At the age of 18, most people are busy making plans for their future and worrying about college assignments. But not Rachel Carrasco. She was balancing college and working as a marketing assistant for an events company run by her friends.
Getting a taste of the world of employment early, Carrasco believed in the merit of actual experience and dropped out of college. She continued to work in brands and advertising agencies till she was 24. But she realized she wanted more from life – she wanted to do something different.
“I just wasn’t sure what that was at the time. And I wanted to see the world,” says Carrasco. So she moved from the Philippines to Singapore. She started working her way up from scratch and worked at the Royal Bank of Scotland, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), and Kimberly Clark until she founded her first company, Rache, in 2017.
Rache initially started off as a marketing consultancy for luxury and lifestyle brands, leveraging Carrasco’s extensive experience in the field. The startup handled customer relationship management and brand campaigns, but Carrasco wanted the company to sell experiences, not just products. To that end, she rebranded and pivoted the company.
Apart from offering experiences, Carrasco also aims to make Rache an advocacy platform for women’s empowerment and mental health. She specifically focuses her attention on encouraging women to support other women – largely because of one pivotal incident in her career.
While Carrasco was working at The Royal Bank of Scotland, she was recommended for promotion from an Executive Assistant to a Business Manager. But the recommendation did not sit well with her female colleagues.
“[The promotion] was turned down because the rest of the Executive Assistants that were all female, because they were there in the bank for far longer, they blocked it. And I really thought that was very nasty,” says Carrasco.
She recounted another similar experience with women at a different organization.
“I had a female boss and I was struggling with bits and pieces of this role. And instead of helping me, she throws me under the bus,” says Carrasco. “So I actually had a chat with her because I was like, ‘How could you have not just told me and how could you have not just spoken to me?'” The incident led her to resign from her position.
“It’s not so much female versus male. I actually think it’s female versus female,” says Carrasco. In fact, she says that most of the people who have criticized or scrutinized her way of thinking have been women.
“I’m not saying that all women are like this, but I just feel that in the workplace, women need to be able to help other women in general,” she says
Wearing many hats
Carrasco says she always wanted to own and run a business, ever since her childhood in the Philippines.
“Growing up in the Philippines, the culture itself, you know, it just pushes you to make something of yourself. And my grandparents, my mom, they all ran their own businesses. I think that was innate, growing up,” says Carrasco.
Besides, Carrasco was never one who liked being told what to do – something to be expected to some extent in every job.
“I just never really liked being told what to do in general. And I think that was as a daughter, as a friend, as an employee, or even in my other personal relationships – it made me feel confined and restricted,” says Carrasco. This led her to change jobs frequently, almost every three to four years, she adds.
While she was working in the corporate world, Carrasco often told her colleagues that she would start her own company one day, although she had no idea what it would be. And then one of these colleagues confronted her and gave her the push to start out on her own.
Although Carrasco deeply desired to be an entrepreneur, taking the first step did not come easy. She experienced the same fear that keeps most aspiring entrepreneurs stuck to their desks – the fear of leaving the security of a steady job.
“I was scared because I was like, ‘I’m in a job! I have to leave my job? And then I have to run my own company. So, like, how does that work?'” Carrasco says.
As an interim measure, Carrasco kept her her full-time job while launching her company, until she started getting more clients. To date, Rache has worked with notable clients including Diageo, LMVH, American Express, and TWG Tea.
Once Carrasco developed a taste for entrepreneurship, she picked up pace. She is currently working on launching a line of bacon snacks and confectionery called Baken in Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, Taiwan, and Australia. The brand is scheduled to launch in Q2 2021.
Besides Baken, Carrasco is also working to introduce a ready-to-drink canned cocktail brand, RIO, to the Philippines this month. The serial entrepreneur says she also has other food and beverage brand concepts in the works and plans to launch a group of companies by the end of next year.
“They always say that the beginning is always the hardest. So I think I’m constantly saying to myself, ‘Oh my God, is this gonna work?'” says Carrasco. “But you just stick it through. That’s why I do multiple things at the same time. Eventually all of them will work, or one of them will.”
Image courtesy of Rachel Carrasco