Burning Ambition Fuels Ely Edullan's Triumphs in Life
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Elias “Ely” Edullan waxed nostalgic inside his shop as he talked about his tough life as a teenager. Armed only with gumption, boldness, and a burning ambition, the young Ely traveled by his lonesome to Manila from his hometown in Iloilo in search of a better life.
The then 16-year-old Ely, who had just finished high school, braved the harsh, strange environment of the big city just to fulfill his dreams.
“Unang punta ko sa Manila, 16 lang ako. Galing ako sa Iloilo. Nagpunta ako rito para magtrabaho. Wala akong kilala rito. Wala akong pera. Dahil wala akong pera, naglalakad lang ako para humanap ng trabaho,” said Ely, now 51, dressed simply in a red T-shirt and faded jeans even if he could already afford to buy expensive clothes.
“Graduate lang ako ng high school. Una kong trabaho, (errand) boy sa isang pagawaan ng sapatos. Doon ako natutong mag-mekaniko ng mga sirang makina para sa paggawa ng sapatos at ng mga sasakyan,” Ely said in an interview inside his shop in Brgy. Concepcion Uno in Marikina City.
“Dahil magaling akong makisama at maayos akong magtrabaho, pinagkatiwalaan ako ng amo ko. Sa akin na iniiwan ang susi ng shop,” added Ely.
Little did he know that the acquired skill of fixing machines, his dedication to his work and good public relations would become his tickets to success.
From Saudi With Love
When he was 21 years old, married with a one-year-old son, he decided to work in Saudi Arabia as a heavy equipment operator. He worked there for three years. When he came back to Marikina, he decided to buy one machine for making shoes and started his own shop sewing shoes known as Ala Moda.
He also engaged in buying old machines used for shoemaking, fixing them, and then selling them. He started with just one or two machines and worked by himself since he could not afford to hire a helper. After fixing the machines, he would find a buyer and then deliver them personally.
After a few years, he met a Taiwanese businessman, who became a regular customer in his buy and sell business. The businessman gave him a half-a-million peso capital so that he could buy more old machines that he can fix and sell. Again, it was his hard work and good business practice that won the businessman over.
In the partnership, now on its 16th year, Ely started as an industrial partner, meaning he did not contribute money into the business venture.
“Wala akong nilabas na pera. Ako lang ang nagtratrabaho. Wala akong pinirmahan na kahit ano. Tiwala lang dahil alam naman ng Taiwanese na pagdating sa negosyo, mapagkakatiwalaan ako,” said Ely.
From working all by himself in his shop, Ely -- who owns Erilyn Enterprises (named after him and his wife Marilyn) and a host of other businesses -- now employs around 60 people (27 in the shop fixing machines and the rest as salesmen assigned in various cities and provinces in the country).
He has expanded his businesses. Aside from buying and selling machines for making shoes, he is also into the trucking (he has 20 trucks) and heavy equipment (backhoe, bulldozer) business, renting them out to whoever needs them.
Moreover, it’s no longer just second-hand machines that he sells. He now imports new machines and equipment from Taiwan and Japan.
He has also helped his two daughters, both business management graduates, to put up their own shoemaking and retailing business called Ely Knows Enterprises located in Brgy. Sto. Nino, also in Marikina.
Ely never forgets where he came from. He and his wife, a former security guard in the shoe factory where he used to work at and also from Iloilo, and their four children are all into sharing their blessings to the less fortunate people.
For the past 11 years, Ely has been holding a cycling race in Marikina during his birthday on July 20. He used his own money for the prizes awarded to the winners.
He donates money to the Church that would be used for a feeding program during Christmas. His wife, Marilyn, and their two daughters who own Ely Knows Shoes, regularly give away free school shoes to children in Marikina.
Ely believes that when you give something, you are rewarded a hundredfold.
This generosity is also practiced in his business, he said. Sometimes, he does business not for profit but to help others.
“Minsan may mga transaksyon akong lugi, pero sige lang. Dahil naipangako ko na. Babalik din naman iyong pera. Ang mahalaga, hindi ako masira sa aking mga customers,” he said.
His customers appreciate this. In fact, it is through word of mouth that his customer base has grown. He now has regular clients who buy machines, lease trucks and heavy equipment, from other parts of the Philippines and even abroad. A company based in the Bahamas regularly buys machines and equipment from him, he said.
As a parting shot as we wounded down the interview, Ely has an advice to other businessmen and entrepreneurs:
“Kailangan sa negosyo matapang ka. Masipag. Matiyaga. Mapagbigay. Lalo na sa mahihirap. Dahil kung ano ang ibinigay mo sa iyong kapwa, basta’t galing sa iyong puso, babalik iyon ng libong beses,” said Ely, the once young man who dreamed big and was rewarded a million times by the universe.
20 L. De Guzman St., Concepcion Uno, Marikina City
telephone number: (02) 998-1656
email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo credit: Alfred Javier of MASIDO)
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