There is something young and vibrant about Ricca Presa’s circle shawls, a cheekiness that she plays up even more on her brand’s Facebook page. It makes people wonder how such a seemingly simple product could have so much personality and so much potential for profit. But perhaps that’s exactly why Ricca is the one reaping the benefits now. After all, it takes a keen eye to spot a good business opportunity, and Ricca certainly has one to be proud of.

In fact, when she received her first circle shawl—a gift from a friend—she loved it so much that she wore it every day.

“Then people started to ask me what I was wearing because they found it very cool and fun,” she tells FN. “That’s when I knew there was a market for the circle shawls.”

In December of 2011, she organized a test run. She started with 20 pieces first, but they were all gone in a week’s time. She went on to buy 50 more, but just like the first batch, they also sold like hotcakes. That was when Ricca, who was then working in the corporate industry, decided that it was probably time to try becoming a full-time entrepreneur.  

She began by harnessing the power of word-of-mouth and utilizing social media to further spread word about her business, I.M. Presa. Orders were coming and money was pouring in. By all accounts, Ricca appeared to have it all.

However, such a gutsy move was not without its fair share of consequences. “Unlike having a regular salary, I have to find ways to sell my product to make money to build funding for my business and for my personal expenses,” says Ricca. “I constantly have to remind and push myself to do the tasks I need to [do to] make my product move in the market.”

There was undoubtedly a bit of pressure to do well. But as troubling as this might sound to other people, Ricca sees her risky leap quite differently.

Adjusting to the changes can be both emotionally and physically taxing, but I find it very worth it. I am not working hard just to get [paid], I’m working hard because I am building a brand I created.

These are not mere words for Ricca, who cites her lola from her dad’s side and her angkong (grandfather) from her mom’s side—both entrepreneurs—as her personal heroes. She makes it a point to personally attend to every aspect of her business. “I scout for the material from a trusted supplier, then I have them sewn and cut. I do all the quality checking to ensure that [the items are] in good shape, ready to be sold,” she explains. Dealing with clients, models, and photographers are also part of her duty.

The femtrepreneur admits that her responsibilities can be a bit challenging at times, but she has no qualms that she chose the right path. After all, being a business woman does come with “Flexible hours, meeting different kinds of people, and the [insights you get] that neither a school nor a desk job can teach you is priceless…”

Should everyone with a dream just go ahead and take the leap she did? “You have to really have that WANT to take the risk,” she advises. “You’ve only got one life so make the best out of it.”  

(All photos courtesy of Ricca Presa)

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