October 13, 2019
My summers as a child was spent in basketball courts. While other children were probably swimming or playing outside, my brother and I spent many hours either watching basketball or playing basketball (this only interested me for about five seconds before I went back to reading).
It was during one of those many summers that I met Aisha Reyes. Aisha, from the moment I met her, was always confident and larger than life. This was no surprise since she came from a large family of basketball professionals (her uncle is multi-awarded coach, Chot Reyes and her brother is the former King Eagle, Jai Reyes) and yet she always held her own even as a young girl.
Aisha and I, along with her siblings and cousins, grew up together and spent countless summers in basketball camps eating pizza and talking about everything under the sun.
Not much has changed since then, we both still love pizza and we still talk about everything under the sun. But of course, we’re now in our 30s and have been fortunate enough to pursue things that make our heart sing.
A graduate of Assumption College Makati with a degree in Communication Major in Media Production, she initially wanted to pursue Fashion Design.
“I have always wanted to study Fashion Design but my mom asked me to get a Bachelor’s Degree first and take short courses after but that became impossible when I started working,” she recalled.
After college, Aisha soon found herself with job offers in the field of Marketing and Events.
“My last Marketing stint was with Mizuno handling sponsorships and endorsements of athletes and since I come from a sports-oriented family, this was extremely fun for me.”
And while she enjoyed her time in Mizuno, Aisha took a leap of faith and transferred to retail giant, SM.
“I took the leap and entered the corporate world of SM, which freaked me out at first. It was my dreams of being in the fashion industry that gave me the courage to pursue a position in SM. I thought it would be the best way to learn the ropes and the business side of retail. It was definitely SM that gave me my first real training in the world of business.”
It was also during this time that Aisha, along with her siblings, started dabbling into opening her own businesses.
“We opened a couple of businesses with my siblings like an online sneaker store with my brother Jai, an online RTW store with my sister Arie, and even opened up small food businesses with three of my siblings. We used this as a way to learn about the food industry and it was quite successful until the four of us got busy with other passions that we decided to close it.”
After two years with SM, Aisha then took a job for her uncle’s company from her mom’s side of the family but left after a year because she wanted to be wholly independent, “I left without a replacement job, no concrete plans and no business venture. Looking back, I was extremely anxious during that time, but little did I know that 2018 would change my life.”
Aisha, who firmly believes that everything happens for a reason was soon introduced to new opportunities, “A business partner of my uncle who I often spent time with during my stay at my uncle’s business eventually became a friend and one day, I just got a call from him saying that he wanted to put up a company and open businesses in the food industry.”
Soon enough, Aisha found herself in the midst of opening and managing franchises of Yellow Cab and Pancake House in San Pedro Laguna, “That is what I mainly do now, I run the company with some partners and shareholders and pursing other business ventures.” She also runs her brother’s nail salon and barbershop called Jose’s Nails and Barbers in Laguna.
When asked what it is like to be an entrepreneur, Aisha says, “It’s exciting, fun, and fulfilling. You get to change lives with your products or service and have the opportunity to give jobs to people who need it — this is something that I am extremely proud of. You get to explore different possibilities and use your creativity with no boundaries, you make your ideas come to life.”
However, she is quick to say that it is no way, challenge free, “It is also neve-wracking. It requires a lot of research and brainstorming. It requires you to sustain self-motivation day in and day out, it takes a lot of hard work to make it work. Every decision and action will determine the success or failure of your business. It will test your faith and trust in God.”
Despite that, Aisha is grateful for the opportunity, “I have been very blessed to have met my partners and shareholders. I am thankful for the trust and confidence they have given me. I never really thought I would run a whole company by 2018 but here I am every day. I learn a lot from them whether it be in business or in life. They are my mentors and I treat them as family.”
When asked what advice she would give to those who want to pursue the same path, she says, “I do not have much technical advice as I am still learning and trying to take challenges one day at a time but what I can say is it will all depend on your attitude. I am a firm believer of attitude over skills, which my mentor taught me. You can always find ways to hone your skills, but you can never teach a person to have the right attitude. It has to come from within.”
Today, Aisha continues to pursue other business ventures, one of which is still the food and beverage category including a venture with her siblings in the coffee industry and her dream of opening a clothing line with her sister Arie.
“The line would focus on creating quality and affordable bottoms for women. We all know how hard it is to look for the perfect pair of jeans! It has always been a dream for both me and my sister to create a fashion line together, whether it be RTW, custom made, or accessories. We finally made time to plan this out and execute. I believe this would take time and we don’t want to rush; this is more our passion project.”
And while Aisha may have paved her own way, she still dreams of pursuing a business in the basketball industry because as one would know — the things you grow up with will always stay close to your heart.
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