Matapos mawalan ng trabaho sa United Arab Emirates dahil sa pandemic, matapang na pinasok ng isang Filipino worker (OFW) ang milk tea business gamit ang kaniyang ipon sa ilang taon na pagtatrabaho.
Ngayon, unti-unti nang nakababangon si Vin Jimenez sa matinding pagsubok matapos buksan ang ikalawang tindahan niya ng milk tea--ang Joy Bubble.
Nakaplano na rin ang pagbubukas ng ikatlong tindahan bago matapos ang 2021.
“The business went smoothly until the most challenging part came when the government announced a temporary closure of the Dubai Metro due to pandemic,” sabi ni Jimenez na tubong Pampanga.
Marso 2020 nang buksan ni Jimenez ang unang Joy Bubble milk tea store sa Al Qusais. Isang buwan makalipas nito, nagpatupad ng quarantine measures sa kanilang lugar.
“It prevented our employees from reporting to work; also, the sterilization programs halted business operations to a shorter run of 8 p.m. due to the curfew imposed,” kuwento niya.
Gayunman, ginamit ni Jimenez ang pagkakataon na ipagpatuloy ang negosyo kahit nasa bahay ang maraming tao at nagtatrabaho.
“It was a silver lining that spiked the demand in food deliveries including our bubble teas,” saad niya. “My husband rolled up his sleeves and said, ‘We have to run the business by ourselves, literally’.”
Katuwang ang kaniyang mister, pinagtulungan nilang patakbuhin ang kanilang munting negosyo.
“We immediately added rider services partnering with us to reach more customers on time and we were able to hit our targets. It was really a very humbling experience serving our customers who did not know they were dealing with the store owner themselves,” kuwento pa ng dating OFW.
Pagkaraan ng 10 buwan, binuksan nila ang kanilang ikalawang tindahan sa Bur Dubai, na kilala rin sa tawag na “Old Dubai.”
“We employed people who lost jobs due to the pandemic,” sabi ni Jimenez.
Taong 2007 nang magtungo sa Dubai si Jimenez gamit ang visit visa at inutang lang niya sa tiyahin ang ginastos sa kaniyang pagbiyahe.
Nakapagtrabaho siya bilang sekretarya sa isang construction company at nalipat sa isang trading company.
Taong 2010 naman nang makuha niya ang kaniyang asawa at dalawang anak.
“Being unemployed for some time triggered my brave decision to open up my own venture in Dubai,” ayon kay Jimenez.
Nakatulong daw sa kaniya ang pagsali niya sa isang business course program para sa mga OFW na inorganisa ng non-profit, non-government Philippine Business Council – Dubai & Northern Emirates (PBC-DNE) na pinamamahalaan din ng mga OFWs.
“It was timely for me to attend the program (which was called Genbix) as trainors were reputable and long-established Filipino businessmen in Dubai sharing their insights right from A to Z of setting up,” aniya.
“Having the right product and business trainings, I was ready to start my own business in Dubai so I used all my decade-earned savings being an OFW and downgraded our car for additional funding,” sabi pa ni Jimenez. --FRJ, GMA News