How a group of mothers started a laundry soap business with Php 2,000 capital

Can you start a business with merely Php 2,000 ($40)? These mothers from an urban community in the province of Sorsogon can.

A year ago, a group of housewives decided to venture into a small-scale business. The group, who called themselves Beautiful Mommies, decided that the best business they can do for a start is making and selling fabric conditioner, a common household item that mothers often use and they are all familiar with.

Beautiful Mommies member, Sonia, says that they never thought doing the business entails a lot of hard work. “We thought doing fabric conditioner is easy, that’s why we chose it for our business. But when we did it ourselves, it’s difficult. We’ve made several mistakes,” she says, laughing.

For one, she explains, mixing the fabric conditioner ingredients require continuous mixing for one hour. “It should be in one direction only — either you go left for one hour, or right for one hour. We once failed to do it and the mixture didn’t blend well. There were granules.”

Second, using of mineral water is much better than tap water. “Tap water feels rough on hands.”

Third, a container must be large enough to contain the mixture. “Early in our business, we only had a container, enough to mix the ingredients. When we mixed the ingredients, a portion would spill from the container. We wasted a lot of our ingredients,” Sonia says.

After several mistakes, Beautiful Mommies perfected their product. Their products are often sold by members from their houses since they cannot afford a store yet.

Starting with Php50 a week

Beautiful Mommies members are all part of a savings group called Community-managed Savings and Credit Association (CoMSCA) for four years now. CoMSCA is a World Vision program that teaches families the importance and discipline of individual and group savings. At the end of each year, CoMSCA members receive all the savings they have.

CoMSCA changed many of them in terms of managing their money. The members admit that they never expected they would learn to save. Most of them are mere housewives who rely on their husbands or relatives for financial assistance. “We never had any savings in the past. Some of us had bank accounts but closed it after a few months. Some don’t even try because banks require a lot of expensive paper works,” Vilma, a Beautiful Mommies member, explains.

Beautiful Mommies members can have between Php6,000 to Php15,000 ($120-$300) in a year from merely saving Php50 ($1) to as much as Php250 ($5) a week. The savings they get every year are usually spent on house repairs, buying house appliance, food, children’s education, and now, for business.

When Beautiful Mommies decided to do business, World Vision guided them through the process. The group has its sets of officers, schedules and tasks, and a system of remitting sells.

“Each of us gave Php100 [$2] as initial capital. We used the amount for trainings on how to do fabric conditioner and bought some materials,” Varna, another Beautiful Mommies member, says.

The group’s initial capital was Php2,500 ($50). Now, they have Php19,000 ($380) income from selling their products.

World Vision also enrolled Beautiful Mommies representatives on a free training on Local Value Chain Development, where they learn more about other business aspects such as market research and financial management. They also benefit from various government programs on small-scale enterprises.

With their new business, Beautiful Mommies expect to earn more to provide for the needs of their family. Sonia, for instance, is a single parent with two school-aged children, and a 10-month old child. “Providing their basic needs is difficult. That’s why I’m trying to grab every opportunity I can,” she says.

Their business also made them close friends. “We’ve known each other but we were never this close,” Sonia says. The group meets weekly, where they not only talk about their business, but also their life as mothers.