How does one turn life’s challenges into business opportunities? Learn how Sam Olandres turn her personal struggles into a thriving business that empowers women of different shapes and sizes. Discover how her persistence and her passion has rebuilt her lost confidence.
Samantha Olandres was only 22 years old when she was diagnosed with hypertension. She knew that the odd shift timings and high level of stress in the BPO industry was causing her health to deteriorate. Earning above the minimum wage with no responsibilities, she thought it was reasonable to compensate the long hours and work demands.
To relieve stress, she lived on junk foods and energy drinks every night until one day, her sedentary lifestyle led to more serious health complications that made her seek a doctor’s advice.
Sam was advised to take a different work schedule and start a healthy regimen. She was terrified when the doctor informed her that she was too young to be diagnosed with high blood pressure. Unable to cope with stress and anxiety, Sam decided to resign from her full time job instead even without a backup plan.
The pressures of unemployment together with her weight related issues had led Sam to suffer from chronic depression. After paying all her medical bills, she was only left with P1500 on her bank account.
She knew she could make her life better but didn’t know where to start so she invested some time to think about her strengths and passion. She took up a few classes in one of the best fashion schools in Manila and looked for ways where she could bring her skills in Photoshop and interest in social media into something profitable.
Sam decided to set up an online boutique and looked for ways on how her boutique would stand out from the competition. As a plus size woman herself, she recalled the struggles she went through when shopping.
“Why can’t we make bigger clothes? Why are they making it hard for bigger women to buy clothes in this country…if this dress is trendy enough, why not make something for larger women? “, she said.
She remembered how her friends would give compliments to her sense of fashion and style. From her P1500, Sam bought 10 different styles of clothes in the night market that would fit her. She took creative shots of the clothes, posted them online and catered women with bigger frames. She first sold it to her friends and received positive reviews. Because of so many pending orders, she ordered more clothes and sold everything online. She met with different suppliers and participated in various bazaars in Manila to sell her clothes.
Eventually, Exztra Plus Size Clothing hit a major milestone when she was featured on TV and plus size bloggers and celebrities endorsed her boutique. In just 3 years, Exztra Plus Size Clothing page has earned over 60,000 likes on Facebook and 70,000 followers on Instagram and became known as the first plus size online shop in the country. Her online boutique has empowered plus size women to have a sense of individuality.
Sam’s success story is a proof that one can turn a negative experience to find passion and overcome life’s uncertainties. Indeed, her struggles served as a fuel to drive her to succeed on her journey to entrepreneurship and her love for fashion has continued to inspire women of different shapes and sizes.
Don’t forget to check Exztra Plus Size Clothing page at https://www.facebook.com/Exztraplus/ and let’s support body positivity!