THE internet had been a big help and convenience to every single one of us. People of all ages use the internet not only to communicate and learn, but also to shop and sell, book flights, order food, and so many other things beyond our imagination a few years ago.

The same could be said for Arianne Jennifer Reyes, who had been managing an online shop for five years now.

Asher’s Accessory Shop (www.facebook.com/ashersaccessoryshop) is an online page at Facebook that sells accessories, clothes, bags, customized jackets, and shoes.

Only browsing through Facebook one day, Arianne realized she could actually make use of the site as a platform to earn money. She was only in her first year in college when she had this realization. Starting with a P800 capital, she sourced out for cheap suppliers of accessories online that offer discounts for wholesalers.

“Asher was actually a name I really prayed for. I prayed and told the Lord that I wanted to start my online shop and asked for a good name. He led me to the book of Genesis where it was mentioned that Asher means happy and blessed. Given that name, plus I was selling accessories that time, “Asher’s Accessory Shop” was created,” said Arianne.

Being a Management Accounting student that time, she learned to juggle her business with her studies. With the help of her long-time boyfriend, she would meet her customers in between classes. Being in a business that demands quick adaptation of what’s trendy and “in” to the customers, Arianne learned to be more innovative while she saw every opportunities popping along her way as she was learning the how-to’s of the business.

That was when she also tried venturing on to different items to sell in her online shop. From just accessories, she started selling shirts, bags, customized jackets, and shoes to keep up with the quick trends and demands of her young customers.

“The thing was, when I started earning my money, I did not spend my revenue until I got enough to venture to more expensive products and get bigger sales. Indeed Asher was blessed. At the age of 17, I no longer ask money from my parents to buy what I want. I buy my own clothes and shoes. I even finance my own travels,” Arianne shared.

But even now that the Facebook page has more than 8,000 likes already, it had not been a smooth ride for Arianne’s business.

For her, some of the main challenges of managing an online business is to find a consistently cheap supplier that would also help her keep up with the competence in the online market since a lot of online shops had started to emerge as well. She also said it is very risky to trust suppliers that might be scammers since a lot had also been reported online. “I had to be sure by making a background check on their shops. I had to act like I’m not a teenager that time since my suppliers were already adults.”

When her boyfriend started in the academy, for a time she was alone managing the business. “I was the owner, manager, and photographer. I do meet ups. I take the photos, edit, and upload them. I pay the supplier by depositing the money to the bank. On top of that, I was still able to manage my studies and business that time.”

The things she learned in her Management Accounting course, she was very glad to apply in her online business.

Being in an online business helped Arianne to widen her network and market. Through the internet, she got to reach people around the Philippines and the world. She said she even shipped a parcel for a customer at Hawaii.

However, she takes extra precautionary measures during transactions with customers because most of them are strangers to her. Some would reserve the products but wouldn’t even push through buying it.

Arianne feels blessed that in spite of the competition that had started to appear with the spread of the internet, Asher’s Accessory Shop continues to flourish even now on its 5th year. She knows that only a few online shops make it as old as five years in the online market industry.

“I was able to maintain it for five years by going with the trend. I had to know what’s in and what’s not. People would buy what you sell as long as you are trendy.”