With summer in the Philippines being as hot as it is, in time, we all become ice cream enthusiasts. And as ice cream enthusiasts know, very few brands compare to Carmen’s Best Ice Cream.
If you’ve gone to any of the common supermarkets in the Philippines, you’ve probably seen these simple yet deluxe-looking packaged tubs of creamy, high-grade ice cream. Their price range sets them above the sugary ice creams you see on TV and alongside more exclusive brands, but Carmen’s Best brings something unique to the table by being one of the first to offer ice cream made from only the finest and choicest ingredients.
They also have a story that SMEs all over the Philippines can be inspired by and learn from. We spoke to Paco Magsaysay, owner and founder of Carmen’s Best, to learn more about this story, and how passion for the work they do has driven them to greater heights:
“Carmen’s Best is unique in the sense that we started with a dairy farm first. That was the reason why we got into ice cream—because we had access to milk. So having that access, it was just a matter of choosing the best ingredients we could find to give and to make the best ice cream possible—taking no shortcuts, doing everything the best way we could make it.”
“It’s the milk. It’s the fact that our overrun—overrun is the air—is very low. And we use real dairy cream, while many of the mass-produced ice creams in the country use vegetable fat […] and we choose our ingredients based on taste. We really try to make it the best way we can make it.”
“A lot of the experiences in the [previous] work that you’ve done will always help out in starting your business, and […] I think it’s always important to talk to people that are in the same industry, or even people you look up to who aren’t in the same industry. But at the end of the day, it’s really dealing with people, whether they’re employees, suppliers or customers, with a lot of trust and transparency. If you’re not trusted by them, it’s going to be hard to do business.”
“I think starting a business from scratch is one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life. […] We started from zero. So to build a brand from scratch—and I didn’t have a lot of money to help build a name—we did it one account at a time. We were very fortunate that when we started in 2011, social media was very prominent, and we used social media a lot to help us out.”
“What defines me, or what I’m looking for from Carmen’s Best, is for us to be an example for other SMEs. Part of our proceeds are donated to PGH, and we also help The Good Shepherd in Baguio. So it’s not all about trying to make as much money as we can; [we understand that we] have an obligation to help others, even in a small way.”
“Well, we thought we were just going to sell in the village, in Ayala Alabang, and now we’re selling all over the Philippines, and we recently got a permit to export to Singapore. So it’s hard to think of what we’re going to be doing 3 or 5 years from now, because I think we’re the first company to [have] a premium ice cream in the Philippines and start bringing it out. So we don’t have a company we can follow in terms of what to do, and we’re just sort of going where the water takes us and doing the best we can in growing our business.”
“I think it’s important that you get into a business that you enjoy doing, because you’ll spend an incredibly large amount of your time working in your business. So if you enjoy doing it, then working it 6 or 7 days a week is not going to be a problem for you.”
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