You Won’t Believe How these Batangueños Started their Successful Toy Business

On July 2009, Karl Aguila was working as call center agent in Lipa City when his older sister in Taguig informed him that her husband lost his job as result of company downsizing. Tony, his brother-in-law was a fabricator in a small steel fabrication facility in Lower Bicutan. His sister asked him if the family with two young daughters (aged 3 and 2) could stay with him at his house in Lipa City.

Tony received P42,000 as severance pay. The family relocated to Karl’s and they lived together in the latter’s house which was acquired through Pag-ibig housing loan.

Karl is single but he still supports his family in Mindoro Oriental. He has been working in Batangas since 1999.

Tony couldn’t find a job. After few months, the P40K was compensated on daily needs. Karl’s salary was just enough for the whole family. The three talked almost every night on what to do in order to survive. After few more months, Tony and his wife was penniless and relied only to Karl’s salary. Tony was desperate to find a job, but luck was really evasive.

It was February 15, 2010 when Karl asked his sister to buy some vegetables at Lipa City Public Market. Gina, Karl’s sister brought his 4-year old daughter to the market. When Gina returned home, Karl noticed the child’s toy which was bought by his mother. The toy was called “clapper”. A synthetic-like balloon in different anime characters. Gina bought the “Dora” character.

Gina told Karl that the toys being sold by the guy in public market was selling like a hot cake. She bought the toy for P15. Karl got interested with the toy and he immediately went to the market to see the guy who was selling it, but the latter already left.

With only P1,200 left on his salary that day, Karl asked Tony if the latter is willing to sell the same toys in different spots in Lipa City. Since there was no other choice, Tony agreed with Karl’s plan, the two went to Baclaran the following morning. They met a boy selling the same toys and asked him the source, but the boy refused to give information. They approached another girl selling the same, and she told them that the toys are from Divisoria Mall.


The same Dora clapper balloon bought by my sister for his daughter.

The two wasted no time and took LRT to Divisoria. There, they found the source of the said products. At minimum wholesale price of 1 box (25 pieces), the price was P7 each or P175/box. They bought 4 boxes (100 pieces) for P700.

While taking their lunch inside a fast-food, Karl counted his money. He still had an extra P200 which was good for one more box. The two guys bought another box and went home.

The next Saturday, Tony decided to start selling the toys. He prepared the toys and went on to start selling at around 9:00 when people started getting out from the church. He sold the toys for P15 each, making P8 profit for each toy.

Three hours later, all 25 pieces were sold out, and Tony needed to go home to get another box. In just one day until 4PM, Tony sold 86 pieces of clapper toys. He made P688 net profit. The three were so happy when Karl arrived from work. For the first time since Tony’s family relocated to Karl’s house, the family became hopeful.

The following day (Sunday), the remaining clappers were sold out for P20. Again, it was selling like hotcake. Tony made a total P1,280 net profit. He immediately returned to Divisoria later that day and spent all his money on toys.

For several months, Tony was selling toys on the streets like this in photo. Photo credit

In the next three months, Tony sells different kinds of toys in different areas of Lipa City, while Karl resigned from his job as call center agent, and was accepted to a newly-built manufacturing firm in Santo Tomas, as manufacturing supervisor.

As one of the pioneer employees, Karl was included in the core group to be sent to Germany for technical training prior to opening of the factory the following year.

On August 2010, four months after Karl was hired, the company announced its closure due to some major problems. Karl and his fellow employees were immediately paid P100,000 each as severance pay, including advance salary for three months while they were looking for another job.

Saddened by the unexpected turn of events, Karl decided to use the money to buy a stall in Lipa City public market to sell toys. The stall were managed by his sister and his brother-in-law.

The stall was perfect for toy products and the business became profitable.

Karl concentrated on his online ventures, while Tony was able to develop the toy store into a wholesale store.

Six months later, Tony started to offer wholesale products. He get his supplies from Chinese traders in Binondo.

On 2014, the small toy business became a storage of products. Tony built a warehouse in a rented land and started supplying toys around Batangas. He needed to hire six people to assist him on his daily deliveries and inventory.

Both Tony and Karl were not business minded, but due to necessity, the family were able to think outside the box. Although they only copied the idea from the guy who first sold the toys, their perseverance, dedication, and correct planning, made their small business became successful and profitable.

Although Karl got married last 2013, they are all still living under the same roof, and have no plan to separate yet.

“There comes a time that you feel hopeless and helpless, but if you just think positively, some luck could struck you”, Tony said.

“Yong ginawa namin nong una sugal talaga e. Yong original P1,200 na ginamit ko, pang konsumo namig yon for the next whole week. Di ko na inisip, basta kailangan lang talaga kumita”, Karl recalled. /Santi Valle/

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