At 26, This Pinay's Already Earning 6 Figures From Samgyeopsal"Hindi ka puwedeng tamarin kasi may pangarap ka."
MJ Loleng is not your average 26-year-old. Unlike most people her age, she's already earning six-digit figures monthly.
But just like her peers, MJ applied for a job after graduating from college. When the startup she was working at failed, she felt in her heart that she needed to take matters into her own hands.
"That's when I decided, why not run my own company na lang?" she says to the OG team. "Why not build a community na will deal sa environment and sustainability? Para maiwasan ang pagpuputol ng puno, inimbento namin ang mas sustainable na charcoal."
Charcoal from coconuts
At 22 years old, MJ founded Ecobriqs, which produces and sells coconut charcoal briquettes made out of coconut shell waste.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Although she had zero capital, she set up the company through investors who believed in her vision of every Filipino family using charcoal briquettes to cook food.
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"[Naghanap] kami ng mga farmers who would sell us 'yong charcoal powder," she says. "This charcoal powder we convert it into briquettes. Briquettes are clean-energy charcoal."
Creating jobs for the poor
Because of her humble beginnings, MJ was also inspired to help provide employment opportunities to those below the poverty line.
"Naranasan kong maging mahirap. Alam ko ang feeling, kaya mas gusto ko pang makatulong sa mas mahirap pa," she says.
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With the continuous popularity of samgyeopsal or Korean barbecue restaurants, Ecobriqs struck gold. Because its charcoal briquettes are smokeless, odorless, and reusable, these food establishments easily became regular customers of Ecobriqs.
Saved by samgyeopsal
All that changed when the pandemic happened. When restaurants started to shut down because of the lockdowns, Ecobriqs had to cease operations for half a year.
Not one to back down from a challenge, MJ founded Umma's Samgyup Café, a samgyeop-to-go business she started in Victoria, Laguna with her friends from high school.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
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"Ang kapital lang do'n is P5,000," she says. "That P5,000, lumaki siya nang lumaki, kasi hindi namin in-expect din na maraming bibili sa province kasi 'di naman masyadong kilala dito yung samgyeop."
Using their earnings from selling kimchi, MJ and her business partners expanded the business. After one year, Umma's Samgyup Café expanded its physical restaurant to include a bigger dine-in area.
Don't give up on your dreams
On average, MJ earns six figures monthly. She attributes it not just to her two businesses, but also to trading stocks. From a small investment of P10,000, she has eventually grown her portfolio to P100,000 worth.
MJ stresses that she had to learn the ropes on her own in the beginning. She also wants to prove that poverty should not be an excuse to give up on one's dreams.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
"Hangga't may pagpupursigi ka and if you're persistent, anything that you want to do and your dreams in life [ay] kaya mong i-achieve, basta maniniwala ka lang sa kakayahan mo.
"You have to do everything that you can. You have to study. Hindi ka puwedeng tamarin kasi may pangarap ka."
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