Money tips from the man behind Hapee toothpaste

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez,

Posted at Apr 03 2015 11:04 AM | Updated as of Nov 20 2018 02:29 PM

MANILA – "Money is just an instrument, it's just a tool. It's not the essence of my existence, but we need money to survive. We need money to run business."

These are the words of Lamoiyan Corp. founder and president Cecilio Pedro, the man behind the popular toothpaste brand Hapee.

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Growing up, Pedro said his first lessons on money came from his parents, who taught him to be thrifty and to be kind to others.

“I learned that money is important, but it is also important that we give to the church regularly, because whatever we have in this world belongs to the Lord,” Pedro told ANC’s “On The Money.”

“We barely have enough so I was trained at that time to learn how to budget, to make use of the money, to take care of whatever resources are available to me,” he added.

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Pedro said his ambition was to be a successful businessman in order to have more resources than he had growing up.

To start his first venture into the hardware business in the 70s, Pedro said he borrowed around P50,000 to use as capital.

However, in just two years of operation, he and his partner decided to close shop.

“We realized that it is so competitive, returns are so limited because of the competition around us,” shared Pedro.

In 1978, Pedro tried manufacturing, starting a business that supplied aluminum tubes for Colgate and Unilever.

“Those years I learned so many things including how to budget and how to preserve. We’re still very conscious about money because we were expanding left and right. Whatever savings we generated we plowed back to business so we can accommodate demand,” he said.

When his business, Aluminum Container Inc., had to close down in the 80s, Pedro tried his hand in the toothpaste business.

Pedro started out as the driver, messenger, finance officer, operation man, and salesman of the company.

“If you want to go into business, you must be prepared to do difficult and challenging tasks…I did practically everything just so I can minimize cost and survive in this very competitive industry,” he said.

His hard work and endurance helped the business become successful, allowing the company to branch out into other products such as dishwashing liquid and shampoo.

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Pedro said he has passed on the lessons he learned from his father to his children, who now have their own families.

He said that at an early age, he also taught his son the difference between a need and a want.

“If it’s a need, no matter how much the price is, find a way to buy it. If it’s a want, think again. Instead, save the money and then buy it later when you have made more money for yourself,” he said.

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Pedro has been successful at what he does, but he said the key in his life is how to “make a difference for the glory of God.”

He said his future plans involve supporting his cause for the deaf, supporting their church efforts at mentoring or discipleship-making, and increasing the involvement of technology in education.