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Personalizing with passion

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Fatima Talia Casiao is passionate about craftwork, and loves getting her creative juices flowing. One day, thumbing through her Instagram feed, she caught herself looking look at photos of intricate and personalized objects. The experience somehow led her to think about making money from her flair for producing crafts.

In February of 2016, she opened an online business The Typesetter PH, which sells personalized items. She had also resigned from her job so that she could focus exclusively on the business that allows her to do what she enjoys greatly, and get paid for it. “I love what I do and being able to do what you love every day and make money out of it is just the best,” she told BusinessWorld, “and I guess that’s everyone’s dream, right?”

On Typesetter’s social media accounts, samples of Ms. Casiao’s work were posted in hopes that some people would take notice. Ms. Casiao soon started receiving a trickle of inquiries and tried to respond to each in the most spirited way she could, she said.

Ribbons were among the first products that Ms. Casiao was asked to personalize. Over time, the products became more varied: memo pads, journals, pens, note cards, compact mirrors. She said personalized memo pads are especially popular during the first quarter of the year. Compact mirrors are also a favorite with Typesetter’s customers, and typically given as gifts to friends and ordered for bridesmaids.

Ms. Casiao said she spends hours doing product layouts. Only when a client has given his or her approval of a proposed layout that the production of a requested item begins. “I always make sure that everything is organized from the day it is ordered to the day that it should be dispatched,” she said. She also checks every product to avoid embarrassing mistakes like misspelled names and to ensure that it meets all the requirements of the customer.

Unlike similar start-ups that take advantage of bazaars to promote, Typesetter has yet to participate in one. But Ms. Casiao said she has been receiving invitations to join. For now, all promotional activities happen on the social media accounts of Typesetter, and Ms. Casiao said she felt overwhelmed that these accounts have amassed what she considers to be “more than enough” followers. On Instagram alone, more than 10,000 users are following Typesetter. Ms. Casiao abides by some of the best practices in social media marketing: posting during peak hours and responding to inquiries immediately.

Dealing with pressure is a challenge for Ms. Casiao. There are times when she has to contend with a rush order, a nagging customer or both at the same time. She tries to understand a customer’s position and gives him or her updates on everything he or she needs to know.

It is her passion that motivates her to press ahead, and each time a satisfied customer sends a positive feedback, refers her business to others or comes back for another transaction, she feels even more motivated to do much better. “Customer satisfaction fuels the fire in me,” she said.

Like most online business owners, Ms. Casiao is planning on having a physical shop sometime in the future, preferably in a mall. She also wishes to be able to ship products abroad. At the moment, she is trying to do what every newbie to entrepreneurship should be doing: seize every opportunity that presents itself.