Starting Up a Pandemic-Proof Business

Amid the new normal, some say that putting up a new business sounds quite impossible and too risky. But for others, starting your own business now might be a good option, especially if you have the right mindset and a business partner to guide you throughout your journey. 

Take it from Jobiegaile Jun and Stephane Mae Aquino, a couple currently based in Doha, Qatar, as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Santé Business Owners. They braved through the new normal by starting up a business that they describe as pandemic proof.

Taking Chances Abroad

Jobigaile Jun Aquino has been working as an OFW for almost 12 years. He was born and raised by his parents, both teachers, in Tacloban City in Leyte. Eventually, he moved to Metro Manila to start his career as an accountant in Ortigas, Pasig City. After six years, he decided to look for a greener pasture abroad to continue providing for his family.

“I came from a big family. At that time, I was helping my parents provide for the needs of my nine other siblings. That is why when I got the opportunity to work abroad, I grabbed it so that I can continue providing for my family,” Jobigaile said.

He spent the next seven years as a Senior Accountant for a steel company and then transferred to a Canadian company based in Doha as a Finance Manager. As his career progressed, he did not forget to go to his church to serve the Lord—this is where he met Stephane, a Filipina nurse, originally from Davao, but now, her family lives in North Cotabato. As a couple, they are now married for about five years.

“I also went abroad to look for greener pastures. I used to work in the Philippines as a nurse but, I was not earning enough for my family. Fortunately, I got the opportunity to work here in the Middle East. I have been an OFW for about ten years already and, currently, I work here as a school nurse,” said Stephane.

Starting a business amid a pandemic

Having been OFWs for more than a decade, Jobigaile and Stephane have already created great careers in their own respective fields. But just like everyone around the world, they were also affected by the changes brought by the pandemic.

“No one was able to prepare for the pandemic. When the authorities here imposed the lockdowns last March 2020, it greatly affected our jobs. We needed to stay at home, not knowing when everything will go back to normal. We lost almost half of our income,” Jobigaile narrated.

At that time, Jobigaile already knew about Santé, a provider of premier natural and organic health and wellness products and services. He is among those who are avid users of Santé products.

He said that a friend introduced him to Santé, and ever since, he has been consuming Santé Barley products because of its health benefits. He even became a Santé Member, primarily to avail discounts.

“But when the pandemic started last year, it became a turning point for us. We lost some of our income, so we needed to look for other ways to earn while isolating ourselves at home. I am thrilled that I already know about Santé,” Jobigaile said.

He added that “at that time, some of my officemates just learned about these amazing products. They liked it. As days went by, I received many orders from my friends and colleagues—this was when I decided to dedicate more time to this business. I even decided to invest and become a Santé Business Owner.”

Working Hard to Achieve Success 

Jobigaile noted, however, that it is still hard work and the willingness to take risks that can lead a starting entrepreneur to success. During the strict lockdowns in Doha, Jobigaile studied how to run his online business by attending webinars, training sessions, and product orientations provided by Santé through its Santé Engage.  

This platform offers all business owners the essential educational programs to help them grow their businesses, improve leadership skills, and even develop personal growth. 

Santé also came up with strategies to help business owners, like Jobigaile, adapt to the ever-changing world. For example, the Santé Mobile App will help them have easy business management, and a user-friendly website for hassle-free and convenient shopping. 

On the other hand, Stephane also became much more involved in their Santé business as they received orders from their fellow Filipinos in Doha. She also became a Santé Member and eventually also decided to start her own Santé business. 

“What’s good about this business is that you can manage it whenever and wherever you are because it is e-commerce ready. While Jun delivers the products to our customers, mostly our neighbours and friends, I will answer all the inquiries we receive in our online store. And then, eventually, I decided also to become a Santé Business Owner. It was our Santé business that filled our lost income during these trying times,” Steph said. 

A Pandemic-proof Business 

When asked about their reasons for choosing Santé as their business partner, the couple said that it is really because the company shares the same values and mindset as them. 

“As a company, Santé wants to help people live better lives. This mindset solidifies our belief that we found the right business to partner with. As Santé Business Owners, we are glad that we can help our customers maintain their healthy lifestyles with the natural and organic health and wellness that we offer, particularly during this global health crisis,” Stephane said. 

Since Santé is the top producer of barley grass products in the Philippines and soon worldwide, its business partners have a business model that revolve around the certified organic Santé Barley™ grass grown in Canterbury, New Zealand. This Biogro and Halal certified organic barley grass can be found in all Santé product offerings, such as nutraceutical vitamins, health beverages, health, and wellness, among others. 

Santé products also contain natural ingredients filled with a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, and carotenoids, essential in strengthening the immune system up to the smallest cellular level. 

For Jobigaile, the idea of helping others achieve their dreams through their Santé business is, by far, his greatest success. “I am grateful to all our mentors for guiding us to become great leaders and business owners. Through this business, we are also helping other people have other sources of income. This is important because we are all greatly affected by the pandemic. Some even lost their livelihoods,” he said. 

The couple added that all these factors, particularly its products, core values, and willingness to help its distributors through trainings, webinars, and e-commerce readiness, make Santé a pandemic-proof business. 

Santé also cherishes its business partners’ role for the organization. Through its compensation plan, it provides incentives like bonuses in repeat purchases, infinity bonus, free gadgets, and a car and house incentive with free down payments and monthly amortization. 

More than a year after they started their online business, Steph and Jobigaile achieved a lot from being Santé Business Owners. They are now Executive and Platinum Executive Directors, respectively, and among the leading Santé distributors in Doha, Qatar. Their families in Leyte and North Cotabato have also recently started their own Santé Business.  

Founded by leaders with more than 70 years of combined Direct Selling and Marketing experience, Santé is now one of the fastest-growing distribution and direct selling companies globally. Aside from New Zealand and the Philippines, Santé is present in key cities such as Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Abuja, Lagos, and Cyprus. 

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