Cats of Manila Founder, Cris. CoM is one of our most successful Shirtly stores.

Random things about Shirtly in a macro perspective and risking everything

Being introspective and seeing things without blur is a must-do for startup founders. Thanks to Medium, i am able to document and share it with a few others. Sharing anyway is not a bad idea in a tiny startup ecosystem like the Philippines’.

Shirtly is about to become an 8-month old baby. We’ve had a few wins, and we’ve had our fair share of failure. Some of them are common for 1st-time founders e.g. choosing the wrong people to work with. Everyone’s talking about it but failing first-hand is irreplaceable.

People ask me, “Why shirts? Why not get employed first? You are only 21 anyway.” What they don’t understand is that I am not here for the sake of being a startup founder. I don’t think being a startup founder is a glamorous job anyway. Eating cheap 25-peso meals is not glamorous. I am here because I saw a problem i am craving to solve even though it takes away everything. And that is not an easy thing to say — it gives me an uncomfortable feeling down my stomach. It’s the feeling of looking down from the 30th floor and you know you are about to jump.

Thinking in a macro perspective, here is what happened for the past months.

1st to 3rd month —1 person, tested the idea with users and mentors, wordpress website, bootstrapped with $3,000, ~10 stores

4th to 6th month — 2 persons, got on board a mis-aligned tech co-founder, made a PHP-based product that proved to be ineffective, bootstrapped, 60 stores but product damaged user experience

7th month to present — 5 persons, let go of tech co-founder and got on board a new product visionary who as ambitious as I am, created a new product using Ruby, bootstrapped with fresh $15,000 for a runway of several months, 60 stores, jumpstarting user acquisition and renting an affordable office space that is easily accessible to users

I love where we are now. The weird feeling down my stomach is all worth it. Good team, good product, a bit of a traction, a refined idea, and a fighting chance to enable hundreds or thousands of successful shirt businesses in the Philippines. Thinking back to our first prototype I used ‘til December 2014, I feel #blessed to have this kind of fighting chance. The dark days are hopefully over - to infinity… and beyond!