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How This 17-Year-Old Made a Successful Business Out of Kangkong

Josh Mojica puts a new spin on "pupulutin ka sa kangkungan."
IMAGE JOSH MOJICA
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You will never use the phrase, "pupulutin ka sa kangkungan" the same way again after a 17-year-old made a successful business from selling the vegetable. 

Josh “Jhelo” Mojica is 17 years old. It was his dream to buy a high-end laptop or PC but his mother could not afford it. 

Josh "Jhelo" Mojica

Photo by Josh Mojica | Facebook.

Dati po hindi po ako makabili ng pang-module ko na laptop at PC. Nag-away pa po kami ng mother ko noon kasi ang gusto ko pong PC ay yung pang-edit, mataas po yung specs. Yung mother ko, ang afford lang po niya ay yung mga P10,000, ganun po, pag-iipunan pa niya iyon,” Mojica tells Esquire Philippines

Ngayon po dahil sa Kangkong Chips business ko, nakabili na po ako ng laptop na gusto ko yung specs.”

(“I could not afford a laptop or PC for my schoolwork before. My mom and I used to argue because I wanted a PC with high-end specs, but my mother could only afford those worth P10,000 and she would still save up for that. But because of my Kangkong Chips business, I was able to buy one.”)

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At a young age and without coaching or guidance from anyone, Mojica was able to establish a successful business by selling Kangkong Chips with a starting capital of P3,000. 

Josh Mojica and His Kangkong Chips

Photo by Josh Mojica | Facebook.

“I started planning the business in May 2021, the birthday of my Lolo. The Kangkong Chips were my tita’s recipe, she cooked it for Lolo’s birthday. Lolo found it really delicious—it was crispy and tasty. He was surprised how Kangkong could be that good. 

It was at that moment when I thought of selling it. I posted it on Facebook and I gained one loyal customer. 

Josh stopped his business in 2021 because he got distracted with playing video games. 

Hindi po ako ganoon ka-pursigido at first, nalulon po ako sa teenage life distractions.”

(“I was not that determined at first. I got addicted to teenage life distractions.”

But Mojica took things seriously after his Lolo passed away in June. But before he died, he told his grandosn something he will never forget. 

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“Bago po mawala si Daddy (Lolo), tandang tanda ko po na sinabi niya sa akin, ‘Jhelo, hindi madali ang buhay, akala mo ba? Kaya huwag mong bababaan ang pangangarap.’”

(“Before Daddy passed away, he said something to me I will never forget: ‘Jhelo, life is not easy, don’t ever dream so low.”)

“After hearing that, I changed my life. Nag-iba na po ako ng landas, ng habits. From distractions, I self-isolated so I can execute everything I planned in my head. I sat in front of the computer, I designed a logo and packaging, and the next day, I bought ingredients, and then the following day, I woke up early to finish the product.”

Delivering Kangkong Chips

Photo by Josh Mojica | Facebook.

Mojica shot the products himself and marketed them on social media. He only had a capital of P3,000. When the final products are ready, he sent them to his mother, who was so proud of what he accomplished in three days. 

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But something happened to his Lolo. 

“After ko po matapos yung finished product, hindi ko pa po naipapakita kay Daddy, nang biglang parang dadalhin na siya sa ospital.”

(“After I created the finished product, I was not able to show Daddy because his health condition became critical.”)

His Lolo passed away in June 2021, a month after Mojica started planning his Kangkong Chips business. But that has only bolstered his drive to succeed in business. 

Now, he has 10 employees whom he oversees in making the Kangkong Chips. These employees are also his friends. 

Josh Mojica and His Friends

Photo by Josh Mojica.

