own online business named “Baskets Just Created for You.”

“Handicraft Christmas packaging was all the rage. There was a market for it,” Ms. Temeña said. “But my business was the food, not the packaging.”

“It’s just that I had to customize the sizes in terms of how many packs I could put in, depending on the client’s need,” she added. “But a lot were asking if they could just buy the basket.”

She saw the opportunity to disrupt the local market by practically lining handwoven tampipi baskets and their lids with insulation material to preserve temperature.

She fully embraced this pivot at the start of 2021 by the end of the holiday season, hiring more weavers to cater to the growing demand.

“It was easy for me to hire more because of the pandemic. Some of them were laid off and concentrated on the supposedly part-time work,” she said, providing alternative income to weavers.

Ms. Temeña also diversified into making custom-designed tampipi bags from clients given their feedback, and receiving orders from celebrities and personalities.

When asked about her expansion plans for the business, she said she is eyeing exports, but only if quality can be maintained.

“I cannot really expand it given my limited resources, finances, and time. Also because I’m very hands-on,” she said.

“Many have offered to distribute, sub-manufacture, and export, but quality control is needed since it’s very handmade,” she added. “I don’t want to let it go to someone.”

“Because I inspect every piece I sell. I always talk to my weavers, especially when there are deformities.”

“With distributors outside Metro Manila, I don’t know how they’re going to store and sell it… After-sale service is very important to me. I don’t know if they can do that.”

She acknowledged how her being hands-on may impede the business from realizing its potential. “This is perhaps one of the things that impedes its full growth.”

However, throughout her three decades of entrepreneurship, Ms. Temeña said she finally gained a sense of content in her current venture.

“At this point in time in my life, I just want to enjoy what I’m doing and at the same time, make money,” she said. “My husband even told me, ‘At last, you’re earning from your creativity.’”

“It’s still important that you know what you’re doing, what kind of business you’re getting into, and your definitive target market,” she added.