Brave are those who recognize and pursue an opportunity during a crisis. For TV personality Roxanne Montealegre, passion, determination, and vision with a pinch of bravery helped her in making her business A-List Custom Clothing become an instrument to reach out to those who needed help the most during the pandemic: the health workers.
From a garments business to a social enterprise
The pandemic hit hard for many businesses, including A-List Custom Clothing with schools and offices as clients. What used to be a source of stable income for their tailors turned into nothing, due to the pandemic and the shift to online classes.
As an entrepreneur, Roxanne had to be creative and strong-willed to be able to adapt to the new normal. Recognizing the need for personal protective equipment (PPEs) and to provide income for displaced tailors, Project Frontline PH came to life, from producing garments to medical consumables, such as PPEs, isolation gowns, scrubs, etc.
“We wanted the people taking care of us to also be safe. And knowing that at this time, people would most likely prioritize purchasing the essentials, we turned the workstations into PPE-producing ones to keep the business afloat,” she said.
Navigating the new industry with the right connections
The “Umagang Kay Ganda” host and Sports + Action reporter admitted that shifting to the production of PPEs was a tedious process. Thanks to PLDT Home Biz, she had a strong and reliable Internet connection to connect with the right people and access the essential resources.
Research was crucial, so she turned to the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Health to check how they made the PPEs. Roxanne studied the patterns via virtual means so she can train the tailors in making patterns, which is very meticulous since all possible entry points had to be covered, including the zippers, to the safety of the frontliners.
From the comfort of her home, she worked with various organizations to make the PPEs free for the healthcare workers. Her husband Mark Luz, who runs the pharmaceutical company AltheaMed Pharmaceuticals, helped in ensuring the production of medical-grade PPEs and easing her way into the medical community.
Finding the drive to thrive amid the pandemic
Roxanne had three reliable people assisting her: Joanne Luste and Cristina Oliva who helped with bulk orders, and Rose Perez who led the custom-made orders. Communication being the crucial factor for them to keep the processes going, was a breeze, since she provided PLDT Home Prepaid Wifi units as backup for the Internet connection needs of her seamstresses.
“I’ve always been a subscriber of PLDT Home, since 1999. It’s the only Internet Service Provider I trust. In this day and age, distance doesn’t matter anymore. Connection, however, is crucial, especially for something as particular as clothing, and making PPEs is no exception,” Roxanne explained.
Despite the distance and doing everything virtually, Project Frontline PH kept the operations going seamlessly, leading to the production of around 5,000 PPEs, servicing nearly 100 hospitals during the first three months of the quarantine.
Finding success in a virtual world—for now
Roxanne realized that the year 2020 was all about surviving and thriving together, even from afar. Working together by staying connected online made it possible for her business to finish the year strong amid the pandemic.
Apart from Project Frontline PH, she has partnered with entrepreneur Brian Poe Llamanzares in bringing life to “Someday, Maybe”, a social enterprise that offers versatile, anti-bacterial wear, PPEs, and lounge wear for every Filipino who wants to be fashionable and safe.
The situation may seem frustrating, but Roxanne points out that it is better to enjoy the opportunities offered in the virtual world for now where almost everything is possible.
This 2021, she continues to look forward with hope and a vision. “With the right mindset and connection, plenty of possibilities await. Never be afraid to think big with the help of PLDT Home Biz,” Roxanne remarked.
Learn more about PLDT Home Biz. Visit www.pldthome.com/biz.