Fashion

Meet the Girl Who Turned Her Obsession for Trendy Phone Cases into a Business

Because funemployment can be productive, too!
IMAGE Nisa & Frank | instagram.com/nisaandfrank

Back then, phone cases were meant to simply protect your phone in case it falls. But now, not only are stylish phone cases popping out from left to right, they can instantly up the ante of your OOTDs, too! Nisa knew just how a fashionable and unique phone case can make an otherwise simple outfit standout with a breeze, so during her "funemployment" phase, she decided to turn her obsession for phone cases into an actual business. Read on to find out the inspiring story behind Nisa and Frank.

How it started. "Actually, Nisa and Frank just started last March 2016. I used to work for a local fashion e-commerce company, but last year I decided that it was to go and take a break. Working in the online shopping scene made me want to explore and start something of my own. Honestly, I didn't have any sort of business plan or proposal when I started Nisa and Frank. I just dove in and took the risk."

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Why Nisa and Frank? "I thought that when it comes to selling products, it was important to sell something that I am personally interested in. I did some quick research, went through my things at home, and sorted through all the things that I love and I realized that I had been hoarding so many phone cases at home. So I thought to myself, instead of buying all these expensive cases, some even reaching thousands of pesos, why not just come up with my own line? Because these days, phone cases are so much more than just protecting your phones—it has become a statement piece—I opted to offer customized phone cases, where the customer can show off their personality and individuality through their phone cases."

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Young entrepreneur. "Being a young entrepreneur definitely has its downside. It was hard gaining people's trust because I lacked experience in actually running a business. I had limited resources and I was afraid of failure. But at the same time, being young could work to your advantage, too. There are fresher ideas, optimism, more space for growth and learning, and more importantly, having the knowledge of the internet and social media on your side, which plays a big role in the business industry nowadays."

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Why a business? "What inspired me to start a business on my own is very simple—personal freedom. I just wanted to get into something that I loved. Something that I would enjoy doing at my own time and pace. Though it's not easy, it's something that truly makes me happy."

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Drawing inspiration. "I draw inspiration from a lot of things really. I'm always on the Internet and I keep myself updated on the latest trends through the news, blog sites, social media, and content sharing sites like Pinterest and Tumblr. Like that time last year, when people were crazy over marble prints, of course, we followed suit. It's all a matter of keeping up with the times and you'll see that even the simplest things can be an inspiration."

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Team effort. "At the beginning, I used to wear all the hats in the business. I did everything on my own—from planning to accounting—and even marketing, operations, and logistics. Being an entrepreneur means that you have to know every part of the business process no matter how big or small it is. So that's what I did for the first year of Nisa and Frank. Through time, I learned my strengths, what I wanted to focus on, and my weaknesses, and the areas where I needed help. Come my second year, I now work with a few people to help me get through what I couldn't overcome alone. After all, it's not very easy to be the jack of all trades and you can always get by with a little help from your friends."

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Little challenges. "Although having your own business means more time in your hands, it wasn't always easy. I would say one of my biggest challenges would be overcoming my fear of failure and managing my finances. When you start your own business, you do not get a monthly salary, no leaves or weekends off, and no, you do not stick to what you know and get paid for it. There is no company to back you up when things don't go as planned. When I left my previous job, I lost all security of expecting a paycheck every 15th and 30th of the month. This time, there are no guarantees. Your salary and your successes are all up to you and how much hard work and dedication you put in. The fear of failure sets in when you know you have invested your time in the business and you think it is not going to work out. There will always be that thought at the back of your mind, but you just have to toughen up, overcome it, and work hard."

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Staying original. "There's no denying that there are so many online stores on Facebook and Instagram that are also selling phone cases. You’ll see all kinds of case styles—from snap to silicone—and even the unusually shaped ones. But Nisa & Frank is unique in the sense that we offer some designs that are hand drawn and digitally edited by me. We also accept phone case customization and that gives us a chance to engage with our customers."

