Rowena De Jesus acknowledged the need of her company to reconfigure and explore alternative ways to market her products while adjusting in the new normal. Since the implementation of the community quarantine, Rowena has been trying out various ways market her products.

That One Piece Enterprise, is Rowena’s pride and joy. It was an expression of her art and she was glad to be able to market them to the world. That One Piece Enterprise exports crafts made from natural materials such as abaca, rattan, and indigenous fabric

However, even before the lockdown, That One Piece Enterprise is already struggling to thrive in the industry. “Our sales were just enough to cover business expenses. There was already a decline in export transactions,” Rowena shared.

Despite this, Rowena did not lay off any of her four (4). She even kept them on payroll even during the time when they had to close the business during the quarantine period of three (3) months. “We had to close the business to minimize the expense and adhere with health protocols with the community,” she shared.

When asked about how they managed to get by considering the decline in exports and suspension of operations, Rowena shared that they resorted to borrowing additional working capital and utilizing their savings.

Sheshifte d to new ways of engaging buyers such as Zoom meetings, online selling, and boosting her social media presence. “We used to rely on traditional ways of selling such as trade fairs, meet-ups, and factory visits. In the new normal, we were forced to adapt to new ways in engaging with our  buyers. Kailangan sumabay sa uso” she added.

Luckily, through the PhilExport, Rowena was offered an opportunity to avail of the Bayanihan CARES. ” I find it convenient because it was done online. When I got the information from Philexport I immediately tried and luckily was approved of a loan. I used the loan as additional working capital and was able to pay salaries and an build on raw materials.

Armed with a  positive outlook in life, Rowena shares that she is still hopeful for the future of the business and the export industry. “Bleak as it may be I can see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. I believe that when a sense of normalcy is achieved, everything else will follow,” Rowena concluded.