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Videographer puts up milk tea business amid pandemic

A 34-year-old videographer who lost his source of income at the start of the enhanced community quarantine in March this year decided to dabble in the milk tea business with a naughty branding strategy.

With the help of his wife Tine, Peterson Polillo’s determination to provide for his family during the health crisis quickly paid off, as he now has six kiosks of Zu Boh Ti Tea and plans to open more.

Polillo, an indie film director, cameraman and events videographer, was running his own videography production outfit before the pandemic hit the country. Prior to establishing his business, the 34 year-old resident of Antipolo worked as a video editor in ABS-CBN show "Pinoy Big Brother", head cameraman of travel-magazine show "Kool Trip" and PTV 4's maritime show "Tinig ng Marino sa PTV."

Zu Boh Ti Tea founders Peterson and Tine Polillo
Zu Boh Ti Tea founders Peterson and Tine Polillo
His video production outfit generated content for independent films and arranged prenuptial shoots for weddings.  The business was doing well until the dreaded Covid-19 invaded the Philippines, forcing the government to impose border restrictions and community lockdown.

The Luzon ECQ on March 16 restricted the movement of the population except for essential services.  One of the establishments affected was Polillo’s.

"During that time, I was terrified and I didn’t know what to do as my bread and butter was to shoot and cover gatherings such as events, weddings, video shoots, among others. Our industry was severely affected during the ECQ. Everything went abnormal. And I have a one-year-old son and family to support, not to mention I also have to protect my well-being. My wife's job was also halted," he says.

Instead of giving in to stress and anxiety, Polillo made the pandemic a challenge that rekindled the entrepreneurial talent in him.  He conceptualized and rolled out Zu Boh Ti Tea, a milk tea enterprise, in Cainta, Rizal.

"During my college days, I was already ‘madiskarte’. I was into buying and selling of things needed and used for our engineering projects at Far Eastern University. I had to earn extra money during that time because I did not come from a well-off family," Polillo says.

He says, "conceptualizing my milk tea business was blended with lots of determination and dedication" especially as the country was busy battling and containing the coronavirus.

The couple dedicated days to produce delectable concoctions to secure a spot in the milk tea business and win satisfied customers.  They started with P20,000 as startup capital.

On why he chose the Zu Boh Ti Tea brand, Polillo says it was intentional to get attention. "To be able to catch the attention of prospective buyers, the brand itself should be appealing and kinda naughty. Then we came up with the Zu Boh Ti Tea brand. With the help of my wife Tine, we concocted exceptional milk tea flavors that you can't find from other operational milk tea businesses. But we still serve traditional flavors that are known to customers such as winter melon, Okinawa ang classic milk tea, among others," he says.

With the use of social media, Zu Boh Ti Tea began quenching the thirst of milk tea lovers in Cainta before the couple opened more stores in other areas.  They also opened Zu Boh Ti Tea for franchising.

"To those business enthusiasts who want to indulge with milk tea business, Zu Boh Ti Tea, please call us @0917-8062710 or message us in our Facebook account @facebook.com/zubohtitea," Polillo says.

Asked of his gears to success, Polillo says, "my undying faith in the Lord and my love to my son Matteo have pushed me to do the extra-mile, emphasizing that the outlook during this pandemic should not be always negative, but a motivating factor to thrive and make a living”.

"Just like me, I took the challenge head-on. Don't let the situation bore and dampen your spirit. I was driven and motivated because I am the head of the family and I should provide for them. And I always aim for the best for my wife and child,” he says.

“We should not depend on the government for everything. I hold on to my faith in our Lord. 

He is always here to guide us every step of the way," Polillo says.

In just two months, Zuh Boh Ti Tea has established six stores in Pasay, Malabon, Batasan Hills, San Jose Del Monte (Bulacan), Cavite Lancaster and Cainta.

The couple will open more kiosks and stalls in the coming months as the business continues to thrive amid the pandemic.

“We all have our own battle to fight, but it’s in our hands how to win it,” says Polillo who believes in the saying that, "if one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up, and begin again.”

Topics: milk tea business , Peterson Polillo , Zu Boh Ti Tea , enhanced community quarantine
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