MANGO MANIA

Written by root. Posted in IN PERSON

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Published on May 08, 2018 with No Comments

Cebu mangoes get funky and flavourful as Audrey Saroopdas dresses them up the way she likes it at Mango Caramel.

 

What made you to quit banking and bake fulltime?
I gave birth at 40 years old to my first son in 2011. This changed my outlook in life. I wanted to be able to give more time and afford a better life for my son. So I took a chance on a product I knew Cebu was well known for and added a twist to it. I did not resign immediately. I knew a friend who had a store in the airport and that was where I started to sell my products. Two weeks after I sold my first few boxes, I got calls from (luxury retail store) Rustans, Manila Airport stores and eventually the giant retail company, SM. The response was overwhelming that I had to resign from my bank job. And that was just three months after the launch of Mango Caramel. I was euphoric. My project was a hit!

Did the 22 years in banking help you prepare for life as an entrepreneur?
Well, it taught me perseverance and hard work! Being an employee and an entrepreneur is the same in many aspects of life. You have to work hard in order to succeed. As an employee, you need to please your boss. As an entrepreneur, I need to please my customers!

What were your early challenges running the bakeshop?
I’d have to say staffing and training. It’s so hard to get the right dedicated personnel and then train them only to find out later they leave you for a bigger company or opportunities abroad. I’m still a small company and bakers would rather be with the big wigs.

And how does it feel going up against the big wigs?
I’m such a small company compared to the giants. I just feel honoured to be able to be on the same playing field.

Let’s talk about your Mango Caramel. What inspired you to come up with the different flavours apart from the usual chocolate?
I love caramel!!! And anything with caramel in it. I wanted to share my love with everyone! I love pistachios because it’s so healthy. I love cashews and the Philippines has an abundant supply of this just like mangoes. This was one of the deciding factors – that the supply of ingredients must be available locally in Cebu.

Mango Caramel now sports a different packaging than when it first started. What was the inspiration behind this new artwork and colours?
The design concept was decided by myself together with my niece who is very talented. We both wanted the Maya bird and the mango tree to be part of the background. The Maya bird was the national bird of the Philippines until it was changed in 1995 by President Fidel Ramos to the Philippine eagle. The colours represent the four seasons of our global weather. I wanted to represent the Philippines and send a message that my products are the best gifts for all seasons around the world. Now, that was the inspiration.

Tell us a little bit about your bakery before. What were you selling?
All types of bread. When I started the bakery, we were on an order basis. I had a small sign in front of my house. It was a home based business. The bakeshop was operating from the kitchen of my house. When the orders for Mango Caramel started coming in, I eventually built a two-storey annexe to house Mango Caramel’s operations.

I still operate small. I had so many enquiries already for export and distribution abroad. I am currently searching for a bigger property to house the expansion of Mango Caramel’s production and banana chips, our newest product just launched this year.

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