MANILA, Philippines – Life's hardships pushed a Filipina entrepreneur beyond her limits, and challenged her to pursue the dreams she had as a child.
Growing up in the shadows of her five siblings, Sally Perez once dreamt of having her own house and lot, a car, and a happy family.
But at a young age, she realized that her dreams may be out of reach if she didn’t work for it. Among her siblings, Perez was the only one who didn't go school.
“Sa aming magkakapatid, ako lang ang hindi nag-aral dahil mahina daw ang ulo ko… Minsan naiiyak ako, sinasabi ko, ‘Hindi ako mahal ng tatay ko, sila lang ang mahal dahil matalino,’” she said on “My Puhunan.”
Sally Perez, the owner of Perez Headwear. Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page
While her siblings spent their time learning inside the classroom, Perez looked for ways to earn money for herself.
Perez would start her day at 5 a.m. and head to the market to buy fresh fruits, which she would sell in the street.
As a teenager, Perez earned extra cash by doing laundry. All this hard work allowed her to finish high school.
Another trial in Perez’s life, this time in form of a breakup, pushed her to strive even harder to succeed.
With only P2,000 as capital, she purchased two second-hand sewing machines, which she used to jump start her hat and headpiece business.
Perez and her husband, Edgar, now run Perez Headwear, which supplies headwear products to some of the biggest department stores in the country.
They own a small stall in Baclaran, which rakes in thousands of pesos in sales.
“Dito maganda ang market, buong Pilipinas ang namimili dito…Madali ang pera dito kaya mas gusto namin dito,” she said.
Perez Headwear in Baclaran. Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page
Aside from retail sales, Perez Headwear banks on orders from top department stores in the country.
Not resting on their laurels, the Perez couple has also branched out into the lodging business, operating a 30-room apartelle in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
“Ang hanapbuhay ay parang artista. Kapag kayo ay umasenso, dapat ay mag-save kayo. Kasi ang hanapbuhay ay kapag nandoon na kayo sa tuktok, hindi pwedeng hindi ka malalaos,” said Edgar.
After all the obstacles that Perez has overcome in her life, she now has her own house and lot, a car, and a happy family.
She believes that the love that she and her husband share is the key to their success.
“’Yung pagtitiwala ko sa kanya at ‘yung pagmamahal ko ‘yung talagang naging susi sa tagumpay namin,” Perez said.
“Ang naranasan ko, pag-ibig sa asawa ko at pagmamahal sa asawa ko, ‘yun ang naging inspirasyon ko talaga. Hindi pera eh, pag-ibig talaga,” she added.