My apologies for last week's missed column. Another duty called, but I hope I can make up with this interesting story of how a uniquely Filipino brand started modestly with a simple business plan and is now a flourishing enterprise here at home.
Who does not know Mr. Quickie? I think every Pinoy recognizes the iconic logo of Mr. Quickie which is a familiar and welcome sight wherever there is much foot traffic-in malls, in busy corners, just about everywhere.
Our Business & Leisure staff had an interesting talk with Mr. Quickie's Chief Executive Officer,Emiliano Caruncho IV, orNino as friends call him. I remember Nino as one of our young (and good) badminton players back in the 90s at the Valle Verde Country Club, and now this young man calls the shots at this enterprise.
As Nino narrated, Mr. Quickie was started by his father, Emiliano III in 1981. His Dad was a real entrepreneur at heart, and like many others, he had a string of failed businesses. He went into frozen foods, even produced one movie. During one of his trips in Southeast Asia, he noticed a business model that was faring well, small stores providing service along the streets and in department stores. This was really was inspired him to duplicate it here, tweaking the concept a little to fit into the Pinoy lifestyle. Nino recalled that at that time, he and his siblings were growing and his father noted that there was no decent shoe repair stores to bring their "pudpud" shoes to for repair or sole replacement. Those fly-by-night stalls in the wet market were not reliable and, what if the next day they have fled with a good pair of shoes?
Nino graduated with a degree in Business Administration at the University of the Philippines in 1995 and took a Master's degree at the Asian Institute of Management, following in the footsteps of his Dad, and he immediately took over the growing family business. He grew up in an entrepreneurial atmosphere at home, and knew that he did not want to end up in the corporate world. In fact, as early as high school, he was already engaged in small businesses, importing badminton supplies back in 1987 when badminton was the craze and selling them here. He even had an online video store when there was still no broadband in the Philippines and the internet was much slower than what it is now. Those were failed businesses that served him well and prepared him for a more established business.
When his Dad started Mr. Quickie, he employed what he learned in business school and they called this back then as the Blitzkrieg Strategy. This simply means expanding as rapidly as you can in the shortest time possible. With this strategy, Emiliano III completely shut out all his competitors because there was a Mr. Quickie store in all the strategic places. The strategy worked.
When Nino took over, he continued the feverish expansion. It also bears mentioning here that the chosen brand name was catchy and with easy recall, two of the most important elements when choosing a brand name. They started out with basic services: shoe and bag repair and key duplication. He not only worked on expanding the reach of his brand, Nino also put a lot of weight on the need to innovate, his cardinal rule in business. They have since added more services like alterations, bag restoration, and leather conditioning. They even embroider logos on jackets and sweaters.
In the name of his cardinal rule that is innovation, he has also opened Mr. Quickie to franchises. Now this brand has no less than fifty (50) company-owned stores and about one hundred fifty (150) franchises spread out all over the archipelago. Nino wisely says that he does not want to have too many management branches to ensure stricter monitoring.
Now, he recently opened a new store, Royal Restore under the Mr. Quickie brand. Cognizant of how many millenials own and treasure their high-end bags and shoes, there was niche that he could fill. He has skilled workers who can handle these expensive shoes and bags with tender loving care to restore them to their former glory. Actually, when his Dad started the business in the early 80s, he sourced his workers in Marikina where there was a wealth of highly-skilled workers in the thriving shoe industry. When Nino took over, part of his new program involved a 3-month training program for all his workers to ensure sustained quality control in all the stores. The workers assigned to Royal Restore are cleared for the sensitive restoration job. Very soon, Nino says, they are also going to offer yet another new service. Notice how expensive rubber shoes are now a must-have for our young professionals? These rubber shoes also need repairs, restoration, and he is now working on this special type of service.
So much has happened to this iconic Filipino brand, so we asked Nino: what else is in store for Mr. Quickie? More expansion, to be sure, and more franchises to open, but he is now seriously eyeing foreign shores for his expansion. He has had quite a few inquiries about this, but he is treading cautiously. He knows that choosing the right partner in a foreign country is crucial, but he is open to the idea.
This young man who I used to watch play good badminton has made his own mark in a family business that he has inherited. When asked for his advice to would-be entrepreneurs, he did not have an off-the-cuff answer. Many, he said, would normally say that one has to find his passion. In his case, this business was not exactly his idea of finding his passion, but he knew that he had to make a difference, he had to leave a mark and he had to achieve success. Working hard, planning well and innovating are his recipes for success. Perhaps he can find his passion somewhere else, and maybe even make it a profitable venture in due time. For now, Mr. Quickie is his baby, and he is certainly there to make it grow even bigger.
Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.
For comments & inquiries (email) email@example.com