The peanut butter lady

Today, I want to tell you about a peanut butter I met. But more than that I want to tell you about the woman behind the peanut butter I met. Based on the impression I got from the very short conversation we had during her guesting on The Sweet Life for our segment called Mommy Millionaire, she was, back then, a woman of simple means who plainly and faithfully prayed to God for a business that she could call her own. No specifics about what it would involve, for even she did not know what to pray for. All she had was this solid idea that she ultimately wanted a business.

When I was a little girl and I was asked what I wanted to do when I was all grown up I would often answer that I saw myself working behind a desk, in a nice bright office overlooking the city, whichever that city was. In that daydream, I had lots of paperwork to do and a nice big mug of coffee beside me. I remember coffee always being part of that dream because I had not tasted a drop of it yet (I had my first sip at 18, as if it were a rite of passage attached to the traditional debut, because our yayas were of the belief that coffee stunted growth and caused the eyes to twitch if one started on it too early in life). In that sense, I could relate completely to Jennylyn, the peanut butter lady.

The vagueness of the dream was dream enough, however the details would play out only time would tell.

Now this part reads almost like a fairy tale. Jennylyn, also known as Ehje to her friends, found herself in the grocery one day buying peanuts for the kare-kare she wanted to cook. For some reason, something prodded her, a little voice or a feeling in the gut, to experiment and make the peanut butter herself. Back home with no recipe to even just guide her, she ground the peanuts, poured some sugar and a little salt into the mixture. The amount of the last two ingredients she just approximated. No pressure, no expectations, it was just one more thing to do before the day ended for her. But as luck, or fate, would have it the taste of the final product was spot-on. On her first try, she had already chanced upon what she felt was the perfect recipe!

Affirmation came fast and soon enough. In her office, she did the rounds, asking her colleagues to taste her product for free. They took to her peanut butter like fish to water. From one kilo of peanuts initially, she was already making five kilos worth and the orders just kept coming. She hit the jackpot, so to speak, when she did the rounds of the bakeshops, offering free trials of her peanut butter. They found her homemade product delicious and started putting in their orders in bulk. Aside from the availability of her product in groceries and supermarkets, she regularly supplies bakeshops now, both big and small, and her clientele still keeps growing. It has grown so much that what was once upon a time just a cottage industry is now a full-blown business that had to move to a bigger place where manufacturing and packaging is done professionally.

The next time you drop by you grocery and you meet Ehje’s Peanut Butter, pick it up from the shelf and take it home. You will become instant friends. Do not be fooled by the nondescript packaging or the humble price, Ehje’s Peanut Butter, which comes in creamy and crunchy varieties, is delicious. Not too sweet, not swimming in oil, it has a premium but homemade taste. It is great value for money.

In the many months that we have been doing the Mommy Millionaire segment, I have come across all sorts of mommies and businesses — those who make soap, puto bumbong, hairclips, dresses, cosmetics, name it. These mommies, successful all, enjoy what they have, are one in saying that they simply turned their passion into a business and, as such, have never worked a day in their lives.

The next question would be, when do you start? The answer is now. Immediately. Not when you have hundreds of thousands or millions to play with as capital. Whatever you have right now is good enough. Now is as good a time as any. Just put one foot forward, keep going. Trust that God will help you get there.

Before life just slips between the toes as the days turn into months and years, embrace your passion and make it work for you. And when you have doubts think of the peanut butter lady — where she started, where she is now. And before you know it you just might be amazed at how far you have also come.

 

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