Meet Melvene from the Philippines
Updated: Oct 14, 2020
Established in October 2018 and with $100 in starting capital, Melvene Holly Celeste ventured out to set up Celestea, bringing locally made and affordable tea to consumers in the Philippines. Celestea was an idea that came about following Melvene’s travels. “I travelled to a lot of rural communities in the country. And I met many of the farmers and they've shared their struggles and challenges both in the communities and in farming. I realized that many of the things that they planted, with a little processing could be sold as tea. And tea being one of my passions, I thought of developing a brand that will support the farmers and also support myself.”
Months after its inception, Melvene took to social media, specifically Instagram, to bring Celestea to greater heights. “In May 2019, we went online on Facebook and Instagram. And about a month later, we started leaning towards Instagram as the main platform. I would say that the first major milestone of Celestea is in August 2019, when we attracted the attention of a few foodie bloggers – we were offered collaborations. And for many, many weeks, we were sending multiple stories and multiple feeds to these bloggers. We ended 2019 with 3000 followers, and there were really a lot of orders.” Whilst Celestea has been affected by the impacts of COVID-19, Melvene’s determination to succeed hasn’t been hampered. Celestea has been offered to work with big companies such as Grab, who has featured them on the application several times, and bloggers who help to market SMEs in Metro Manila. The latest win came from a big female-owned blog, who ran a campaign and wrote an article about Celestea – driving traffic to the website, increasing the number of orders, and subsequently enabling Celestea to continue supporting smallholder farmers. Ultimately, Melvene believes that it’s her generosity and humility which enables the business to thrive – specifically, she believes in these three values: - Sustainable sourcing:
When Celestea sources tea from the farmers, we make sure that they're equitably remunerated.
- Client satisfaction:
Celestea makes sure that the clients are satisfied with their service and their products.
As Celestea grew, they collaborated more – they currently have partnerships with home bakers and gifting studios which are all run by women.
To Melvene, she believes that women must devote her energies and abilities towards agricultural and industrial science seeking to assist mankind in a way that is meaningful.
This story was first published by WOMAG.
About Melvene Celeste
Melvene Holly Celeste is a development practitioner and the founder of
Celestea. She aims to bring an affordable healthier alternative drink to the
Filipinos that are sourced and grown locally by small farmers. She started the business with only $100 capital, relying on sales through Facebook and Instagram from her home. Through word of social media, she has now built a sustainable business with 8,500 followers, with 17 types of tea.
Her interactions and support has also inspired other home-based female entrepreneurs. Her company recently won coverage by DiscoverMNL and Grab. Melvene is a graduate from University of Education and Development, and holds a Masters Degree in Education in Development.