A business driven by passion is bound to survive no matter the challenges. Dada Mercado, the owner and in-house designer of Damsel Philippines, shares how her zeal for fashion and creative design changed the course of her life – from being a respected lawyer to a smart entrepreneur.
The first step is the bravest
It all started in 2010 when Dada created a small fashion shop in Manila to veer from the stress of her legal career. She called it Damsel – the embodiment of her love for design. Her four-square-meter shop sold unique apparel and bags to fashion enthusiasts at bazaars. She only had about a hundred items then, so manually recording her inventory and sales sufficed. It was when she expanded her store online that she found trouble managing her inventory and monitoring bestsellers.
Everyone trips once in a while
Damsel saw the bright rays of the sun in its first two years in the market. Everything was going smoothly, so Dada opted to resign from her law firm and focus all her attention and energy to the shop. Just shortly after that, however, she faced the first major blow in her business. In 2013, Damsel saw a sharp decline in sales volume due to tough competition against wholesale merchants. Their competitors became aggressive online, causing Damsel to lose its online customers, which made about 80% in sales.
On top of this crisis, Dada had to deal with her store’s internal problems. Inventories were missing and employee accountability was questionable. Dada had no basis of reconciling sales and inventory since her store did not have a reliable inventory management system. She had no way of knowing whether her missing stock were damaged, pulled out, returned to supplier, stolen by customers, or sold without the salesman remitting the sales. At this stage, Dada knew that she needed to change her store’s dynamics.
The answer is in the cloud
A reliable point of sale (POS) system was undoubtedly what Damsel needed. Dada immediately set out to find the best POS that would suit her business. There were a handful of suppliers in the Philippines that offered her reasonable rates, but she needed a POS system that was accessible to her anytime and anywhere – a system based in the cloud.
That was when she found Imonggo. It offered by far the lowest cost, so Dada naturally had doubts. However, since situations were dire, she decided to take the risk and give Imonggo a try.
“I am not a tech-savvy person,” Dada told us, “but because of the user-friendly and very simple user interface of Imonggo, I learned the whole software fast.”
Dada closed her store for two weeks to record all her inventory in Imonggo.
“It was a tedious process, but looking back, I knew it was the beginning of an organized path. The tracking of inventory and sales became smoother and easier, and I was also able to monitor the business records even though I was at the law office or wherever I was, as long as there was internet connection.”
Another milestone is achieved
In 2014, Dada revamped her business model to make room for Gowns for Rent Manila (GFR Manila), a gown rental business which she managed to run alongside her original Damsel shop. This time, the logistics of GFR Manila was simpler and more manageable because recording inventory was less of a hassle.
In February 2015, GFR Manila flourished in the rental business and reached even the wedding industry, owing to its reasonable rental prices and superb customer assistance. The business continues to grow today, even outnumbering the customers of the original Damsel that showcased bags and apparel. GFR Manila’s impressive growth compelled Dada to narrow down her niche market to customers who need proper attires for formal events.
Now that her business is prospering more than ever, Dada is also becoming more occupied. Even so, since Imonggo released its new mobile app, the Sales Dashboard, Dada finds that monitoring the daily, weekly, and monthly sales of her store is, as she calls it, a mere “walk in the park.”
Life is infinitely happier
Dada was doing well even before she switched to a cloud POS, but the day she found Imonggo was the day that made a big difference to her.
“I couldn’t be happier with Imonggo. Every time there are some technical issues, their friendly customer service agents reply fast and resolve the problems immediately. Years back, I thought that having a foreign supplier would make responses limited and slow, but Imonggo proved me wrong. Imonggo never disappointed me; that’s why I always recommend it to my entrepreneur-friends and clients who also need a POS.
“I do hope that Imonggo and the whole team behind it will continue with their unwavering service and commitment to help small-scale business owners like me who strive to create an efficient system, so we could focus more on what we do best. Truly, Imonggo is the best partner any entrepreneur could ever have!”
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