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Friday, October 7, 2011

Precious Herbal Pillow talk turns profit

A pain in the back has led to delightful bliss for young entrepreneur Chester Sy. Muscle aches made getting out of bed quite difficult for the textile businessman from Quezon City, and leading an active lifestyle was increasingly becoming more elusive.

His wife, Juvilyn, a pharmacist, had discouraged him from taking medicine to relieve the discomfort, and so the couple researched alternative methods of pain management. They found promise in employing particular herbal seeds that can store both heat and cold, plus with very fragrant soothing scents at that.

Making use of pieces of textile left on the cutting room floor, Juvilyn put her sewing skills to work and formed pillows to hold the seeds. However, it was only after two years of trials and experimenting with numerous combinations of seeds when Chester and Juvilyn were finally satisfied with their output.

Using the pillow is a no-brainer: Put it into the microwave for one to two minutes and get a hot compress. Store it in the freezer for one to two hours and get a cold compress.

At first, they gave the items away as gifts. However, friends were so pleased with the therapeutic effect that they encouraged the Sys to launch the pillow as a business.

Chester and Juvilyn eventually relented, and have never looked back. Two years after the Sys initially tried their luck at a Christmas bazaar, the Precious Herbal Pillow is currently retailed in a variety of shapes and sizes at groceries and major shopping malls in Metro Manila.

And it’s a certified winner, taking top honors as Most Innovative Product in the non-food category of the 2011 One Town, One Product (OTOP) National Expo of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) held on 21 to 25 September at the SM Megamall Halls 1 and 2 in Mandaluyong City.

Nowadays, Chester copes with another kind of pain: how to keep up with the increasing demand. “It’s a very big thing for us that we’re able to help other people. We get positive feedback from users that their pain goes away while using the Precious Pillow,” Chester said during an interview at the 2011 OTOP expo.

He lamented that the Precious Pillow has already been imitated in the market, and as such he is reluctant to share components of the product with the general public. Nonetheless, Chester knows that he has the superior product, and a safe one.

“Once we found the right combination of seeds, what took up a lot of time for us during the development period was perfecting our methods to process the seeds. We studied how to remove the possible allergic effect on some users, and we were able to successfully achieve this. The Herbal Pillow is not a product that anybody can just go out and simply copy. We were very careful before coming out with this,” said Chester.

As an aid in the relief of discomfort and pain, Precious Pillow currently has the nod of 16 doctors who have already opted to become dealer-stockists.

Chester vividly recalls receiving an unexpected call from DTI staff, who told him that, “Your product has a future.” From there, the Sys have been working closely with DTI in gaining links to trade fairs such as the OTOP Expo, as well as getting publicity, exposure and marketing assistance.

While still relatively new in the market, Chester is indeed looking towards the future for the Precious Pillow. “We already have the mindset of someday competing in the international marketplace,” he said. Chester sees its applications in sports medicine for the rehabilitation of injured athletes. He and Juvilyn are still at it today, experimenting with other seeds and pillow shapes for newer releases.

For Chester, the Precious Pillow has become more than a business of retailing a unique, high quality product. It has become a personal mission.
“We really don’t want to stop in getting the pillow in the hands of more people. The good feedback has given us the drive to do more and to help more people,” Chester said.

Retail prices of the Precious Herbal Pillow starts at P500. Interested parties can also become stockists for an investment of P40,000 and enjoy a 30-percent sales markup. Call (+632) 2516287/ (+632) 7582541/ (+63917) 8621976/ (+63922) 8001976/ (+63922) 8361976. E-mail hello@preciouspillow.com or visit www.preciouspillow.com. Public Relations Office, Department of Trade and Industry

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