Monday, February 22, 2016


Every entrepreneur's game face, no matter what!
I've listened to a #TEDtalk recently that introduced her topic with this picture. Basically, it talked about entrepreneurship and how technology and network connection enhances a business model. But what got stuck in my mind the whole 20 minutes was the impression this kid gave during the entirety of it. It's this:

"Every entrepreneur had this game face inside of them in selling their idea."

And there's no other way they would remain intact if not for their belief in making their plans into a reality. For some, a big why is in place. Actually, all of us, yes, we own determination. But it's got to be showered by guts to make it happen. Here's a few that owned them guts. Here are good friends of mine whom I continuously admire and with my pursuit to inspire others, I present to you the leap they took. Let's learn from their experiences and let's get inspired to act on our dream NOW.

in Australia....


Jon Ora,
Kusina's executive chef
Kusina is the first Filipino restaurant in Canberra, Australia.

This was when Iya and Jon visited us in Hong Kong Disneyland.
Jon, together with my former team mate in High School, Andrea Loraine Pineda or as we fondly called her, Iya, visited me in 2014 here in Hong Kong for their honeymoon.

It was nice to catch up with her hearing about her life most especially how, she had supported her husband in taking the risk of putting up his new restaurant.

Jon had worked for Grand Hyatt Hotel for 10 years before deciding on putting up his own Filipino restaurant. His Dad had attempted the same thing in the 1970's and had lots of challenges in keeping it up. In the end, they had to close down but he did more than to revive his Dad's name because Cooleman Court, Weston Creek, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory can't contain themselves once Jon's food is out to satisfy their cravings.

Besides the usual Filipino foods, they decided to infuse his knowledge of 10 years in preparing gourmet food in putting his own show with Kusina Canberra. ("Kusina" is the Tagalog term for kitchen.) On top of the Modern Filipino Food they have in the menu, they keep their edge up as they keep Kusina classy and up to date. The trend recently in the Philippines is the boodle fight where food (Filipino barbecue, garlic rice, grilled seafood and salad) is creatively presented on a banana leaf which could be a feast for a group of 4.

Are you ready for a boodle fight in Canberra?
Try booking in Kusina for a beautiful foodie experience.
Their food price ranges from as low as Aus$8-$28. They don't rely on anything else but their confidence on Asian food. They believed on the very edge Filipino food per se got to satisfy a consumer's demand for something different, one of a kind and most of all memorable. Now, following it up with the cheerful staff, Jon's talent from graduating in Culinary Arts in Australia and overseas, dedication and a family friendly approach to their customers, they were able to make it for their first business, garnering awards and getting recognised in just 3 years. Remarkable as they had begun, Jon and Iya are about to open a new restaurant called, "Kain Na!" And I don't doubt that this will soar as high as "Kusina" did. 

the famous Crispy Pata (Pork Leg) of the Philippines
with atsara (carrot and papaya) for a side dish and
soy sauce with vinegar garnished with chilli and spices (which my husband loves)

They admit that it's not an easy road when you take people into liking your food most especially when it's out of their usual preference. People like sustenance, availability, speed, taste and you'll be surprised, most especially, CLEANLINESS. Sometimes, I admit, as long as where I'm eating is clean, it seems like the food is automatically alright. Kusina also encourages everybody to leave room for dessert as it should not be missed on a first visit. KUSINA is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays (9am-9pm) and Sundays (9am-2:30pm). Booking can be done by calling them at 02 6288 8461 or by logging on to their website:

"Don't lose hope and follow your dreams.
Business is not always sweet. You've got to have back up plans."
It was Jon's ultimate dream to put up his own restaurant. He's blessed to have the talent and the passion to pursue his dream on his own with minimal assistance. 

Kusina as he co-owned with his sister and Leilani Fox, was his first. He was hands on, he came up with the menu and took a lot of guts to take the leap of faith. Some of us are ready to invest in putting up the same business, but aren't gifted with the skill. In all types of business, you have to remember why you wanted to put it up in the first place. Jon's aim is to share the robust flavours of the Filipino dishes to the people of Canberra. What's yours?

in Hong Kong...

Teacher Sky with her superb students
After many days of encouraging herself to put this dance arts school for kids and teens, Sky had finally made her dream come true of doing two things she loves most... dancing and teaching.

I had worked with Sky in the happiest place on earth and the ultimate project we did together was forming the hip hop group for a show during the entire Halloween season. I knew then how hard she works for something.

For that entire project, she choreographed alongside renowned talents, edited the music to be used and worked with experienced stage managers that launched her creativity in a whole new level. Little did she know, she's being honed by fate to be one of the most sought after teachers of dance catering to the formative years of the future generation.

This dance program that Sky Dance Avenue offers was first introduced to three committed students that had very supportive parents and from then on, as she collaborated with different dance studios, her business had gone sky-rocket high!

