How floor sweeper became a millionaire salon owner

Posted at 08/31/2013 8:43 AM | Updated as of 09/02/2013 11:43 AM
MJ Aparice, owner of Heaven's Salon, was recently featured on ABS-CBN's My Puhunan. Courtesy of My Puhunan Facebook page

MANILA - Kicked out of his family's own house at the age of 14 by his mother. Forced to work as a "kasambahay" in order to pay for his high school education. Ridiculed for being gay. And ended up working as a salon floor sweeper.

Life didn't deal MJ Aparice, owner of Heaven's Salon, the best hand but he made the most out of it.

On ABS-CBN's "My Puhunan," host Karen Davila found out how Aparice managed to turn his life around, making millions despite the early setbacks.

"Naniniwala ako sa kasabihan na experience is the best teacher," said Aparice.

"Sabi nila, habang ginagawa namin ang mga trabaho namin, ikaw mag-observe ka. Tingan mo kung paano hawakan ang gunting, paano papitikin yung gunting, paano pagalawin yung kamay at paano mag-project kasi kailangan pag nasa harap ka ng client, gorgeous ka rin," he added.

And after learning everything he could, he risked everything by opening a salon of his own --the very first branch of Heaven's Salon at Mandaluyong last 2007.

"Actually nagstart kami sa puhunan na P10,000. Mga inipon ko nung nag-wowork ako sa salon," Aparice said.

But no one seemed eager to enter his salon just yet.

"Minsan wala talagang client na pumapasok. Minsan kung kailan kami pasara saka pumapasok. Tinatagan ko yoong loob ko kasi pag nag-give up ako, sayang yoong sinimulan ko," Aparice added.

And that persistence led to 7 other branches metro-wide, hundreds of regular customers and a P50,000 per day net income. Aparice also has 5 cars to boast of.

But for Aparice, saving money and improving his business is top priority, holding off plans to build his dream house in order to open their latest branch in Makati --a 285 sq. meter salon and spa.

"Iniisip ko kasi maraming pang dadating, marami pang dapat paglaanan kaya iniisip ko lagi dapat nag-tatabi para pag may nangaingailangan sa pamilya ko o ako man, mga importanteng bibilhin, at least mayroon akong nadudukot," he explained.

This mentality, of not settling for what he had and striving to be different led to some of Heaven's unconventional offerings to their customers.

"Naisip ko kasi pag aasahan namin yung oras na 8 to 9 eh mayroon pa kaming mga client na dapat makuha. Yung mga office workers, students na wala nang panahong magpaganda kasi ang salon hanggang 9 o'clock lang. So doon ako nag-decide na kahit bago lang kami, magbukas kami hanggang 12, minsan hanggang ala una na nang madaling araw," Aparice said.

Heaven's salon also has a daily lunch and dinner buffet for his customers while they wait.

"Parang giving back the blessings na din, ginawa kong free na lang yung food," Aparice said.

Aparice still couldn't believe that all that hardwork, sweeping floors before the first customer came in till after the last one left, paid off.

"Ang sarap pala. Yung parang nararamdaman ko na, 'ito ba yung pinagpaguran ko?' Lumagay sa isip ko, kailangan magamit ko pa to para mas makatulong," Aparice added.

'Walking parlor'

As part of the show's segment where they arrange meetings between self-made millionaires and struggling everyday Filipinos, Davila met with Rosalie Besana, dubbed as the "walking parlor."

Instead of shouting "taho" or "puto," those that became a regular part of the orchestraic sound of Manila streets, Besana shouts: "gupit! gupit po kayo dyan!"

She knocks on neighbors doors, walks through wet markets and offers haircut services to anyone she sees. Besana knows that cutting hair is the only thing she can do to help her husband feed their family of 8. So every morning, after cooking breakfast for her kids, she goes out, hoping that someone would say yes.

"Nung nagasawa ako, wala talaga akong alam. Pero sabi nga nila, lahat tayo may talento at doon ko lang na-discover na mayroon pala akong talent," admitted Besana.

But being unconventional can lead to doubts and Besana, more often than not, gets dubious stares from people regarding her skills.

"Sa may project 6, hindi sila ano sa iyo dahil hindi ka nila kakilala. Sabi ko 'ate, gupit po kayo!' tapos sabi niya, 'hindi naman kita kilala, marunong ka ba talaga? Swerte na ang makalimang customer kada araw," Besana said.

So Davila took Besana to meet Aparice, in order to help further hone her skills, with the hope that it would erase some of the skepticism surrounding her.

"Pag nagnenegosyo ka talaga, dapat alam mo yung negosyong tinayo mo. Kailangan alam mo lahat, unang-una yung technique nang paggugupit," Aparice told Besana.

"Dapat mayroon ka ring fixed na price, hindi mataas pero hindi rin ganoon kababa," Aparice added.

Besana watched Aparice as she demonstrated techniques and styles on cutting hair. She also taught Besana how to properly apply dye on one's hair so that Besana can offer her customers more than just a haircut.

"Kailangan laging may bago, bagong matutunan bawat araw," said Aparice.

Aparice also gave Besana various salon equipment to further establish herself as a walking salon.