How This Entrepreneur Grew Her Tapa Business into a Multi-Million Brand

With just PHP 2,000, Rose Consuelle Velasco-Soriano was able to become her own boss and grow ROSA Manila Meat Products into a thriving flavored meat business.

How much capital does one need to start a small business? PHP 10,000? PHP 50,000? PHP 100,000? Believe it or not, with borrowed money of just PHP 2,000, Rose Consuelle Velasco-Soriano—known to many as Rose—was able to grow her flavored meat business into a burgeoning enterprise that now competes with long-established frozen meat brands.

Here’s how she did it.

The Humble Beginnings of ROSA Manila Meat Products

The road to owning and operating a business was rough and patchy, to say the least. Rose started as a flight attendant for Kuwait Airlines before getting married. The demands of motherhood, however, cut her flying days short as she focused on her young brood.

Even then, she tried to have side hustles to augment the family income. This included selling luxury bags, and jewelry and joining networking companies. All were unsuccessful. However, these failures did not deter Rose from finding a stable source of income.

In 2016, she tried selling beef tapa (her own recipe) and garlic longganisa—made from a recipe handed down from her Bulakeña mom. “That time, I would make small batches of tapa and longganisa to give away as presents. My friends and co-parents in Poveda liked them so much and encouraged me to sell them. That’s basically how it all started,” reminisces Rose.

“I was so surprised that just after one week of selling, I was already able to buy a small freezer!”

Rose Consuelle Velasco-Soriano
The Queen of Marinated Meats—Rose Consuelle Velasco-Soriano, the CEO of ROSA Manila Meat Products, believes that a good leader must be able to think strategically and have good problem-solving skills.

Positive word-of-mouth resulted in more orders and repurchases from clients—both new and old. A year later, Rose joined bazaars, where her products sold out.

From 2018 to 2019, Rose further expanded her business by getting resellers and distributors. “After a good two-and-a-half-year run, I experienced a lot of struggles. Some distributors tried not only to pirate my biggest customers but also copy my products. Income was slowly decreasing. The business had hit its stagnant phase and I was contemplating on shutting it down,” she recalls.

Pandemic Rebirth

As luck would have it, what devastated a lot of businesses turned out to be the catalyst for her fledgling meat trade. “When the pandemic hit, the business found its second life,” recounts Rose. “Orders poured in and I just had to man up. I asked my family in Bulacan to help out so I could meet the demand.”

“Soon I had a full roster of resellers and distributors. Within a month, the business earned PHP 600,000. It was the boost I sorely needed,” she adds.

While sales were picking up during the pandemic, she too faced some challenges, which include having a team to help her meet the growing demand for her products. “At the peak of COVID, I was left with just three employees,” she laments. “I was overseeing production, answering order inquiries, packing, and personally delivering to different villages.”

“The health of my family was compromised, of course, as I went in and out of our home on a daily basis. Thankfully, we did not get sick,” the businesswoman adds. “Some months after, the pool of resellers grew and business was booming again.”

However, when restrictions eased and people returned to work, the number of resellers dwindled, so Rose had to think of another strategy to sustain the business. That’s when she thought of selling directly to supermarkets. “I called different grocery chains persistently until one finally gave me the opportunity to present my products. Robinson’s opened its door to Rosa Meats. I cried the first time I saw my products displayed alongside big brands.”

“All the hard work to get to that place was worth it. Now customers can readily avail of my products at The Market Place, select Robinson’s Supermarkets, Shopwise, and Robinson’s Easy Mart,” Rose says proudly.

ROSA Manila Meat Products
The Winning Recipe—These frozen marinated meats can now be bought from Robinson’s groceries, ordered online on Instagram @rosamanilaph, as well as in Grabmart, Lazada, and Pickaroo.

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

It’s no coincidence that the brand is named ROSA. Aside from it being the owner’s given name, Rosa is also the name of both her biological mother and her mother-in-law.

Today, the company is in its seventh year of operations, and things are looking up, as the start-up business—which had an initial operating capital of PHP 2,000, now earns roughly half a million monthly. This is a big feat for a former housewife who had to learn how to run a business on the job itself!

And from three employees, Rose now has 15 people under her wing. Two trucks ply different routes daily. From her two original products (that remain bestsellers today), ROSA presently offers 16 different kinds of meat which include tapa steak, tocino, ham, and more.

To whom does she credit her success? “Everything I’ve done from the start is above board. I’m lucky to have the guidance of my father-in-law who is a lawyer,” Rose says. “ROSA is a registered business and complies with all government regulations. The products have been tested and approved by the FDA so customers are guaranteed [their] quality and freshness.”

“Secondly, I am a very hands-on owner,” she adds, saying that she even designed the packaging and logo of the brand. “To this day, I personally answer messages and inquiries from customers. I regularly post [on] our social media platforms to keep generating interest. Lastly, I am always on the lookout for opportunities to expand the business. “

As for her advice to people who want to start their own business, Rose says, “You have to find your passion and offer products that are fresh and unique. Don’t give up easily. Ask for advice from other people who have similar businesses. In the food business, it’s always good to offer new products and flavors.”

Rose’s plans for the future include finding a professional business partner/s to help her run the business. What’s more, she realizes that as her brand becomes bigger she has to learn how to delegate. And finally, she’s also looking to have her products in membership clubs to better target her market.

“I’m very grateful to God for everything that I have right now. My family supports me, the business is doing well and the future holds much promise,” she ends on a fond note.