TWP Success Stories: Interview with Ciara Bernadete Ng-Tuquero

TWP Success Stories is a feature of The Wealthy Pinay in which we will celebrate Success and Women Empowerment! Two things that we are very passionate about in our community.

I have always wanted to interview successful Filipina entrepreneurs and ask them their about their business journeys, how they balance work and life and ask for advices that can help fellow TWPs. We will feature ladies who, in spite and despite of challenges they have and are still experiencing, are continuously working to achieve their goals. These are the Filipinas who took the risks and followed their hearts. I truly admire these women because of their determination and grit, and you can really feel their sincerity and good heart – a trait of a real Wealthy Pinay.

We would be featuring Filipina entrepreneurs of all business types (online businesses, solopreneurs, service-oriented, brick-and-mortar businesses) that are registered legally in the Philippines or anywhere else in the world.

My sincere hope is that you get inspired by their stories. We usually create our own ‘stories’ why it’s difficult for us to achieve something while it’s possible for someone else.  The truth is nothing is impossible – your age doesn’t matter, how much money in your bank account doesn’t matter, success doesn’t care if you have a degree or not, it doesn’t matter if you came from a broken family – IT DON’T MATTER.

The only thing important is COURAGE. Have courage to take action!

And I hope these ladies featured in The Wealthy Pinay Success Stories will inspire you to take the leap and have that courage ❤

 

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For our first TWP Success feature, we have interviewed Ciara Bernadete Ng-Tuquero. Ciara is a childhood friend and a schoolmate in Obando, Bulacan. Growing up I recall visiting their house whenever we have a class music project and her lola was always there welcoming us. Ciara has a beautiful voice and plays the keyboard very well too. We lost touch after high school and I’m glad that we reconnected through Facebook a few years ago (social media is not so bad after all).

I’ve always consider Ciara as my brainy-friend. She was a working student while earning her academic units for the Masters  in Psychology Program major in Human Development Psychology (told you she’s smart!). Before she became full-time in her businesses, she has worked as Kumon assistant instructor, guidance counselor, ESL teacher and HR practitioner. She is an active member of Couple for Christ together with her husband and has 2 children and another one due in October!

Ciara is now married for 10 years to Atty. Sherwin N. Tuquero and together they own and manage several businesses including Orange Blush Salon (a franchise she bought in 2013), Tuquero Law Office, Naty Computer Shop and Tuquero Rice Dealer & General Merchandise (started in 2010). I am so privileged that they agreed on doing this interview.

How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

RICE BUSINESS (GENERAL MERCHANDISE)
– inspired and motivated by mother-in-law who was a successful businesswoman (palay buying, grocery, rice milling)

SALON
– the idea to go with franchising this type of venture was the dream of my mother-in-law
– inspired to become the “first” branded salon in Victoria, Tarlac

(Lyn Joy: How lovely that she give credits to her mother-in-law and acknowledging her MIL’s success ❤)

How much was your initial capital when you started?

RICE BUSINESS (GENERAL MERCHANDISE)
– around P500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Pesos)

SALON
– more than 1M Pesos including construction of outlet and training of staff

(Lyn Joy: I love entrepreneurs who share their numbers not to brag but just to state the fact. When I’m researching for business ideas, I’d like to know how much owners spent on their startup and they rarely mentioned it. Is it the shame of having money (or not having enough) or they think it’s not important? Well, it is important and very useful to newbie entrepreneurs. By the way, in case you are interested to know, SLIAN NAILS costs us around  P700,000  from construction until the time we launched.)

I guess you also faced some problems all entrepreneurs experienced when starting? Like, no clients, things are not moving well, etc? How do you keep moving in spite of all these?

Of course, no one is exempted. We are thankful that we have survived the “honeymoon” period of being fully operational in both of our ventures. We still are being challenged until now, but wiser this time when it comes to decision-making. I am lucky that I have a husband who was very supportive and determined to surpass all the challenges.

I’m also thankful for the marketing support by the owners of Orange Blush Salon Head Office Management. And lastly, family support through referrals and prayers extended to us especially by my Daddy Ver, Nanay Naty and Mommy Nory.

(Lyn Joy: I love this couple! Ciara, from the onset, has been gushing about her husband and that I should actually be interviewing him instead of her. It just shows how much she respects and honor Sherwin. Just love!)

How did you build up an entrepreneurial spirit, do you believe you were born with it or you developed it?

I guess I have this “entrepreneurial spirit” already within me which started when I was 7 years old. I used to sell homemade ice candies with my cousin after school and from there I realized how to value hardwork and money. Wayback in college, I used to sell 2nd hand phones and colognes to my colleagues and friends.

