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The pandemic gave rise to small businesses like Phippa’s Gourmet


Follow the author on Instagram: @yru_here

The pandemic was a challenging time for a lot of people. In fact, as some publications reported, it was a time of the ‘The Great Resignation’ where career took a drastic down turn for individuals across different countries.

Looking at the positive side of the pandemic, it was also an opportunity that social media and the internet became a place of purpose. It gave rise to small entrepreneurs who used the power of the digital world to sell their products.

While not greatly impacted career-wise by the pandemic, Oman-based Filipina entrepreneur Paula Stallwood realized that she wanted to pursue a passion project that has been on her mind for quite sometime.

Working as a senior research and analysis specialist in one of the biggest PR and Communication agencies in the MENA, Paula put her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and her masters degree in Media and Public Relation to good use by tapping into the potential of social media to reach a wider audience for her small project.

“I am a wife and a mother to a 4 and a half year old daughter Philippa. While managing my full-time job, I realized that I can extend myself a little bit more. I’ve decided that I have something great to offer to Oman’s consumers and the result is becoming the co-creater of Phippa’s Homemade Gourmet which is on its way of finally getting registered,” Paula shared.

“Phippa’s Homemade Gourmet was born out of a passion, love and desire to make my family, friends and other people happy. In any business venture, when you have the passion and love and the inspiration to experiment and produce new products and bring happiness to others, no challenge or adversity will bring you down. Hence, we strive and continue to live and to continue to make our products where our consumer would feel the love that we put into each and every of our offering,” she shared.

Oman Observer talked to Paula to get some details regarding her initiative in the hope of inspiring other budding entrepreneurs to finally get started in that passion project.

Can you tell us a little bit more about Phippa’s Gourmet?

Phippa is my daughter’s nickname and since she is the greatest inspiration for us to create fresh and healthy food products, we decided to name it after her. Phippa’s HomeMade Gourmet started trading the first week of January this year with the help of a very close family friend. The idea was made when I made my all-time family favourite homemade Chili-Garlic Oil and Garlic and Herb Butter as gifts for my colleagues and friends last Christmas. It turned out that my colleagues and friends really liked them and encouraged me to make it into a business and they started to place bulk orders. That is basically how we came out with the idea to make it as a business and that’s how Phippa’s HomeMade Gourmet was born.

What gourmet products do you offer to Oman’s consumers as of now?

At the moment Phippa’s Homemade Gourmet has 20 different products on offer, from sweet to savoury snacks, dips and sauces as well as ready to fry and bake products. What differs Phippa’s Homemade Gourmet products to other items already available in the market is the assurance that each of Phippa’s products is made from the freshest and highest quality ingredients, prepared and packed in a meticulous way because they are all made with L.O.V.E.

When developing your products, what were the things you consider?

When we develop a new product, we have to consider the following:

Uniqueness — Simply because we want to offer new and unique products for everyone to try and like.

Availability of ingredients in the market since we want to maintain the same quality and taste of all of our products, we therefore have to make sure that all of the ingredients are available in Oman.

Health and Cleanliness — I am health conscious myself, and all of our products are also made for myself and my family’s consumption, therefore we have to ensure that each item is of a high health and clean standard.

Consumer — Many people assume that our products are only for a certain nationality. However I researched throughly before I design all our products to make sure that it will not only cater to a specific palette but also for every different nationality with different palette.

What has been the most challenging part of your journey so far? How did you overcome those challenges?

The most challenging part is in finding the right venue to introduce our products into a bigger, mixed cultured market, plus the long existing economic challenges brought about by the pandemic. Consumers became very reluctant in trying new products far from what they were used to especially in a country where people have a different pallete, so we really have to be very creative and convince people of different nationalities to try new products being offered to them.

How do you define PHippa’s gourmet’s success?

Nobody goes into business and dreams to just keep it small and low-key. Us, like any other entrepreneurs who have a great vision for their businesses, dream to make Phippa’s Homemade Gourmet compete confidently amongst bigger food brands in the market. Success for us will be when Phippa’s Homemade Gourmet becomes a household name and when people are happy to constantly buy and consume our products.

What’s your advice for other wannabe entrepreneurs?

As a start-up entrepreneur, the advice that we could give to those who want to venture into a business is to really find your passion first. Look and ask yourself what you think you are really good at and what you are really love doing. Because when you start things that you are really passionate about, you would then have all of the courage, strength and perseverance to take a risk and to continue the business that is really close to your heart and to be succesful with it.

How can people reach you?

At the moment you can check all of our products, tips, ideas and different offers and updates and place your orders through our Facebook and Instagram pages @phippashomemadegourmet. We offer a delivery service within Muscat for a set minimum purchase order.

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