Stories, Taoke (Business)

Modern Tao Ke: How 3 Entrepreneurs Stayed Hopeful During the Pandemic

During the pandemic, a lot of entrepreneurs lost business prospects and profit, while some have even lost their businesses entirely. But these modern tao kes have kept their hopes up and sustained both their personal growth and their businesses during these trying times.

Here’s how they did it:

1. Naomi Ng of Luna & Omi

Naomi Ng brought to life Luna & Omi, which produces home essentials, loungewear and even pet bandanas. Her business, which started out as a project, aims to inspire young girls “to be the best version of themselves and radiate positivity into the universe.” 

“We hope we could help brighten up and motivate the buyer’s gloomy days during the pandemic because we believe that a healthy outside always starts from the inside,” Ng shared.

The business didn’t just contribute to her professional growth but to her personal growth as well. Ng sees her business as a “personal journey with her mental health” as its pieces are thoughtfully designed to radiate growth, comfort, positivity, and inspiration to its users.

During the pandemic, Ng also managed her brand alongside her newly found custom-made suit business, Naomi Ng Designs. She was able to successfully launch her ready-to-wear label last October and partner with PAWSsion Project, an animal shelter in Bulacan. 10% of the pet bandana proceeds will be donated to the foundation.

“Always be patient and don’t rush anything because the best is yet to come!” Ng advised. “The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Let your dreams be bigger than your fears, your actions louder than your words, and your faith stronger than your feelings.”

For more information, check out their website, Instagram, and Facebook.


2. Vincent Tan of Commuter Automotive

Commuter Automotive started in 1978 when Vincent Tan’s father and uncle decided to put up an automotive supply shop that distributes branded and replacement spare parts for any type of car. 

Going off the company slogan, “Where service and quality is our responsibility,” Tan has defied the traditional way of doing business in the company’s 42 years. 

“Most people from [my father’s] generation were skeptics of technology because they deemed them unnecessary and costly,” Tan shared. “But [since] my cousin and I were believers of progress, we found the traditional path very tedious and unproductive. Especially with this pandemic, the sales went down since everyone was afraid of outdoor exposure. Now that we have also ventured into online sales of automotive parts, business is again booming.”

Considering that customers would call and have the tendency to feel discouraged to purchase their products due to logistical concerns, Tan adapted to the “always changing world of the automotive industry.”

“Don’t be stuck with the same old ways or else you would be facing a lot of what if’s,” Tan said. “Take their opinions and guidance with a grain of salt. Take the good, throw away the bad. Failures should be life lessons and not a permanent state.”

Apart from its physical store, the automotive shop is currently selling its products nationwide through various online platforms. For more information, check out their Facebook and  online shop on Shopee.


3. Darwin Yap of The Food Warehouse

After Darwin Yap’s family business was forced to close due to the pandemic, he sought out another business opportunity. He and his wife saw the significant rise of online food deliveries since people were starting home-based businesses. But since disposable containers and packaging lead to more waste and landfills that harm the environment, Yap created a sustainable and eco-friendly packaging alternative.

Yap and his wife started their business, The Food Warehouse, which imports and offers eco-friendly food packaging products made from sugarcane bagasse and wheat fiber pulp

“We want to help promote sustainable and eco-friendly products,” Yap explained. “[We want to] educate people about the importance of using sustainable items, especially now [that] there’s global warming and severe flooding.”

Through their business, they also helped sustain their clients’ home-based businesses during the lockdown.

“We make an impact when we support each other’s businesses,” Yap said. “When we support small businesses, we don’t aim to put these people on the Forbes list or give Jeff Bezos competition. We are giving a sense of hope, a sense of purpose, and in the end, that’s what matters most.”

For more information, check out their Facebook and Instagram.


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