Aubrey Miles is a busy working mom of three kids: Maurie, 20; Hunter, 13; and Rocket, who turns 3 in December 2021.
She's an actress, TV personality, product endorser, certified fitness trainer, plantita, and entrepreneur. Aside from selling her plants, she also runs her own pawnshop business: A-Miles Pawnshop. Its first branch is located along P. Tuazon Street in Cubao, and the other one, at the Makati Cinema Square.
"People will always look for a pawnshop," Aubrey tells SmartParenting.com.ph in an exclusive online interview. In fact, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which started in March 2020, she recalls getting a lot of inquiries. But she couldn't open her shops because of pandemic-related restrictions.
"I don’t want to rejoice about ’yung maraming nagsasanla, ang daming nangangailangan," she points out. "But you know what, ang daming nangailangan na natulungan pa rin. Meron ding nagtutubos. No’ng time ng pandemic, kahit closed kami, ang daming gustong magsanla."
Aubrey says she gravitated toward the pawnshop business because of her early exposure to the financial trade.
"No’ng bata kasi ako," she recalls, "my mom, ’yung parents n’ya, nasa lending business na sila, sa gold. Ando’n na sila sa gano’ng side. Gold, trading, lending. Actually, may lending business kami before. Nasa part na siya ng money, then na-connect lang sa pawnshop."
She adds, "Actually, we wanted a money exchange. Gusto ko ang ganyang business. Small area lang, pero big [earnings]. I don’t like a business na big area, pero small lang ang earnings."
Aubrey is grateful for being guided by her mom and other relatives in setting up the business back in 2005, when she was very busy making movies and appearing in TV shows. It was also the early stage of her relationship with Troy Montero, who's the father of Hunter and Rocket.
"And’yan s’ya no’ng nag-start kami," she says of her mom. "Wala akong time noon maghanap ng lugar-lugar. Mostly ang tao namin sa pawnshop, family member. Napadali naman, kahit hindi ako pumupunta doon every day."
She adds in jest, "Kapag nagloko sila, alam ko ang bahay nila. Hindi sila makaka-attend ng Christmas party."
Aubrey has realized that running a pawnshop is "not easy, pero hindi naman gano’n kahirap." But she cautions those interested to get into the business to do their research first and find good people to run it with.
She points out, "It involves actual money, di ba? You have to like it. Ako kasi, siguro lumaki na akong gano’n. Think of how much money you’ll put in. Dito kasi unlimited. But you don’t have to be a millionaire to have one."
The astute entrepreneur suggests gaining "financial guidance" to effectively run a pawnshop business. For instance, she attends the yearly seminar organized by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) that runs for three days. She studies alongside owners of banks, currency-exchange services, remittance centers, and among others.
As in any other business ventures, Aubrey has encountered a few minor bumps. A recent one involves posting online of photos of repossessed items, or naremata, which the pawnshop now sells. She's gotten messages from the past owners, telling her "Oh, that’s mine. Why are you selling that?" So she's now more careful.
But, yes, Aubrey confirms there are a lot of good buys and investment pieces in naremata items. She explains that pawnshop owners usually fix and clean the items before selling them at low prices. Popular items include watches, jewelry, gadgets, and laptops.