For as long as Tin Clemente-Dionglay could remember, she had always been a big fan of Pinoy street food, particularly fishballs. This is why she thought it was odd that she couldn’t find fishball sauce in the malls.
Putting matters into her own hands, Tin researched how the special sauce was made so she could whip it up when preparing fishballs at home. In fact, she had quite a knack for it that family and friends loved her fishball sauce so much.
When her husband’s salary was cut during the pandemic, Tin wanted to help him support the family financially.
That’s when inspiration struck. Having been a reseller of various products, Tin was able to use her earnings from these to officially start her fishball sauce venture, named “Mommy Tin’s Home Kitchen“.
Little by little, Tin was able to invest in better tools and cookware to help grow the business further. “I started with P5,000 capital,” Tin tells Summit Media’s OG team. “That time, wala pa ‘ko kasi masyadong mga kaldero. ‘Yon yung una kong in-invest tapos yung grinding machine for the onions and garlic. Kasi before, we’d do it manual. Talagang nakakapagod.“
At first, things weren’t easy. Tin notes that she initially had just two assistants and would wake up early just to cook the sauce, while her husband would go to the market to buy the ingredients. Despite having no formal education in business, Tin, a Biology graduate, was determined to make Mommy Tin’s Home Kitchen a success.
“I’m not a businesswoman by nature, that’s why I call myself an ‘accidental’ businesswoman,” Tin says. “Kasi parang nangyari na lang.”
Street food for any occasion
From just fishball sauce, Tin grew her product line to also include chili garlic in olive oil, samalamig syrup, as well as ready-to-cook lumpiang togue, which she named, “lumpiang togue ni Nanay.” It’s a tribute to Tin’s mother-in-law who would frequently cook lumpiang togue for their family.
Today, Mommy Tin’s Home Kitchen is a booming food business, and she now even takes corporate orders and participates in big events like weddings. Tin admits that she is pleasantly surprised that companies and couples see the charm and value of street food products to make their events special.
“Ang street food pala, puwedeng hindi lang sa streets,” Tin says. “Puwede pa rin siyang umabot kahit saan; you just need to be creative.”
At times, Tin is still in disbelief of how far she’s come along with her business.
“I felt empowered nung naging negosyante ako or naging businesswoman ako,” she says. “At the same time, yung mga creative juices ko, lumabas. Hindi ko ine-expect or inaakalang magagawa ko pala.“
Find your passion
For aspiring entrepreneurs, Tin reminds them to move out of their comfort zone in order to grow.
“Don’t limit yourselves,” she advises. “Don’t be afraid to take risks kasi wala namang madali sa umpisa. Pero naniniwala ako na lahat tayo merong talent, lahat tayo merong skills to develop. You just need to find your passion and whatever it is that you want to sell, believe in it, and enjoy what you’re doing.”
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