Love came first with Rhea Topacio and Dennis Rogacion. Their story started with a simple chat online. There was an obvious and instant connection between them that soon honed in on the fact that they both wanted to be together. In 2010, Rhea joined Dennis in the Netherlands.
Rhea had a strong marketing and retail logistics operations background in the Philippines. She tried applying to various companies in the Netherlands but failed. Either she was overqualified or Dutch proficiency was needed which she lacked. She felt rejected but never lost hope that she would eventually turn things in her favor. She always wanted to run her own business ever since she was young. Dennis on the other hand worked in procurement and sales for twenty-five years and has lived in the Netherlands most of his life.
They took a leap into small business venture in 2011. Dennis who has a penchant for inventing and creating food in the kitchen used his skills in developing his own chocolate recipe. They did not stop there and instead combined their individual skills, energy, and motivation into one direction and started working together in creating different products from cupcakes, spare ribs, to ice cream, food flavourings, and the first Filipino craft beer in Europe. Both had high goals and aspirations for the business and the vow to continue developing more products in the future.
“I want to make productive use of my time because back in the Philippines I used to work a lot. I cannot be idle for a long time”, said Rhea.
Rhea and Dennis can sit at home and discuss important work decisions and at the same time they can take a walk and dream up business ideas. Dennis is a truly passionate individual and inspires Rhea every day. Rhea also makes sure to constantly carve out time for their small family. The couple enjoys creating stuff together. Fun is an ingredient they mix in all their endeavors. Being the innovative people they are, the couple has acquired specific skills and knowledge. They have the curiosity and passion to continue exploring and learning and knowing how to see solutions by hybridizing very different fields.
”I immediately think of ideas. But ideas alone are not enough. I disagree that something is impossible because it has never been done before. If it works, it works, and if it does not then no. But the risk and implementation should be calculated. There is more that we can do”, said Rhea.
Talent and genius are not the same things. Genius is the ability to create from nothing; talent is a predisposition to transform the existing. But Rhea and Dennis take pride in what they do and their ability to create. As brave entrepreneurs, they observe what surrounds them and in the possibility of improving their products. Genius is intimate while talent is extroverted. Some of their best ideas have come while brainstorming over what their ultimate goals are and what they have to do to accomplish them.
“Believe in what you do with all your heart and soul. Look inside and understand if this is the passion that would push you to reach your goals. If motivation and desire to make those spark passion, interest is triggered that gives off enthusiasm, then it is the right way”, said Dennis
Having talent today means having the courage to have ideas and communicate them, having the courage to dream, to try to emerge, to take risks, and to know how to involve other people. It means having the courage to look beyond, with perspective to explore new paths.
“We do not stop playing, we do not stop learning and we want to create memories that people will remember us by”, said Rhea.
Rhea and Dennis regularly check in with each other and exchange ideas. Fun is how they gauge if things are working. They never let the stress carry over the business. It is a never-ending adventure for both of them. The couple’s relationship be it personal or business is on a firm ground. They are intertwined.