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What's next? "My future plan for Nisa & Frank is to keep expanding the line of products up until we can offer more than just phone cases. We are currently working on a jewelry line under the same brand that is designed by me. As much as possible, Nisa & Frank would like to remain exclusively online, but we want to make it globally—especially since our local prices are very competitive in the international market. We are very amazed by how the Internet is shaping the world and making everything easier for everybody. I guess it's safe to say that online shopping is going nowhere, but uphill from here."

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Entrepreneurial philosophy.

"You only live once so do what you love and in turn, you will love what you do."

To young budding entrepreneurs. "My advice for budding entrepreneurs would be to follow your passion, start with something you love, take risks, make mistakes, but don't make the same mistake twice! Learn from them and improve yourself. Ask for help when needed and lastly, work hard and enjoy the ride."

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Know any young entrepreneurs? Leave a comment below and you just might see them on the site next week!

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About the author
Janelle Yau
Fashion and Beauty Assistant
The Rebecca Bloomwood of Manila. I spend half of my time obsessing about the latest fashion craze, and the other half overthinking and over-analyzing just about anything under the sun. When I’m not busy as a bee playing with fifty shades of pink lippies, you can probably catch me swiping my plastic for yet another pair of shiny, pointed gold flats.
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I was, but I am not. Desperately, I am trying to reach you – my hope. I am in this particular space in my own constructed world where doubts and frustrations recur. Emphasizing how scared I am being here, I never explored this area before. I was always in those places filled with benevolence, hope shining like the light the sun and the moon possess. And I didn’t have any plans to visit a ‘dark’ place, as how I described it then. But, as funny as how my world suddenly flipped, I am now here, completely lost with monsters persuading me to go insane.

How did I end up here? I can’t logically tell you the answer for that, but I guess, I know when. It started when I had to consider what college course do I want to pursue. Well, if you want to ask what ambition had occurred in my mind when I was young – which is usually the case in terms of life when you were like 7-year-old young - it was definitely being a doctor. I’d thought about wearing a medical coat with a stethoscope around my neck, ready to cure people from their illnesses. It was actually stuck in my mind for so long I almost thought that I was sure of it, yet, as a particular song yields, almost was never really enough and still, it is and will never be.

When I realized that such a perspective was slowly draining me, I tried my best to stand tough. I convinced myself that this was just temporary, that I could think of a way out of this. “There’s still plenty of time,” I once convinced myself. However, my environment demonstrated the contrary: I felt like I was completely out of time.

I was there when my classmates were happily talking about that ‘dream course’ they wish to take in their ‘dream university.’ I was there when my family was suggesting the thought of using my ‘suitable’ speaking voice for broadcasting and voice acting purposes. I was there when my teacher was convincing me that Education suited me the best. That ‘Stand tough!’ aura I used to own back then, suddenly transformed into ‘I give up!’ state, slowly destroying my being. And now, I am here in this space where doubts and frustrations are filling my former enthusiastic self. I need help.

I know, at this point, some of you may never consider me ‘fatal’ because, as you’re reading this, you may judge that I still have the ability to transform my thoughts into words that can be read, so that ‘automatically’ falls into the aspect of complete sanity. No, because I will never tell everything to you in the first place if I still have the urge to stand like I used to, relative to my belief that speaking up through writing is the best way to attract help.

When you look at the photo of mine above, you may say that I was okay. That I was successful. That I was never losing myself. Yes, I was. But, think about what happened days after that was taken and the message of this passage you started reading minutes before, do you think I am still the same girl smiling in the photo? I hope I will be or better yet, improve if the world will permit me. But, now I’m sure – I’m not the same.

LIFE ADVICE YOU NEED TO HEAR WHILE YOURE STILL YOUNG

This blog is dedicated to all teens out there struggling in determining what they really want in their life or if you simply want a glow up. And since were still facing a pandemic, I think this is also a season where everyone is re-thinking about their lives. So, I hope these advices might help you.

Tip #1. TAKE RISK - since most of you are still young, I advice you to take your biggest risk. Whether it may be taking the course you want, a skill you want to acquire or just simply taking the risk to throw away your emotional baggage from your childhood. While you're still young, you have very little to lose. You dont have that much commitments and responsibilities. Because the older you get, the more responsibilities and obligations came. So when they are still not piling up, take the risk! As for me, the biggest risk I took when I was still a teenager is to CUT OFF TOXIC FAMILY TIES.

