Welcome to SIKAP Success Stories!
This is where we feature an MSME owner who has learned to thrive in the new normal and who can share best practices with our SIKAP network.
Our first success story is Le Fleur Café.
Le Fleur Café began brewing on September 12, 2018. Operating from a location in Quezon City, the cafe serves signature blend coffee as well as pasta, breakfast, meals and snacks. They likewise serve handcrafted beverages as well as feature MSMEs and home bakers by selling products such as cakes and pastries.
“Le Fleur” means “the flower” in French and the cafe can be distinguished by the floral decorations in its interior which are designed to keep guests relaxed & inspired as they sip their favorite coffee.
Le Fleur Café is owned by Ms. Chelsea Quiambao, a Mass Communication, Major in Multimedia Arts graduate who also studied culinary arts and is a freelance photographer. During her college days, she had an online shop that sold sweets and other products. She decided to put up her own cafe initially to generate her own income but in the process, she also discovered that her cafe could play a more important role in the community.
We spoke to Ms. Quiambao about Le Fleur Cafe’s journey and what she has learned so far.
“We are helping a community of coffee farmers & roasters, small time home bakers, fellow MSME's like me and we also have a partnership with small time business owners,” said Ms. Quiambao, “Actually, it's a win-win solution. Alam mo, I realized that this pandemic bonded us entrepreneurs kasi if we help one each other, yung blessing triple bounce back, nakatulong ka na sa iba mag-increase din yun sales mo.”
When asked about how the cafe coped with the challenges brought about by the pandemic, Ms. Quiambao shared a story that would probably be familiar to many business owners.
“The cafe was closed for 8 months, and most of our stock was prone to spoilage and I had anxiety about how we can retain the cafe despite the virus, our staff, the salary, rent, cost and other expenses. Also, we had to pay our employees’ salaries in advance since the store was closed, saan sila kukuha ng pera for their daily needs?”
Despite these setbacks, Ms. Quiambao still found opportunities for growth and learning since they were able to develop new recipes and other innovations, including shifting their operations online and boosting their social media presence.
Ms. Quiambao was also a guest speaker at last year’s webinar on digital transformation, The Digital Shift, where she provided practical tips to business owners.
She also spoke about the importance of integrating corporate social responsibility in one’s business.
“Corporate social responsibility is necessary for a company’s mission and vision. We should learn to be compassionate and to share our blessings with our fellow Filipino brothers and sisters.
“We started the donation drive / relief campaign last January 2020, to provide relief goods for the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption and we were overwhelmed by donations given by our café guests. It was a successful program and we hope to continue it in the future.”
When asked about how she can encourage fellow MSMEs to succeed in spite of the challenges still posed by the pandemic, Ms. Quiambao shared these words of inspiration:
“To entrepreneurs & startups, Keep it Up & Stay Strong! God will always provide what’s best for us.”
If you’d like to know more about Le Fleur Café, you can check out their social media channels below:
Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more SIKAP Success Stories!