Vivienne Nicdao, a house wife, started a milk tea kiosk at the school attended by her children in 2017.
The business clicked and was branded Urbanitea. With the help of her husband Jeffrey who is a salesman, she developed the franchise and offered it to other mothers and entrepreneurs at the height of the ‘milk tea’ craze. At one time, they had as many as 250 stores under the Urbanitea franchise until the pandemic disrupted everything.
Not to be disheartened, she developed more food concepts and introduced Samgyup On the Go, Yummie Pizza, Macho Litson Manok, Kuya Bao, Herbee’s Chicken Wings and Meat Corner Meatshop amid the pandemic.
She also established Yenmarc Food Cart Inc., named after the couple’s children Yen-yen and Marc, as their franchising business based on Scout Albano, South Triangle, Quezon City. Vivienne, 43, is hopeful that with the reopening of the economy this year, the business would return to growth path.
“I started our first store in the school of my children who are now 19 and 21. When we opened it for franchising, we initially had eight franchisees, but it continued to grow until we had 250 stores nationwide,” she says.
“When the pandemic hit, we introduced Samgyup On The Go in July 2021. It is something unique because instead of offering unlimited Korean food, we made it a la carte,” says Vivienne.
Samgyup On The Go now has more than 100 franchised stores nationwide.
“Cooking is my passion. I also thought about more food concepts based on what we saw abroad,” says Vivienne, who visited Taiwan and Korea to look for partners and suppliers.
Vivienne is in charge of the operations of Yenmarc, while Jeffrey focuses on sales and marketing.
Jeffrey, 42, says interested franchisees can put up a cart-based store for as low as P68,000, with Yenmarc supplying all the materials and providing brand and marketing support. “We have a commissary in New Manila, and we have logistic partners that can ship the products nationwide,” he says.
Having gained the experience in developing a brand, the couple now also tests the waters for the food supplement business. With the help of a Singaporean supplier, they developed stem cell therapy capsules under the brand V My Beauty.
It started with the couple’s quest for the treatment of Vivienne’s father who was suffering from prostate cancer. Unfortunately, her father died before their research was completed and the first capsule was developed.
V My Beauty Marketing Inc., which was established also in Quezon City in 2021, would formally launch the FDA-approved product in the country in the coming months as an answer to the needs of Filipinos looking for alternative medicine.
Jeffrey says the soft gels were made of deer placenta extract that can help repair or regenerate damaged cells in the body. “It is a food supplement that can help improve our health. Stem cell therapy has been practiced for many years and as early as the 18th Century,” he says.
He says V My Beauty is the first Filipino company to produce deer placenta extract in capsules out of a Singapore laboratory.
The couple expresses hope that the stem cell therapy soft gels will be the next big thing in the local market. “Our mission is to educate Filipinos on the importance of health and wellness while giving them profitable business opportunities,” the couple says.
Several health regulators, however, warn about the excessive medical benefits claimed by stem cell therapy, saying that such supplements should not interrupt proper medical treatment.
The couple hired a team of executives to manage V My Beauty. It is led by Anthony Aguilar as president, Allan Javier as vice president for network, Alexander Ilagan as vice president for marketing, Arjay Llamoso as vice president for training and Junard Murillo as assistant vice president for the network.