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December 15, 2017

CHRISTMAS MUSINGS

While watching over the store this Christmas season, I’ve seen some friends walk in—one is banker Ed Francisco who is a health buff, who got some nice natural pumice stones as gifts. Then yesterday I saw Marge Enriquez, a vegetarian, journalist and wellness advocate who was having coffee and hot chocolate as she was looking for gifts, and finally before I left I saw Ron Chua, academe and lecturer on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and other social and development subjects.

Then I realized, this is ECHOstore. It’s for the health buff, the wellness advocate, the vegetarian and of course, the socially-conscious among us. I had a silent smile as I was walking out of the store. I am happy to be able to serve these people. My partners and I love that people have taken to natural and organic, locally-made food, our freshly-made salads and sandwiches, and our body products, too. Such is today’s lifestyle after all. Not just for women, but for men as well. Counting my sample set (mentioned above) of two men and one woman already tweaks my statistics.

Over at Serendra, I observed corporate procurement people looking over their lists. “No, we have to get them something more expensive” one says. Then, we offered many different kinds of hampers and wooden boxes to be filled with assorted food treats. They left with an order for more than 50 sets of gifts.

Another woman walks in, friend in tow, “this is the store I was telling you about, “ she says. “Everything sustainable,” she continues. And they leave with some staples for their pantry: Virgin Coconut Oil, Coconut Sugar, and Coffee. I’m happy we have addressed this segment of the market and we have been for almost 10 years now.

When I came home I watched Green Living on cable TV. Hey, this show has also gone on for years already. And I love their new portion of Do It Yourself or DIY.  They teach you how to make your own skin scrub, your own home cleaners while also featuring new entrepreneurs in the eco-friendly field.

Yes, it may have taken 9 years, but it’s here—everyone thinking sustainable, socially-conscious, healthy and eco-friendly. It has always been the triple bottom line. And I’m now seeing it in action.

We had many detractors when we started—but we have kept on and stayed the course. Many have even replicated our concept of healthy and green, and we don’t mind at all. Imagine Ces Drilon now a Malunggay farmer. She will be supplying us with Moringa Dips, pasta and pesto. Imagine Tintin Babao supplying us mango chocolates and pastillas.

Our social development continues especially with our coffee and cacao products. We are proud to work with communities who supply the best local coffee and the best chocolates, too. We have visited Subasta Coop in Davao which supplies Theo and Philo (our first chocolate artisan supplier back in 2011), all the way to our Bohol women who supply our cacao nibs and tablea.

Our coffee comes from our partners in Benguet, Sulu and Batangas and many parts of the country. Why coffee? Because our customers are particular about the coffee we serve at the ECHOcafe and the coffee they take home to brew. After all, each day starts with a cup of good coffee, don’t you agree?

And our eco-friendly home cleaning solutions also started as inspired by Messy Bessy who then went mainstream. Our detergent and VCO soap suppliers have scaled up their production facilities. Because people now care about what they use at home, everyday.

Our aromatherapy products and Ilog Maria honey bee products have been popular  from day one. Almost 10 years now, we have been doing aromatherapy which is our Spa in a Bottle and Spa in a Can—our two most popular products which is now also prescribed by doctors. One  customer came in with a prescription—that makes us proud that even traditional doctors have considered our solution to stress therapy.

All is good at ECHOstore, this is our 10th Christmas actually, having started September 2008. It’s been a long time sharing our mission and vision with our customers. We started with the older set—women in their 30s—and our market has grown both ways, sideways—the young and the more mature have joined our initial market of young mothers and foreigners. Now we have men, too, the newest growing segment in personal care and socially-conscious products.

And I believe the growing trend. I just saw Ed Francisco and Ron Chua. Two men I probably would not guess to shop at ECHOstore. And they do.

Thanks to all our customers for believing in our mission. Our advocacy. Our business.

Merry Christmas to all.

 

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