Perk Up Coffee & Tea: A success story amid a pandemic
Running a business in the middle of a pandemic is not for the faint-hearted. With the community quarantine restrictions, reduced foot traffic, and restless consumer base, entrepreneurs have to be quick on their feet to survive, much less make a profit.
This unpredictable scenario didn’t stop 24-year-old Pam Jacobe from establishing her ready-to-drink beverage brand Perk Up Coffee & Tea.
A business administration graduate of Mapúa University, Jacobe always dreamed of having her own coffee farm and shop. Her fascination for the brew motivated her to study it in-depth, and eventually sell coffee grounds and beans after leaving her corporate job in 2019.
A few months before the COVID-19 pandemic, she rebranded and changed her product offerings to ready-to-drink bottled coffee and tea lattes after noticing a gap in the market.
“I saw an opportunity and joined the #CafeAtHome movement, which encourages people to bring the cafe experience right in the comfort of their homes. Surprisingly, a lot of my friends and former colleagues supported my business venture, and it eventually started to gain traction,” Jacobe recalled.
To connect with more customers, she relied on social media advertising and word-of-mouth marketing.
“The pandemic made people more supportive of micro-, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), specifically small online businesses. Since most people spend their time browsing on social media, I grabbed that opportunity and dedicated a huge chunk of my time improving my digital marketing strategies,” the youthful entrepreneur explained.
But the real catalysts of Perk Up Coffee and Tea’s success were its compelling advocacies and quality products.
Aside from helping customers recreate a coffee shop experience at home, it also imparts a strong sense of community with the causes it advocates.
Jacobe explained that Perk Up’s main advocacy is to spread eco-consciousness. Hence, all drinks are served in reusable glass bottles and eco-bags.
“With the abundance of online businesses lately, I want to make sure that my brand is doing its part to lessen plastic wastes. Imagine the hundreds of drinks that I sell in one month. If I use plastic bottles, that’s already 100 plastic bottles gone to waste. As a business owner, I want to make sure I do my part, even in the smallest way possible.”
She also makes it a point to highlight the exquisite taste and extensive selection of Philippine coffee. One of which is the Kalinga Robusta dark roast beans, which she uses in her beverages. She also uses locally sourced Philippine teas.
“Out of all of the coffee varieties I tried, Kalinga Robusta stood out. Robusta has the least acidity, and in terms of flavor, it has nutty and earthy notes, which complement the flavors that I use,” said Jacobe.
To make her business inclusive, Jacobe also introduced both caffeinated and non-caffeinated options. Her caffeinated best sellers are Cold Brew Concentrate and French Vanilla Latte, while Strawberries & Cream and Hazelnut Chocolate are popular among non-coffee drinkers.
While her online business has been brisk, there have been times when she was met with people’s doubts because of her youth and other stereotypes. Instead of being discouraged, Pam used these obstacles to refocus on her purpose and goal.
“I have long dreamed of becoming a successful businesswoman. The process from conceptualization to execution gives me a sense of fulfillment. Being an entrepreneur also empowers me to work in a role and in an industry that match my beliefs in a gratifying way.”
She gives credit to her college education for preparing her for the road ahead.
“I will always be grateful for the holistic education that I received from Mapúa. They trained us not just to be employees, but to be leaders and trailblazers in whatever industry that we chose. Mapúa taught me to be diligent, to strive for excellence, and to never settle for mediocrity or ‘half-baked’ results,” she explained.
Her Mapúan education also trained her to pursue continuous learning, discovery, and improvement. It’s no wonder that she’s currently doing research and development on non-dairy options and new flavors for the upcoming Perk Up Holiday Latte Series to expand her product line.
Jacobe also encourages other aspiring entrepreneurs to take the big leap.
“Don’t be afraid to start from nothing. Some people may have a head start because of their connections, money, or power. Do not be envious of them. Instead, enjoy the fact that you are literally starting from the bottom and have nothing to lose if you try. Your dreams are planted in your heart for a reason. You owe it to yourself to give it a try.”
Ms. Pamela Jacobe is an ETYSBM alumnus who took up BS Business Administration under Batch 2014.