I believe that I was born business-minded. It was just that my direction when I was young was unclear then since I grew up in a family where all were in the employment sector. It was only in the past decade that I saw the vast opportunities that business can offer.

The skills I think were only developed through time. A work in progress through the years.

Do you think your mindset has anything to do with your success?

Yes, having a “positive” mindset is very important if you want to go into business. A lot of people would call us successful, but we attributed what we have gained to our faith – in our capacities and in our team. I believe that I can only be fully successful once I have seen the professional growth also of our team.

(Lyn Joy: Having the right mindset is the most important attribute required for every entrepreneur. I think all Filipinas who would be featured here will agree with me. And this is what The Wealthy Pinay really focuses on – Positive Mindset)

As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?

Giving decent jobs to a lot of locals. My solid background in HR I guess had helped me a lot in the management of our small ventures.

Well, this question might sound funny, do you think it is easy to be an entrepreneur?

It is not easy. It will make you crazy! Crying and laughing at the same time literally! Especially, when times are getting tough and set goals are not met for reasons which you cannot explain you really need to have an overdose of kindness to yourself.

(Lyn Joy: When we are so stressed with our daytime job, we might be tempted to submit our resignation letter and just leave with no turning back. We then plan on having our own business and think that finally life will be easy. Reality is IT’S NOT. I’m not saying this to discourage you, but rather to show you the truth. I don’t want you to face hardship on your 1st month of business and then throw-in the white towel immediately. As Ciara said, you will cry and laugh at the same (I’m literally like this too!) and I love that she said to be kind to yourself. Very true and I cannot agree more!)

What do you do for encouragement or to be motivated?

– Our people are our driving force. When we see them that they can buy the things that they need and provide financial support (though a small amount) to their families, it gives us a different kind of satisfaction!
– I read books, articles and attend seminars.
– I consult my lawyer, my better half for legal action hahaha!

(Lyn Joy: Frankly, money is a good motivation for business but you know the truth? It might sound corny, but helping people (empowering them, helping them financially, etc) is way more powerful motivator than anything else. I love that Ciara mentioned this 🙂 )

How do you balance your entrepreneur life with being a mother and wife?


Family comes first. Through the years, I have learned how to juggle moments of being an entrepreneur, mother and wife. My advantage is that I have a very supportive husband who lets me be who I want to be since we got married.

I can consider myself an OC (Obsessive Compulsive) when it comes to handling matters in our small ventures. It is like taking my everyday vitamins, checking and monitoring our teams online and being with them as much as we can. But looking back, prayers really helped me go through with all these. It is a deep personal relationship with God that enabled me and my husband to overcome the most tried times in our lives. People may see us strong and blessed, but we consider ourselves more than that and we have seen that through the years that we have a mission to be an inspiration to others – to become a great tandem in love, life & business!

Where do you see your business growing these coming years?

I want to expand of course and a lot of ideas are in the pipeline already but due to financial constraints these are still on hold. Husband and I are still praying for it!

What do you think it takes to succeed in business?

– Financial capacity
– People-handling skills
– Legal knowledge (doing business especially here in our country!)
– Strong entrepreneurial spirit
– Must be a team player as well
– Humility
– SAVE!
– A little of luck
– A lot of HARD WORK and PRAYER!

What are your advices to our fellow Wealthy Pinays just starting out?

– If single who is starting out, be open with your ideas to your parents; If married, be open about everything to your husband.
– Do extensive research first whether you are into franchising or you are into a “start-up.”
– Consult a lawyer.
– Create a Business Plan. Write it down. Record everything.
– Do not be disheartened when things get tough. It is part of the journey.
– Spread out your investments. Do not put everything into one jar.
– Once operational, be systematic and organized.
– Listen to your people! Train them. Believe in their talents.
– SAVE!
– Give back…

 

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There are so many things she mentioned here that are so juicy I want to ask for follow-up questions (create a business plan, spread out your investments, do extensive research, etc.). But I know that managing several businesses while running after 2 kids and being pregnant is not easy – at all. So let me park these questions for next time and I hope she will grace us again soon 🙏.

Thank you so much Ciara for taking the time and answering all my questions ❤. I know it’s not easy to do this interview by email with all the back and forth correspondence but you have been very generous of your time and knowledge.

Please follow the Tuquero Group and all their business ventures!

My fellow TWPs, remember to Live the Life You have Imagined

Live The Life and Business You Have Imagined!

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