Considering it's her first business, she believed deeply that her program of molding kids to embrace creativity through different dance genres with fun themed and skill-oriented approach classes are going to be hit. Truth be told, Hong Kong has a very strict approach in terms of schooling the kids. Sky Dance Avenue aims to balance that out by giving an outlet to the kids and allowing them to showcase the other side of them by encouraging them to excel in arts. Specifically, in dance.

For just HK$220/class for 10 session (1 term), kids are able to find their beat through Sky Dance Avenue's per term themed dance classes. 

As they get thru the term, they are to develop confidence all the way 'til they do their graduation in a form of a dance concert and/or beneficiary show for the youth which Sky most recently had done with a bunch of her students and I personally think, I would want to enrol my daughter in one of her classes as soon as she is capable (my daughter is one, but she's promising in the strength that she has). Knowing how passionate Sky is, I trust her.

And that's one important factor in putting up a business. You don't take your client's trust because eventually, any business flourishes because of the satisfied clients it had produced. Don't underestimate the power of networking. Word of mouth by reviews, recommendations and referrals are necessary to keep your business alive. So, on top of your belief that you have something to contribute to society thru your craft, treat your clients right and responsibly.

Sky accomplishes these things thinking of her Dad who had inspired her to be an inspiration to others. He had supported Sky in all her aspirations and so, she aims to satisfy him even while he's in heaven. It took her a year of preparation to put up Sky Dance Avenue and so far, she had gone international first before being able to put up the school in her hometown (Philippines). Nevertheless, her students had gone up in number and the parents and other dance institutes find her program substantial for the kid's growth physically and aesthetically. It encourages the parents to keep a healthy lifestyle too so, it's not just unique to the kids but also to the parents that watch over their children. It's like embracing a whole new healthy lifestyle together.
"It is a big help to create solid ties with the people you meet
because you could get a lot of tips from them
that you didn't know will be helpful at first."
- Sky Bautista
Sky Dance Avenue Hong Kong

So, if you're interested to enrol your kids, don't hesitate to contact Sky thru the business email, They will soon come up with a website so to keep abreast with this great news, follow them in instagram and Facebook.

For the mean time, here's a video that Sky and the kids had put up together for your entertainment:

in America....


With today's fast paced world, it seems like the habit of sending out snail mail had gone disappearing yet it is something that delights us every time we receive one. 

Millie Mellick, whom I had the privilege to know and to work with, was just handcrafting greeting cards for personal use at first. As she embraces the beauty of motherhood with her beautiful 7 month daughter, she needed an outlet for her creativity to flow. While her baby slept, she worked on one and it instantly dawned to her that this is something that she would want to do for a business.

Millie loves sending letters during special occasions and holiday season but every time she would buy a greeting card from a stationery store, it's either she will find a design so pretty but then there's a tacky message that she doesn't agree, fit for the card itself or it's the other way around. The message is so good but the design is crappy. She always gets disappointed and deems robbed of her money. She had an idea that maybe if she could make a pretty card and leave the inside blank for people to freely write what they would want to say then it would be a hit.

She acted on it right away and now, she has her own online shop in ETSY for handmade greeting cards. Her creations are all hand scored, embellished and cut by her own self and it's merely a layering of all the patterns that she likes to put together. She puts a custom cut decorative paper in the cards for a buyer to write their sentiments in. Here are some of the cards that she had on sale in Etsy but you can always check out the rest by clicking here.

Her cards are valued from US$3.50-5.00 individually but you can order in sets as well which is priced from US$14.00. It is remarkable how her artsy handmade cards were easily accepted by many and it is amazing how she has the luxury of time in her hands as she stays at home doing all of these while her baby is asleep.

"Keep pushing forward for you would
never know until you try."
-Millie Mellick
She had mentioned that she didn't undergo any form of training. It's solely her designs and this is her first business. She's thankful that she has a very supportive husband beside her that would always encourage her to do more and to push harder. She is her own worst critic so, her husband always inspires her. Because when you are an artist, it is always gamble with how people would take in your work.

A little trivia about her business is that the name was derived from her name and her daughter's combined. Her name is Millie and her daughter's name is Rylee.

If you're interested to buy some of these very unique cards, you can purchase it online thru ETSY or you can email Millie directly at Currently, she's working towards ameliarycreations' to be sold in local stores and bookstores as well.

So there you are folks. So far these three are one of the most promising arising entrepreneurs I know. There are three things that each business owners have used in this putting up their propriety.

TIME, LEAP OF FAITH and BELIEF IN ONE'S SELF. Do let me know if you want anybody showcased thru my blog to help them put out their business. I can mention them here or put up a good and honest review as long as I get to try it. Leave a comment and share to inspire!

Related posts:
1. ARISING ENTREPRENEURS - my second line up of business owners are for my inspiration
2. ENTREPRENEURSHIP - what we understand about it and how do we get driven
3. CASHFLOW - my experience with the adult board game that helps you see clearer the importance of doing deals.

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