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  • Isa and Ken Mishuku of PrintCafe: Pros of Personalized Prints

    Armed with experience and determination, this entrepreneur couple made their dream come true.
    by Stephanie F. Esguerra .
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    Spurred by the need to cut down on costs, Isa and Ken decided to produce their own invites, causing a buzz among friends. “A lot of people started to inquire about designing for them,” recalls Isa. The sheer popularity brought about by word of mouth got this husband-and-wife tandem thinking about putting up a new business. Ken, who at that time has been working in a real estate company for a decade, wanted to transition into a different industry, which proved fateful for their plans. One of the reasons why Ken wanted to leave real estate was the amount of time he spent on it and the stress it came with.

    While it was only a hobby, Isa’s fondness of stationery in blogsites sort of sealed the deal. “I had a far-off dream that one day [Ken and I] could have something like [the products in the blogs]. For our honeymoon, we were in Japan, and there we saw really, really big stationery stores; three floors full of wrapping paper [and] different greeting cards,” Isa remarks. “But they were so expensive! But really nice.”

    The birth of a dream
    Thus did Printcafe come to fruition in 2011. What was intended to be merely a “project” of Isa - a kiosk in Festival Mall, Alabang - became a full-fledged entrepreneurial undertaking. With the “ber” months came a spike in sales, and just a few months after, the opportunity to expand with a full store in SM Southmall landed on their laps.

    Unlike other stationery stores, though, Printcafe offers a touch of personalization, further boosting their brand’s image as not just merely a product. “Someone walked in and said ‘I’ll get 15 notebooks’, but she had a request, and that was to put the names of her friends in them,” remembers Isa. “It was something we didn’t think of before. We accommodated her because [she bought so many, and] that’s where it took off.”

    What initially was just a hobby, bolstered by just notebooks, cards, wedding invites and gift wrappers now became a contender in the personalized products retail category. “We offer you something you don’t see in others,” says Ken.

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