DAGUPAN CITY – Most micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Pangasinan have introduced product innovations to adapt to the new normal and survive the challenges caused by the pandemic.
Millennial entrepreneur Raymond Iglesias Rusell of Denmark Candles said Thursday he introduced new designs to his candles since the celebration of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day this year would be different.
Rusell made his candles more appealing so they could be used as a house décor or more than their sole intended purpose.
“During (the) lockdown, I switched from selling candles to selling different products, such as face masks, face shields, and even as a delivery guy,” he said in an interview.
Rusell noted that the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) provincial office has been “very helpful” as it buys products from him.
“I also watched webinars of DTI. These are very helpful during this time,” he said.
Janice Gonzales of Jensmith Bag Shop said her company has shifted from making school bags to face masks since there are no face-to-face classes this year.
Gonzales said the provincial government and the local government unit of Bugallon town where she resides have commissioned her company to produce cloth face masks during the lockdown.
“Our project with them was already done but the DTI has commissioned us to make face masks again as part of the national government’s project to provide cloth face masks to the poor people. For that, I am very thankful,” she said.
Joy Perez of Crafters Joy CornHusk Products said her company modified its cornhusk products into baskets and planters as these are the demands of the market these days.
“From handbags, we are now making more planters and baskets,” Perez said, acknowledging that the pandemic has affected her business drastically that she had to lay off some of her employees.
“It was hard because I need to fetch them from their houses daily and we have lost the source of our marketing, such as the trade fair. There were no buses to deliver our products and most of our clients are in Manila,” she added.
Perez, however, said she could not give up and close her business because more than a hundred families depend on it, prompting them to innovate their products.
“Right now, some are working from their homes while some are in the factory,” she said.
Meanwhile, Patricia Morente of Sopresa Products added pastries to her business to boost sales during the pandemic.
“I started selling different varieties of bread in our neighborhood on top of our pineapple tart and vegetable chips products and it was a hit. It helps us with our needs during this challenging time,” Morente said.
Small Medium Enterprise Development Council - Pangasinan president Howard Chua-Cham urged his fellow entrepreneurs to have “hope, be resilient, and persevere over challenges.”
The DTI launched on Thursday the Gawa’d Pangasinan trade fair and exhibit to help the province’s MSMEs in the province and honor their resiliency.
“Innovate products and marketing so that products can reach consumers,” DTI-Pangasinan Director Natalia Dalaten told MSMEs.
Dalaten added that the DTI is “so proud of the MSMEs for not giving up.” (PNA)