While preparing to do a take as co-host of now-defunct home TV channel O Shopping, Hiyasmin “Yas” Neri-Soyao went behind the camera and got curious.
Observing the behind-the-scenes staff opened a whole new world for her. In 2019, she emerged as co-founder and managing director of a full-production live-streaming shopping agency, Shoppertainment Live Inc.
“Other than saying my spiels and being in front (of the camera), I want to understand what’s behind it and see the industry behind it as well,” the 30-year-old entrepreneur said in an interview on Daily Tribune’s Pairfect.
Neri-Soyao and her business partner promoted livestream shopping in the Philippines after seeing big e-commerce platforms’ flourish in Asia.
“It started in 2015, and it became really big in China in 2016. It’s been one of the biggest e-commerce converters — when you have your KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) or your influencer talking about the product, selling it in real time with an add-to-cart feature. Basically it’s a Shoppertainment,” she said.
Into the pandemic
There’s no such thing as slowing down or stopping for this host-turned-CEO — not even the pandemic that struck not long after Shoppertainment was launched.
“It was more of ‘How do we make this work? I don’t want to stop.’ That was the drive. We started well. The people are also essential here in this production that we’re doing, I don’t want to let go of anyone here, so let’s make it work,” she said about navigating through Covid-19.
As most companies had done when the uncertain situation halted their operations, Neri-Soyao and her team had to adjust with their own devices and equipment even if her team was working in different parts of the country.
She added, “We were able to put something together and it actually worked and became an efficient and fast solution for our brands.”
Shoppertainment did 200 livestreams three months into the pandemic.
“There were a lot of learnings. Mahirap (It’s hard). We wore a lot of hats. I also did production work alongside the production team, plus the accounts. Definitely very challenging, but we had to make it work. We wanted to fight,” Neri-Soyao said.
No matter how difficult, Shoppertainment’s goal of selling online merchandise better through live streaming was a success as people took to online shopping.
Neri-Soyao is determined to make her mark in the field of media and the business behind it — willing to do the hard things, make mistakes and learn from it to make a difference.
“My belief is, if you’re able to create something, then you can always create something that will exist and always tweak it to be better, tweak it according to what you’ve learned according to your previous failures,” she said.