Want to Start a Business? Neri Miranda, Wil Dasovich and the Girls of Neon Island Have Tips

Those wanting to start a business would find it a good idea to look at those who have set up their own. For beginners, the obvious route would be to go online, where it’s easier to start since it involves less capital and presents unlimited opportunities for promotion. Online shopping and selling are popular in the Philippines, with the terms “hm sis?” (how much, sis?) and “pm sent” (private message sent) entering daily conversations.

To give online sellers the chance to reach their audience in real-time, LBC organized So Shop!, a one-day bazaar that gathered over 100 social sellers, thousands of shoppers,  and influencers. For one weekend, guests got to shop for fashion items, homeware, pet goodies, and other lifestyle items that we see on our social media feed.

At the same time, LBC invited industry speakers to share their tips on starting a business and growing them. We got the chance to talk to Neri Miranda, Wil Dasovich, and the girls of Neon Island to share their secrets in starting a business.

Neri Miranda

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Neri is known as the “wais na misis” for her entrepreneurial mindset. This one-woman team runs multiple concepts, including Neri’s Gourmet Tuyo, a line of bedding, sleepwear, and accessories, an events place in Tagaytay called Neri’s Not So Secret Garden, and a bakery called Neri’s Bakeshop.

Given the number of businesses that she has, it’s curious to know how she knows what concept will sell. According to her, she tests it on her followers. To be fair, she has a large following online, with 1.2 million followers on Instagram. Neri starts it with a story to hook her fans. “Kailangan may storytelling. Pag may sinusubaybayan sila, feeling nila parte sila ng story mo. May nabasa ako na sabi, ‘don’t sell your product. Sell emotions.'” At the same time, authenticity is important.

While we may not have that many followers, it’s helpful insight. We can try a concept with our friends and see if it will fly. As for telling a story, you can see it in her Instagram when she talks about her businesses. It feels like reading a short story. It’s a style that her husband, musician Chito Miranda, also uses and you know it helps because many of his posts about her go viral and has good engagement.

Given this, Neri says that social media is important in her businesses. She said, “Lahat libre. Kung magbo-boost ka, murang mura.”

For aspiring entrepreneurs, Neri has a few tips. She said, “go lang ng go. wag kayo matakot. Pag nagkaroon kayo ng mistake or rejection, yan yung steps towards success. Dun ka mahahasa.”

Wil Dasovich

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Wil Dasovich is known for his vlogs, but he also handles merch for Tsong and Tsonggo and MerchBy, a line of shirts designed by his fellow content creators.

Wil began when he wanted to do something different. He made videos and pitched to the top networks, hoping they would pick it up. They rejected his ideas so he put everything on YouTube. The rest, as they say, is history. Following his success on the streaming platform, where he has more than two million followers, he opened his shirt business.

He started his businesses on a practical note. He said, “Back in the day we weren’t making money as YouTubers. I had to find a way to make money and keep vlogging sustainable.”

Social media helped the business become limitless, allowing him to reach as many people as possible. For those who want to start their business, he said, “the number one advantage you have against anyone else is hard work. As long as you work harder than anyone else, it can get you really far and be noticed. You also have to take risks. It’s a scary world but don’t let failure bring you down.”

For those who want to start their channel, he advised, “Find out what makes you different. If you don’t know what makes you different, continue to do as many things as possible. To get one step closer to find out what you do love doing, you find out what you don’t like doing.”

Neon Island

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Neon Island started because its founders, Chi Gibbs and Aira Medina, have been best friends since high school. They’ve always been interested in fashion but they took different courses in college. After school, they had day jobs but studied sewing and design as a creative outlet. The brand took off when they made clothes for themselves, which their friends encouraged to turn into a business.

While they have a physical space already, online still makes up a bulk of the business. “For a new business, you take all the free marketing you can get,” said Chi. “We started with just social media.”

“We started Neon Island with just our savings,” Aira added. “Social media is free. Na-maximize namin because it’s free to post. A lot of our growth, we attribute it to social media.”

As for advice they have for entrepreneurs, it’s this. For Aira, it’s motivating yourself. “Know your whys. Bakit mo ginagawa yung ginagawa mo? You won’t wake up every day motivated.”

For Chi, “there’s no right time or formula for starting a business. You still have to do your research and learn as much as you can, pero when starting a business, you have to take a risk. You don’t have to figure out everything all at once.”

LBC is helpful for these business owners. Neri has been using LBC to ship deliveries for her items. She trusts the brand because of its high trust ratings. Neon Island has also been working with LBC for the past year for delivery. Like Neri, Chi and Aira rely on the brand’s trusted reputation.

“Our partnership really bridged the gap on so many problems that we have,” shared Aira. She cited examples like cash on delivery and pick-up, which has eased customers’ minds on paying. Now, they can pay only when they receive the item they’ve had delivered.

“As a business owner, mas kampante ka,” added Chi. “There are many things you don’t have to think about. You can focus more on other aspects of your business when you know someone takes care of your logistics. That’s a very important thing for an online brand.”


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