La Mascherina by Dr Rommel

July 10 2020

Raine Aguilar

“The pandemic hit us big time.”

 

Rommel Bautista, ophthalmologist and owner of FINO Leatherware, describes himself as a man who has “[his] fingers dipped into too many cookie jars.” He describes his usual day, pre-COVID-19, as spending half of the time, practicing medicine and the other half as the owner of FINO and as part of its product development team. Although he is involved in two different fields, Dr Bautista is able to give equal attention to both as they complement each other. This became even more evident during the pandemic. 
 

Without any warning, COVID-19 hit the Philippines, throwing everyone into turmoil. For Dr Bautista, both his medical practice and FINO were adversely affected. He narrates how “patient census dropped 80 or 90 percent” and FINO was “not e-commerce prepped.. . . “ so in effect, he states “there was no revenue coming in.” It seemed as though all of the fields he had chosen to take part in were suffering. However, even with near zero revenue, record-low profit was not what he deemed his adversity was. “What stresses me out the most,” he began, “really is the fact that we have so many employees, all of which are highly skilled people.” Above his concerns about keeping his business and clinic alive, above even his own income, Dr Bautista was concerned about the welfare of his employees and his responsibility as their employer.  

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He understood that he was not only providing for himself and his own wife and kids, but his employees and their wives and kids as well. “I have people who have been with me for the last 25 years,” he remarked, “so they're not merely employees, they’re like family.” He has seen his employees go through life’s different seasons, as he is truly family to them and they are family to him. “Sometimes I lie in bed at night and each and every one of their faces go through my mind,” he muses. As a businessman who treats his employees as part of his own family, he developed a loyalty to them as they have to him. This was clear to the Adversity Archive when he said that he and his wife made a silent promise to support their employees for at least three months, no matter how difficult it would be. With company revenue down to almost nothing, whatever revenue they managed to acquire was spread out thinly, and Dr Bautista acknowledged his limits, telling The Adversity Archive, “I think everybody needs to learn to live simpler and be more frugal.”

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In the midst of great financial stress, Dr Bautista rose to the occasion. The burden of having to provide for his family and the families of his many employees, drove him to find a solution. “Stuff we typically sell in the store are non-essential, so let’s create something essential,” he thought, as he revealed his eagerness to prove that a leather goods company can be relevant even in these difficult times. He describes his newly created line of leather face masks, La Mascherina, as “the marriage of the two'' different fields he was involved in.“I wear the mask all the time whenever I operate,” he says, recounting his familiarity with the need for face masks when being around health risks. Dr. Bautista is also aware of the environmental risks of using surgical masks, which are only meant to be used once. “Not to mention let’s leave the N-95. . . let’s leave them to the frontliners,” he states, clarifying that the frontliners need the disposable, heavy-duty masks the most.

Additionally, Dr. Bautista revealed his love for riding motorcycles, which sometimes requires the use of face masks. “I thought maybe it would be cool,” he said, explaining his new business idea from a creative’s perspective. In the end, he stated, “I just wanted something that’s not going to harm the environment, something you can wash, [and] of course, you need to look cool in.”

The Adversity Archive recognizes the difficulty that Dr Bautista and his family have experienced during this time, but his willingness and determination to support his employees despite their financial struggle is truly a remarkable story of how, as he said, “even if you think you’re at the end of the rope, when push comes to shove, there’s still something in you to give.”

However the process did not end there. Simply creating and developing the product was merely half the battle, adapting and switching to e commerce was the other half. FINO is a fairly old company. Thus, they have relied solely on their brick-and-mortar stores. However the pandemic forced them to be acquainted with social media.  “I’m a traditionalist, matanda na [ako]” (I’m getting old), he jokes as he recounts how he marveled at his newfound knowledge on the power of social media and how, through that, Fino was able to reach more people. “To be honest, it’s quite refreshing,” he states, “to have all of a sudden a resurgence of awareness of this brand that’s still alive and kicking although fighting."

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To get your very own La Mascherina visithttps://finomascherina.com/

 

La Mascherina ni Dr Rommel

ika-10 ng Hulio 2020

By Raine Aguilar

“Matindi ang naging tama ng pandemya sa amin. (The pandemic hit us big time.)”

 

Si Dr. Rommel Bautista, ay isang ophthalmologist at siya rin ang  may-ari ng FINO Leatherware. Ayon kay Dr. Bautista, siya ang halimbawa ng isang tao na nakasawsaw ang mga daliri sa napakaraming bagay.  Inilarawan niya ang kanyang pankaraniwang araw bago dumating  ang COVID-19, pinaliwanag niya kung paano niya hinati  ang kanyang oras sa pagitan ng pagiging isang doktor at isang negosyante. Kahit na dalawa ang larangan ng kanyang kabuhayan, pareho naman niyang natugunan ang mga ito.

Nang biglang kumalat ang Covid 19 sa Pilipinas, ng wala man lang anumang babala, marami ang nabahala.  Lahat naapektuhan, kasama na dito si Dr. Bautista.  Bumaba ng higit sa 80% ang bilang ng mga pasyente na nagpatingin at nagkonsulta sa kanya. Ang FINO naman ay hindi nakahanda para sa “e-commerce.”  Sa madaling salita, walang kita na pumapasok. Parang lahat ng pinag-uukulan niya ng pansin, ang mga pinagmumulan ng kita, lahat ay na-apektuhan. Sa kabila ng ito, ang kawalan ng kita bilang doktor at negosyante, hindi ito ang naging pangunahing pagsubok para kay Dr. Bautista. "Ang pinaka nakaka-stress sa akin ay ang katotohanan na marami kaming empleyado, na karamihan ay “highly skilled  workers.”

