Her love for bag making out of pandan inspired her to start her own business. From the island of Visayas, Ester Lumbo started A&E Native Bags at Negros Occidental. Ester used to be a worker for a bag manufacturer which used pandan as material. When she realized that sales out of this business is promising, she thought of having her own shop as a good source of income. Hand-in-hand with her husband, Bartolome Lumbo, the couple started their humble business in 1996. Bartolome was the designer while Ester was the bag maker. They started by selling their bags and banig or mats on the streets. Eventually, they found a place in the dry market. They also began accepting pre-orders. The Lumbo family raised their family business as a team. Their collective effort, according to Ester, was one of the reasons why their business grew.
Like any other business, A&E Native Bags strove to be known in the industry. It wasn’t easy especially in getting customers. However, soon, her efforts paid off as she was awarded as the National Winner in the Masikap Category of the Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year Awards implemented by the Microfinance Council of the Philippines. As the winner, she had the privilege to undergo the CMDC training program of Bayan Academy. Since she was not able to finish her education, Ester felt nervous and intimidated with her co-trainees and facilitators. After overcoming her shyness, she admitted that the training program really helped her gain confidence and more knowledge in business management. The two major learnings she had from the training were on entrepreneurship and human resource management. She emphasized that she realized how important pakikisama is when it comes to her employees. “This could make or break any business,” she said. Ester also shared that she considers proper capital management as very important to a business to succeed. She emphasized that when capital is misused, the business would start to fail. Entrepreneurs should be wise in deciding where to spend their money for.
Ester had unforgettable memories back in the training days. One unexpected experience was when her cell phone rang for several times while in class. She was then in the middle of transacting with a client for her business. Her facilitator told her to stay focused on the seminar. Ester realized that focus is a very important thing not only in trainings or seminars but as well as in business. Ester gained new friends and connections during the program which she cherishes up to this moment.
Moreover, through the CMDC program, she had the courage to embark on a new business: bakery. Now, the Lumbo family is managing two businesses. Right now, Ester is still striving hard to reach for her dreams for her businesses especially for the benefit of her children. A&E Native Bags is already stable. Its primary market is at Cebu and Hawaii and she hopes that her local market and exports will increase as the years goes by. As for her bakery, she hopes for expansion and branching out the following year.
|MFI||Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation|
|Educational Attainment||Elementary Graduate|
|Enterprise Name||A and E Nature Product|
|No. of Years in the Business||7|
|Products and Services||Nature Bags made of pandan|
|Monthly Gross Revenue||–|
|No. of employees||10|