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Franchising in the time of pandemic

Uncertain times bring out the worst in others. But it also brings out the best.

Take the beauty business franchise of Karla De Leon and Sarah Rodriguez. Instead of wallowing in despair during the pandemic, these entrepreneurs put up a franchise of The Pretty You, an aesthetic clinic owned by former medical representative Jessa Macaraig.

The Pretty You franchise in Malolos, Bulacan is almost two years old. The other one running in Congressional, Quezon City is one year old.

The Quezon City franchise started at the height of the Delta variant when the government imposed a second lockdown.

(Husband and Wife Joel and Karla De Leon, franchise owners of The Pretty You, Malolos Bulacan)

But unlike other franchises, the two businesses did not close. They even thrived.

“It usually takes time – five years for any business to recoup its investment,” states Karla.” But two years after, we have recovered almost all our investment. We’re surprised at how many people avail of our services, especially during the lockdown. Instead of feeling stressed, they think of looking good when they finally get a chance to leave their homes.”

She adds that the staff makes sure clients are safe by enforcing safety protocols like social distancing. Walk-ins are not allowed. Everything is by appointment.

Glutathione treatment and underarm whitening are the top favorites because clients find them more affordable than those in other clinics. The couple offers a promo package composed of face whitening, lipo cavitation, slimming services, and RF (radio frequency) whitening worth P5,999 for 40 sessions.

These would not have been possible without some inspiration from Jessa Macaraig, the former medical representative who took a leap of faith and founded The Pretty You. The thirty-something entrepreneur weathered the challenges of the pandemic which threatened The Pretty You’s survival.

(Sarah Rodriguez, franchise owner of The Pretty You, Congressional, Quezon City)

She came up with novel concepts, like attractive packaging, and new products to keep the business going. She took care of her staff by opening a food business so she can give employees their 13th month's pay.

Karla, Macaraig’s long-time acquaintance, saw this with her own two eyes. She checked out Macaraig’s social media account. She saw how trustworthy and hardworking Macaraig is. So, when she was invited to open a franchise, Karla and her husband said yes.

Like Joel and Karla, Sarah is positive their franchise will flourish, especially now that the pandemic is almost over.

She offers these pieces of advice to those who want to do business.

First, be brave, very brave. Heartbreaking things happen when you least expect them. Ignorance of the ins and outs of the business is not an excuse. You must see things through, no matter what.

Second, get a mentor. He or she will get you started on the right foot. They will guide you in getting basic requirements like a barangay, and fire and sanitary certificates on top of a business permit. Beyond that, there are still so many things to learn.

Third, love what you do. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. If you love what you do, you can endure all challenges. Otherwise, you’ll drop everything.

Take it from a successful, happy franchisee who has weathered the pandemic storm.

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