Higit sa kanyang pagkabahala kung paano mapapanatiling buhay ang kanyang clinic at ng kanyang negosyo, nag-alala siya sa magiging kinabukasan ng kanyang mga empleyado.  Mabigat ang kanyang responsibilidad bilang employer nila.

 

 

Malinaw sa kanya na hindi lamang ang sarili niyang pamilya ang kailangan niyang tugunan ang mga pangangailangan, pero kasama sa kanyang aalagaan at susuportahan ay ang kanyang mga empleyado, mga manggagawa at ang mga pamilya nila.  Ang ilan sa kanila ay nakasama niya sa loob ng dalwampu’t-limang (25) taon. Marami silang pinagsamahan, maraming pagsubok na nadaanan.  Sa loob ng mahabang pagsasama, nakilala na niya ang asawa ng iba sa kanila, ang mga anak nila. Hindi lamang sila empleyado para sa kanya, pamilya na ang turing niya sa kanila at siya rin naman ay pamilya rin para sa kanila. 

Minsan, bago matulog sa gabi, nakikita niya sa kanyang isipan ang mukha ng bawat isa sa mga manggagawa niya. Bilang isang negosyante na tinuturing na bahagi ng pamilya niya ang kanyang mga empleyado, nabuo niya ang isang katapatan sa kanila at sila sa kanya.  

Napatunayan  ito ng The Adversity Archive nang mabanggit ni Dr. Bautista na tahimik silang mag-asawa na nangako na susuportahan nila ang kanilang mga tauhan sa loob ng tatlong buwan, kahit na gaano pa kahirap ang desisyon na ito. Habang nakita namin na halos walang pumapasok na kita sa kumpanya, kahit anong benta at kita ang makuha namin sa pang araw-araw ay ginamit namin para sa lahat.  May hantungan din ang lahat, kaya ani ni Dr. Bautista, "ang bawat isa ay dapat matutong mamuhay ng simple at magtipid."

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Para kay Dr Bautista, ang bagong linya ng “face masks” na tinawag nilang La Mascherina ay naging isang pagkakataon na pagsamahin ang dalawang larangan kung saan siya ay dalubhasa. Parati akong nakasuot ng surgical mask kapag ako ay nag-oopera, kaya alam na alam ko ang kahalagahan ng pagsusuot ng face masks kapag may banta sa kalusugan. Alam ko rin na malaki ang panganib na dinadala ng mga surgical masks sa ating kapaligiran, dahil ito ay dapat minsan lang ginagamit at kaagad na tinatapon na. "Wag na natin pag-usapan ang N95 masks, na dapat ay nakalaan para sa mga frontliners lamang," na siyang nangangailangan ng “heavy-duty protection.” Sa dami ng gumagamit ng mga “disposable masks” na tinatapon matapos ang isang gamitan, nilalagay natin ang ating kapaligiran sa napakalaking panganib. Nabanggit rin ni Dr. Bautista na mahilig rin siyang mag motor (rides motorcycles) at may mga pagkakataon, na nagsusuot rin siya ng face mask kontra sa polusyon. "Naisip ko na 'it would be cool,' paliwanag niya tungkol sa bagong produkto nila, mula sa pananaw ng syang lumikha ng design ng La Mascherina.  Gusto ko lang lumikha ng face mask na hindi makakapinsala sa kapaligiran, yung puede mong labhan, at siempre yung cool ang itsura mo pagsuot mo ito. 

Hindi doon nagtapos ang proseso. Ang paglikha ng La Mascherina ay kalahati lamang ng proseso.  Kinailangan pa naming unawain, umangkop at lumipat sa e-commerce. Medyo matagal na rin ang FINO sa merkado.  Lahat ng benta namin ay nanggagaling sa aming mga tindahan na karamihan ay nasa mga malls na nanatiling nakasara sa panahon ng quarantine.  Masasabi ko na sa pagdating ng pandemya na ito, napilitan akong aralin at intindihin ang social media.  “Ako ay isang tradisyonalista,  matanda na ako,” biro niya, habang ikinikuwento ang kanyang pagkamangha sa kanyang bagong kaalaman tungkol sa kapangyarihan ng social media at kung paano dumami ang mga taong naabot ng FINO. "Sa totoo lang, napaka refreshing ng biglang pagkabuhay ng interes at kaalaman tungkol sa brand namin, na buhay pa at lumalaban, sa harap ng kahirapan na dinadaanan nito."  

Kinikilala ng The Adversity Archive ang paghihirap na naranasan ni Dr. Bautista at ng kanyang pamilya sa panahong ito, ngunit ang kanyang pagpayag at pagpapasiya na suportahan ang kanyang mga empleyado sa kabila ng kanilang pakikibaka sa hirap at pagsubok na hinaharap nila ay talagang isang kamangha-manghang kwento kung paano, tulad ng sinabi niya, "kahit na sa palagay mo ay ikaw ay nasa dulo na ng iyong lubid, at wala na talaga, mayroon ka pa ring maibibigay.”

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kung gusto niyo ng sariling La Mascherina

bisitahin ang, https://finomascherina.com/