PROFILE: Fun Thoughts New Zealand Ltd. (FunTo), Corporate Member

Fun Thoughts New Zealand Ltd. (FunTo) is the first Filipino-owned business in New Zealand, pioneering originally-designed ‘Pilipinas-themed’ shirts using the newest technology of full sublimation printing in high-quality breathable fabric for business shirts and sportswear.

Initially a home-based business with a fully-functioning website (www.funto.co.nz), FunTo went through a phenomenal growth phase after only six months since inception and was already catering to the requirements of local schools, sports clubs, organizations, and some Auckland-based corporate accounts (including Telecom Business Hub-Auckland). During its anniversary, FunTo opened its very first shop in Panmure, and is currently expanding its markets throughout NZ and even overseas.

The owners, Brian and Gladys Sarmiento (NZPBC Corporate Members), openly shared how they braved the tides before finally deciding to pursue entrepreneurship. ‘When my husband Brian and I arrived here in NZ, we learned that this country is still growing and has lots of opportunities to offer, so we attended a business seminar. We were surprised and, at the same time, excited when the facilitator mentioned that 98% of NZ businesses is composed of small and medium-sized enterprises, and all we need is to get a share of the market.

Gladys added, ‘From a consumer’s point of view, When I am looking for a shirt to buy, I always want to have the best material and design. However, at the end of the day, price is the biggest deciding factor. I think people nowadays have already accepted the reality that one has to either pay a premium for quality products or get them cheap but with lowered expectations. Another option is to buy outside the country, but then face the risk of shipping issues/delays or poor product quality. With these in mind, we saw that the market wanted quality shirts at a very reasonable price, while carving a niche by personalizing the garments using new technologies that are limitedly available in the NZ market.’

For the Sarmientos, NZPBC had been and will always be instrumental to the success of budding entrepreneurs like themselves. Without the undying support from family, friends, and NZPBC, they wouldn’t have had the courage to take that first step of venturing into the business world. Thus, FunTo is forever grateful for NZPBC’s free business seminars for members, business mentoring schemes, and networking sessions, which thoroughly prepared and equipped them. Now, Gladys and Brian are more excited, more confident, and more optimistic about FunTo’s prospects and potential in the years to come.