Recipe for success: Siomai the money!

AS MOMS, one of the things we have to worry about is managing the family budget. The more kids we have, the bigger we have to stretch our paycheck. We don’t just worry about the current needs, but we factor in the future ones as well, such as: emergencies, tuition fees, extra-class enrichment activities, travel fund, and the like. Unfortunately, even if we all scream that ever famous line “show me the money”; money still won’t ever grow on trees. We have to work for it…really hard!

Some moms who don’t want to be tied to full-time work have opted to become mompreneurs, so they still get to be with their children. One such example is Aileen Lee Eleazar, who has 4 kids ranging from 1 year old to 7 years old. She recently opened “Happy Siomai and then some,” a small restaurant along Tomas Saco-16th St., Nazareth, CDO last April 1. The opening of the small store is the culmination of all her hard work from selling her own siomai and baked goodies from her home kitchen.

She narrated: “When I became a mother, I devoted all my time and energy to my family. I became a full-time mother, driver, maid in the house, chef in the kitchen, etc. My husband Karl and I love to eat. Since I was a stay-at-home mom, I had a lot of time to try new recipes. I first fell in love with baking. It became my therapy. My escape. My own world.”

She explained that she started feeding her family and friends. They became her critics whenever she churned out something from her kitchen. She was candid enough to admit that some were fails, but most recipes got requested to be made again. She said, “Requests became a lot and really frequent so I started charging na. After all, ingredients are expensive. That was the birth of my bakehouse—Heavenly Indulgence. When my first few clients paid, I couldn’t help but think this is amazing. Why not earn from my hobby?”

This young mom said that the best part about a small business is that she gets to do something she loves, and at the same time, she gets to be with her 4 baby-loves because she can work from home. She stated— “Imagine, my family really grew big. I had 4 kids in 8 years. And I really make sure that I am there for my children because they only get one childhood. Clingy na nga minsan so it’s not easy. It’s exhausting and I feel tired most of the time. I always wish I have 30hours in a day. But you know what, when they’re all sleeping with me at the end of the day and I see their calm sleeping faces, it is heaven!”

Aileen shared that turning point came for her when she opened her Green Canteen in OCGS (Oro Christian Grace School) at the start of school year 2017-18. She expounded: “They had a new canteen building and there was a one-stall occupancy. I thought it would be a perfect business for me because I get to be close to my kids even when they are in school. It’s hitting 2 birds with 1 stone! I was able to display Heavenly Indulgence items and serve healthy food for students and my own kids.”

This devoted mompreneur explained that the school had a lot of food restrictions—no processed food, high sodium, and high msg content. She recounted: “We had to make our own siomai to sell in the canteen-no extenders, no fillers, no artificial preservatives. My ama (lola in Chinese)-one of the greatest cook I know-used to cook siomai when I was little. I modified her recipe to suit a selling price. We also made our own chili sauce using the freshest ingredients and followed the canteen's restrictions. To our surprise, we could sell up to 250pcs siomai a day in the canteen alone.”

She was surprised by the warm reception to her siomai and this motivated her to increase production. She explained: “We had take outs and orders from parents in the school. We also decided to sell outside the canteen and gained a lot of good feedback. Because of this, the birth of ‘Happy Siomai and then some’ came about. We’ll be serving rice toppings like humba rice, sisig rice, and beefsteak rice soon.”

Aileen said that at first, she really had hesitations opening the restaurant—“How do I juggle 4 children and another larger scale business? With a lot of prayers and guidance from the Almighty, patience, and a load of support from my family (specially my mom who always volunteers to watch over my kids whenever I'm busy), Karl and I just went for it! The timing is perfect because the canteen is close for summer.”

She shared that she and Karl have worked on a system in running their businesses. It’s not an absolute foolproof plan, but it does not absorb all their time. For the two of them, family always comes first. “We really try to manage our time for our kids and give them the attention that they need. Kahit wala nang maiwan sa akin. For me, 15mins bath time is already very luxurious,” she concluded with a laugh.

For interested clients, her siomai is a set of 3 special at 35 pesos. Frozen siomai is 100php for 10pcs and 150php for 15pcs. Their contact number is 0999-990-6480 and they accept advance orders for pick-up/drive thru, food cart for parties, and wholesale orders. She also accepts orders for Heavenly Indulgence, with the best sellers being red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, banana chocolate chip muffins, and banoffee pie. Please check her FB pages: “Heavenly Indulgence by Ditch” and “Happy Siomai and then some” for more information and pictures of the actual products.

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