Trademark sweetens success of homegrown chocolatier Risa Chocolates
Photo from Risa Chocolates' Facebook page
Risa Chocolates founder Pamela Lim Cinco knew that business isn’t sugar, spice and everything nice. A former marketing executive, she knew all too well the pitfalls of failing to protect a brand. So with her own business, Ms. Cinco made sure a trademark would only sweeten the success of her chocolate brand.
“I worked in marketing for 14 years. I really saw how dangerous it is when you don’t get a trademark, especially when you’re still starting. You have a lot of plans for your business and you want to grow it, but suddenly, you find that you can’t move forward because a bigger competitor is making a move to have the same name,” said Ms. Cinco.
In 2013, Ms. Cinco put her passion for chocolates into action, and applied for a trademark with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) within two years of starting it. This early move turned out to be providential for her business as another foreign company planned on marketing the same products, with the same name.
“As soon as we set up the business and we learned how to do the process, we decided to apply for the Risa brand- and it’s a good thing we did, because there was an incident later on when a foreign company wanted to name their chocolate Risa here in the Philippines. But we were already registered by that time,” Ms. Cinco said.
With her trademark secured, Ms. Cinco could concentrate on literally and figuratively spreading ‘happiness’ - her brand’s namesake.
‘Risa’ is Spanish for laughter, and according to the chocolatier, it is the experience they want to share with every customer who tries their products.
“We want people to experience a little bit of joy whenever they come in contact with our product. This is really our vision for the brand: to reach out further to customers and spread the Risa chocolate experience,” she added.
By the look of Risa Chocolates’ footprint, she’s already making people across the Philippines deliriously happy with her artisan chocolates, with an extensive retail network encompassing both institutional and direct sales.
The chocolatier sells both finished products (mouthwatering bars and barks, pralines, truffles) and stock / unprocessed ingredients for use by the downstream community of confectionaries, bakers, and restaurants for their own products.
Apart from her Risa Kitchen commissary in Las Pinas, the finished goods are available in five SM Kultura branches, and in a slew of other delis and third-wave coffee shops like Connie’s Kitchen, Bean & Yolk, Habitual coffee, and a lot more up-and-coming haunts.
Ms. Cinco added they also supply to a bar in Amanpulo and to Sunny Side Cafe in Boracay.
Innovating her business model, Ms. Cinco initiated several co-branding collaborations with her institutional partners, creating customized chocolate bars for their particular cuisine, most notably with beloved Breakfast at Antonio’s.
Risa Chocolates , in 2019, is just moving from strength to strength: a standalone store is expected to open in Rockwell Powerplant in the first quarter of the year and as the brand booms, Ms. Cinco is safeguarding its future with sustained trademark protection.
“Other businesses may not appreciate the kind of protection a trademark gives, but we do. I and my husband marked our calendars on our trademark’s renewal,” the entrepreneur affirmed.