Gusto ko po yung may madala ako, I don’t want to achieve something alone. Gusto ko may kasama ako kasi masarap po iyon sa pakiramdam. As a team, lahat po ng kasama mo sa mga kalokohan, sa normal na buhay ng isang teenager, gusto ko po may mabago sa amin dahil kakaiba kami at may magagawa kami na papatunayan naming posible

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Ito kami ngayon, mga batang dating pariwara o puro gala, mga sinasabihan na puro laro, pero ngayon po nagpupursige para patunayang posible.”

(I want to uplift people, doing that feels good. As a team, we were together in doing nonsense, but I wanted to change that because we’re different and we are proof that we can do what seems impossible. Here we are, who were labeled lost youths addicted to games, but now we’re working hard to prove this is possible.”)

2,000 Sold in a Month

Now that Mojica has a new kitchen and a staff of 10, he is able to deliver more Kangkong Chips to his customers. A bag of Kangkong chips costs P110 on his Shopee store. In a month, Mojica sells 1,500 to 2,000 bags of Kangkong Chips through Shopee and Facebook. 

Photo by Josh Mojica.

Dati po wala po kaming kitchen, pero ngayon nakapagpagawa na rin po kami dito sa bahay.”

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Mojica runs the operations of his business on his own, but he has since delegated the finance part to his mother. “Mag-isa po ako nag-run ng buong business, and then, ngayon po na kailangan na po ma-establish, kinuha ko na po yung mother ko.”

(“We didn’t have a kitchen before, but we were able to have one built at home. I run the business on my one, and when I realized it needs to be established, I asked my mother to help.”)

Mojica sources his kangkong through the public market, where he has vendors who supply him regularly with the vegetable. 

Kumokontak po kami ng public vendors para na rin po matulungan sila sa vegetable selling. 

Hindi pa po kami nakakaabot ngayon sa Mindanao and the Visayas kasi we can’t shoulder the logistics yet because of the amount of orders in Luzon.”

(“We contacted public vendors so we can also help them sell their vegetables. We still have not reached Mindanao or the Visayas because we can’t shoulder the logistics yet because of the amount of orders in Luzon.”)

Mojica is open to partnerships with resellers. For P4,000, you can get 50 packs of Kangkong Chips worth P80 each, that you can resell for P120, according to Mojica. 

An Important Lesson I Learned in Business at 17

Even though no one guided Mojica in running his business, he learned quite a few things by just doing it on his own. 

Photo by Josh Mojica.
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“An important lesson I learned when I was starting my business is you have to know whether you are capable of running the business. Dapat, kaya mo mag-isa. Dapat disiplinado ka nang mag-isa. Dapat hindi ka masyado madaling yayain o maimpluwensiyanan na ‘ito gawin mo, sumunod ka,’ because you will stray from your goals. You are your own boss so you need so much discipline. Kung susunod ka lang din sa iba, yung business mo parang ganoon lang din. 

(“You should be independent. You should be disciplined enough to be alone. You should not be easily tempted to have fun. You should not let others sway your decisions so easily.”)

‘Move Fast, Be Excellent!’

Ang payo ko sa inyo ay stay optimistic and move fast, kasi habang bata pa kayo, iyan na ang chance ninyo na gawing stable ang life ninyo,” Mojica shares with Esquire Philippines

(“My advice to young people is to stay optimistic and move fast while you’re young because this is your chance to make your lives stable.”)

Photo by Josh Mojica.
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“Move fast! Nasa inyong mga kamay ang pag-asa na maging stable ang life niyo. I’m young, but I strive for stability, and I think that should be the mindset of the youth. Move fast, especially in business. Dapat mabilis kasi ang negosyo, bumabagsak kung hindi mabilis yung tao. Parang sa eroplano lang. Hindi babagsak ang eroplano kung may sapat na bilis, kahit walang pakpak.”

“If you’ve thought of a plan, don’t sleep until you have not executed it. You should be aware of what you know and what you don’t know, and focus on being good. Whatever you do, do it well. Mahirap kung hindi ka excellent, because your life will depend on it. Treat everything with excellence and watch how your life changes.”

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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