I may sound rude here but, yeah. I decided to throw away my emotional baggage from my traumatic childhood and cut off some of my family ties and it is completely okay! You dont have to be bothered by whatever they will say. Because at your age, you are already investing on your growth as a person. If you really want to grow, THERE IS NO PERFECT TIME FOR YOU TO TAKE RISK BUT NOW. Because in taking risk you are actually giving yourself a reward of getting something amazing or beyond what you expect you can have. As they say, the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. Keep in mind that the bigger the risk, the bigger possibility of FAILURE. But that is completely OKAY. Because just like what I said earlier, you are still young. You dont have so much to lose so, dont be afraid to take the risk and then fail. But after failing, learn from it and the more courage you have to take risk the greater the learning, reward or happiness. Ito na nga, how to take risk nga ba? And what are the risk that would actually help me to grow? #

2: VOICE LESSON - dont get me wrong, hindi ito vocalization para sa pagkanta. What I mean is, learn to listen to that VOICE INSIDE YOU. Listen to your heart, to your intuition and to your visions because it will be your GUIDE. Because I realize that as you go along your journey of your life and if you really want to be YOURSELF and be successful in achieving your goals, the only GUIDE that you should follow is your OWN VOICE.

It is okay to take and consider other people's advices but at the end of the day,you should never forget to listen to your own voice. Because that voice is what tells you what you truly want. How would you know that if it is your 'own' voice? Your own voice always comes from your HEART. The voice where YOU and GOD'S voice are one. Because I firmly believe that God knows your heart and that is where he reside. I like journaling because whenever I journal my thought every night and every morning, I feel a dual voice inside my head. Like, it contradicts what the other voice is telling. For example: If we have dreams or goals that puts us so much weight and pressure to the point that it makes you exhausted, STOP. Because it might be a dream or goal of someone else. I believe that your own dreams and goals may be frustrating most of the time, but that frustration has fueling feeling that will always tell you that 'This is the hard way to better so keep going'. Frustration in your own dreams will not make you feel exhausted because achieving a dream itself is a fulfilling feeling.

#3. TAKE ACTION - if you really want something to happen, take action. Dont just sit there and wait things to come your way. Make action or decisions that will take you to where you want to go in your life. Just like what I said in one of my novels that I am writing in wattpad, "There is no such thing as destiny or fate. Because YOU make your OWN life choices." For example, I cannot expect to be a published author if I dont write any novels right? The bottomline here is, if you are not moving forward you are actually moving backward. And it is a sad thing. Life is full of situations where you will be put in the line whether you take courage or just stay where you are. Because GROWING needs consistency in moving forward. So if you dont have to enough courage to take action, your life will always stay the same or worse you will continuously shrink down.

#4. EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS - this means stretching your comfort zone. I watched an anime entitled "Black Clover" there is a captain there where he always tell his subordinates to surpass their limits right, here right now. Going out of our comfort zones are surely scary and uncomfortable. But you have to accept the fact that you cannot stay on the coast forever. You have to change, because the only thing that is constant in this world is change right? Go out of your comfort zones because LIMITS are just in the MIND. There are disabled people who are successful in their own careers. Because the lesson here is, if you hold back there will be no growth. Because GROWTH blooms in DISCOMFORT.

Last, #5. INVEST IN YOURSELF - especially now that you are still young, you should focus on investing on yourself more. Time is your bestfriend at this point of your life. You have so much time to discover things about yourself. I never regret buying and reading books that I never knew will help me later on in dealing life's challenges. You can use that time to read books, gain wisdom, or pick a new skill, improve your talent and learn from your experiences. Keep learning outside your home or your school. Because the real battlefield is OUTSIDE. What you learn in school will only help you in your career but your wisdom and experiences will help you in life or as a person. People who doesnt embrace growth will never succeed in their life. (This is a reflection blog from my 21st birthday last week. I hope you can feature this on your page and I hope it can help others as well. )

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