Changemakers Camden 3 Show How Creativity and Business Make for a Winning Combination

The 3 Filipina Entrepreneurs from Cebu on starting and running successful business ventures, and the stories in between

Camden 3 Changemakers Loansolutions

Changemaker (n) – one who breaks the mold and challenges the status quo for the better. Meet 3 young women entrepreneurs from Cebu who are breaking down barriers by successfully pursuing their passion.

I think that if you get hung up on “Am I successful or not?”, then it becomes about the world’s perception, and not about doing a good job. We’re very conscious about maintaining a quality kind of work and client service, which we think helped us keep our business going.

It is challenging to succeed in any field. The pressure might be especially high if it is a field that you are absolutely passionate about. The fear of failure is enough to momentarily paralyze the best of us and keep us from just having a go at our dreams. Little do we realize that a lot of that pressure comes from nobody but ourselves.

What if, for just a moment, we suspended our disbelief in our own capabilities and possibilities? What if we stopped pitting ourselves against others’ successes? What if we stopped fearing failure?

Hannah Lim and the rest of the entrepreneurial trio behind the rising marketing firm Camden 3 did just that. They took a leap of faith together and started their business in lieu of stable careers. Now, not only are they creating marketing campaigns for large clients such as real estate developer RFK Holdings Inc. and its project Bloq Residences, they have also diversified to the food business with their restaurant Camden Cafe along with other partners.

Learn more about their adventure-filled success story with this exclusive interview:

What inspired you to start Camden 3? What were some of the challenges you met in starting out?

Due to lack of funds and resources, we had to borrow a friend’s MacBook Pro to deliver our first project. So we had to find new SOPs. Juggling our calendars to find time for client meetings and team meetings was challenging. We were basically holding two to three jobs for a time.

We worked for an advertising company before – as creative director and as general manager, and we were able to see how it’s actually possible to run a business even while you’re young, and do it well. You can be successful at it, as long as you’re realistic and don’t get greedy.

We still pursued different things in our careers, because we weren’t sure we were going to make it. It’s very different when it’s your own business, compared to running someone else’s business for them. But the good thing is, we were also operating in a niche – there weren’t a lot of big, established advertising businesses in the Cebu scene, so there was space for us to gamble and try it.

At the same time, it was very challenging to convince business owners, and ask them to trust two girls in their ’20s, with millions of pesos of their money to create something that they can’t measure. When we started, we also only had the two of us – we didn’t have a whole team working under us like we were used to. Due to lack of funds and resources, we had to borrow a friend’s MacBook Pro to deliver our first project. So we had to find new SOPs. Juggling our calendars to find time for client meetings and team meetings was challenging. We were basically holding two to three jobs for a time.

We’re living our passion. The way we do things reflects what inspires us and what drives us. Competition in the market is given, we refrain from comparison. The only competition that matters to us is if we’re outperforming ourselves, if we’re doing better today than we did yesterday.

Did putting up the business require a lot of capital? How long did it take to grow the company into the successful firm it is today?

It required some capital, but not a lot. Our existing laptops (which we finally got a hand of after a few weeks. One of which was a 7-Eleven Store Raffle promo prize – we got pretty lucky) and office space – which was basically an extra room in my partner’s house. It’s different across industries of course. In our field, our primary resource is our creativity, our ideas and how well we can understand our clients’ needs, so we focused on research and experience, rather than looking for capital.

As for growing it into a successful firm, we don’t think of ourselves in terms of success or failure – we just keep going. Investing time, patience and passion for what we do. As long as our clients trust us (for which we are really very grateful), we help them grow, and deliver honest work, we’re good. I think that if you get hung up on “Am I successful or not?”, then it becomes about the world’s perception, and not about doing a good job. We’re very conscious about maintaining a quality kind of work and client service, which we think helped us keep our business going. There’s always the temptation to accept and look for projects just for the sake of money (because who doesn’t want to earn more?), but we’ve been pretty good at stopping each other from doing that as to not to compromise our work.

camden cafe loansolutions interview

What made you decide to diversify and branch out into the food business through Camden Cafe? How do you keep it competitive amidst tight competition in the Cebu food scene?

By chance, we both traveled to the United States for vacation. We went to several states and met up in San Francisco. We absolutely love San Francisco! That trip was really pivotal – the massive amount of creativity, everywhere, was outstanding. To their design aesthetics, the people, the creative (both music and art) scene, their croissants, the food presentation, the bars, the nooks and crannies in bed and breakfast places. Our San Francisco trip was a big part of our inspiration for the new business.

Jacque has been wanting to do another business and Hannah wanted to do something new. It was at the back of our minds, simmering. Hannah saw the scarcity of venues for design and music in Cebu. Then we started talking about taking the leap and so we decided to create one for ourselves. We’re pretty proud of the new place – it’s a new home for us. A physical evidence of all our hard work. Every detail in every corner was something we thought of – curated music, slightly polished laid back designs and comfort food. We wanted to share this space with everyone, hoping they would like it as much as we do.

We’re living our passion. The way we do things reflects what inspires us and what drives us. Competition in the market is given, we refrain from comparison. The only competition that matters to us is if we’re outperforming ourselves, if we’re doing better today than we did yesterday.

What advice can you give to women who aspire to be entrepreneurs in the still male-dominated world of business?

Know what you do well. For the areas that you don’t do well, find someone who will complement you, and that you work well with. No one can be good at everything. We’re very fortunate that we have synergy in the way we work. (Hannah does the creative and concept aspect, Jacque takes care of the business and financial aspect, and Blenn develops the food and runs the cafe.) Don’t be blind to the challenges, but don’t shy away from them either.

Any tips you can give those who want to quit their day jobs and fulfill their dreams by starting a business.

Don’t quit your day job right away, if you have a family to support! We wouldn’t advice that. Pursue it, take some risks, but be responsible. And keep yourself grounded with your values all the time. The day will come when you’ll know when you can quit your day job.


Want to jump start your morning by having a great cup of coffee and breakfast to boot? Grab great eats at Camden Cafe at Unit 3 Apartments Rosal, Rosal St, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines.


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Written by Kash Avena

Kash has been with Loansolutions.ph in marketing and business development roles since 2014. Now based overseas, she is happy purveyor of financial literacy for OFWs and their families.

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