“I think that’s what entrepreneurs have that make them stand out: we don’t have the skill but we are willing to learn anyway and figure things out”
Top e-commerce platform, Lazada, welcomes Women’s Month through the first-ever Lazada Forward Women Awards. Get to know “petrepreneur” Georgianna Carlos, co-founder of Fetch! Naturals, an entire innovative line of premium natural pet care products for your best friend!
Also part of the sought-after Forbes 30 Under 30 List, the Filipina (who runs three startups, mind you) gives Wonder readers practical tips and tricks to start your own business in your 20s—even in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic. Read the full interview ahead.
Wonder: Hi, Georgianna! Can you tell us more about yourself—as an individual, entrepreneur and female?
Georgianna: Sure! I’m currently 30-years-old, and I run three businesses, Fetch Naturals, MyOffice Philippines (the country’s longest running, 100% Filipina-owned virtual offices) and Permitly PH (an online solution where we take care of the “unsexy side” of starting a business AKA helping entrepreneurs register their company in the Philippines).
Aside from being an entrepreneur, I am an avid traveler (at least, pre-pandemic) and an Italian language student.
W: What was your lightbulb moment for Fetch! Naturals? What were you trying to remedy, and what solutions did you introduce for it?
G: It was a mix of trying to find a shampoo that my dog can react well to (or is hiyang to) since he was just allergic to everything. It was when I stumbled upon a shampoo from Europe that has Neem as an active ingredient, and when I researched what Neem was, I learned it grows in the Philippines. From there, it snowballed into, “Why not make a shampoo here since the ingredient is from here, while introducing something new to the market?” At that time, popular ingredients for locally made shampoos included Madre de Cacao, Coconut and Aloe Vera so Neem was a novelty, which required that we do a lot of educating.
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Aside from that, part of the educating was realizing that there was a lot of misinformation [about] what it means to use natural products. So, we decided to stand out in two ways: 1. our process of choosing extracts and 2. focus on certifications.
With the success of our Neem line, we decided that it would be great to continue this path of discovering other ways local produce can be used—that’s why we were the first ever to launch a Jicama (Singkamas in Tagalog) Brightening Shampoo and a Dark Molasses (sugar cane- derived) Shampoo for pets.
W: Are there any challenges as a “petpreneur” you're facing in the midst of a pandemic?
G: Our main challenge especially in the beginning of lockdown was logistics as everything was closed. We were lucky though that pre-pandemic we focused on growing our “Petpreneurs,” our community reseller program. Onboarding on Lazada was also something that helped drive our growth and digital presence. During the lockdown, Lazada really helped boost our business as they made it easier for us to cater to our customers during this time. Being on the platform also enabled us to reach even more customers from around the country with their extensive logistics network.
W: You were part of Forbes 30 Under 30, congratulations! My question being, do you feel any pressure to do “everything” and have your life figured out before 30, especially because of the presence of social media?
G: Definitely. We all know that people always will show their “highs” on social media. However, even if we all know that fact internally, we all do experience moments of weakness where we are overwhelmed and feel that we are not “at par” with our peers. So I do try to remind myself that life isn’t a race and that not everyone wants to be on or is on the same “path.” In fact, we are all carving our own path because we all have our own vision or definition of how our life should be.
I know this may sound a bit strange from someone who was part of an “Under 30” list but what I always share to students when I get invited to give talks [is that] a career path is never linear. In fact, I started in education—very different from pet care. And, during the Forbes Under 30 Summit that I attended, the one thing that was common among all of us awardees is that we are all just trying to figure things out. Being on the list is a nice surprise but it was never the goal on why we started our projects that got us on the list in the first place.
W: What would you tell other 20-somethings who want to start their own businesses but feel like they don't have enough resources or skills to push through with it?
G: To those who feel that they don’t have the skill: grit > skill. I am a Psychology graduate with no business experience. I used to work in a school in fact! What mattered however is the grit. I think that’s what entrepreneurs have that make them stand out: we don’t have the skill but we are willing to learn anyway and figure things out. This is what I also noticed from other fellow entrepreneurs—they are willing to read books, ask successful business owners in their respective fields, etc., in order to be able to start the company and make it grow.
To those who feel they don’t have resources to start a business, my advice is first make sure you never sacrifice on the essentials. Once you have that set, just start the company—you’d be surprised on how you can find the resources. One of my favorite examples is Airbnb. In the beginning, they didn’t have resources at all so they actually sold cereal boxes in order to fund the creation of the company without sacrificing the essentials. There are also investors who are looking for companies to help scale and there are a lot of tools these days that can help cut costs (example: no need to hire a graphic artist right away since Canva is free).
Finally, whether you have the resources or not, I highly encourage working for another company first. Can be a big company or a small company. Why? Because you’ll be able to develop a lot of skills that you’ll realize later on is integral when it comes to creating, operating and scaling a company.
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