Having your life partner by your side through the good times and the bad is one of life’s greatest delights. While many believe that it’s not a good idea to start a business with your partner, the young couple behind the Shopee store BuyMore_Ph proves it can work. Rommel and Ajima’s inspirational love story and Shopee journey are testaments to how teamwork, trust, and communication can lead to success in their personal and professional lives.
Blossoming of the relationship and the beginning of their Shopee journey
Rommel and Ajima started selling on Shopee in 2017 as a newly-engaged couple looking for a side hustle to fund their wedding and honeymoon. In their early days on Shopee, they would sell trendy items such as lip tints and ready-to-wear clothes for men and women.
They admit that it was not easy at first but what helped their business succeed was to tap into the current trends. The couple explained, “sumasabay kami sa uso para maka-attract ng customers at nagiging open kami to more variety sa shop namin para mas marami talaga bumili.” [“We had to ride on the trends during that time to offer customers with a wide variety of items that they would be interested in.”]
The turning point of their business happened in 2018 as their shop continued to perform well and more Filipinos began to embrace e-commerce. Rommel, then an IT specialist, and Ajima, a licensed tax consultant, made the crucial decision to quit their jobs and become full-time Shopee sellers. It was daunting, but the couple remained optimistic. After all, now they have more time together as they run their business. “Parang cheesy siya pero sa totoo lang mas masarap talaga mag work kung may goals kayo hanggang pagtanda,” shared Ajima. [“It’s quite cheesy but honestly it really feels so good to work with your partner when you have shared goals until you grow old together.”]
Growing together as husband and wife and business partners in life
When asked what their secret was, the couple says it’s learning how to manage their emotions, in and out of work. Rommel shares “Natutunan namin ihiwalay ang emotions sa trabaho as much as possible [“we learned to compartmentalize our emotions when it comes to the business], and we’re still learning everyday how to improve that. Hindi namin hinahayaan na mangibabaw ang emotions” [“we don’t let emotions get the best of us”], to which Ajima agreed and said, “More than husband and wife, we’re partners in everything”
Their relationship wasn’t the only thing that grew due to their business. They also grew as individuals, becoming more empathetic and decisive in handling their employees was something new to the both of them. With their success, BuyMore_Ph has been able to grant invaluable opportunities to working students and individuals who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and even some who were unable to finish their studies, especially during these more challenging times.
Rommel, who is more soft-spoken one among the couple, learned to go out of his comfort zone and lead his employees. “Hindi talaga ako masyado makausap sa tao, pero kailangan kong kausapin sila isa-isa para alamin kung ano ang problema.” [I’m not a very talkative and outspoken person but I had to learn how to talk to different kinds of people to resolve issues.]
The couple recognizes the huge role their employees have in the success they’ve achieved. “Super thankful din kami sa kanila kasi nakahanap kami ng tao na may concern din sa kung paano namin pinahalagahan yung business namin,” [“we’re very grateful to have found people who value our business the way we do”] Rommel said.
Inspiring other couples to be persevering and entrepreneurial
The seller couple advises other Shopee sellers to not give up and to trust the process. There may be times when certain strategies don’t always work, but Rommel and Ajima believe that sticking together and enjoying the journey will ultimately reap rewards. Ajima reminds couples who also dream of becoming entrepreneurs to play to each other’s strengths and complement each other’s weaknesses,“kung ano kulang ng isa, napupunan ng isa.” [“whatever one lacks, the other will make up for”]
Rommel and Ajima never expected their once small goal of earning extra income to become a life-changing opportunity for them, their family, and their employees. BuyMore_Ph is now one of the top-selling stores on Shopee with over 1.9M followers. In a few months, Rommel, Ajima, and their almost one-year old baby (who was born during the 5.5 rush of 2021, no less) will move into their dream house. They continue to oversee more than 40 employees and the operations of their warehouse, as they venture into more ways to expand their business this 2022.
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