It is a very personal thing to create things in your kitchen. You put love into the food you make and hope that it transfers on to the people that eat it! That’s how it’s always been for us at Mana Bites. In the beginning I worried about every little thing. I worried about whether people would bite into our snacks and think they were delicious or if they would look at the packaging and criticize how everything was wrapped up. We put a lot of care into every little detail and this also meant investing in the right tools to make sauces creamy, to make frosting smooth and to preserve our natural food without introducing any chemicals – as that is a part of our all-natural trademark.

If I wasn’t in the kitchen I would be on my laptop researching about how to make things better. Making lists and trying to solve the regular day-to-day business problems that arise. To relax from work, my fingers would sometimes wander off into (window) online shopping – particularly on my favorite site, Amazon. Of course immediately I began to look through kitchen materials. That was everything from parchment paper, re-usable wax sheets, silicone trays and the like. I started to notice that there was a steep difference between local and US-bought appliances.

A Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, for example, would be the foremost crucial item for a home baker. In malls in Manila it costs about P50,000 and up! The stores have some great deals, mark downs and payment plans for all of them too because it is such a big investment. I remember friends from the US coming home and gawking at how high the prices were. One click to check the price on Amazon and I was able to find one for $200 brand new and in limited edition colors too! That’s P50,000 VS. P10,000++ ($200). It’s an incredible difference.

Of course there were differences in terms of wattage but a P4000 transformer could easily do the trick! I thought then, shipping would be the problem. It would probably be crazy expensive to ship and pay for customs for this item. It was a pleasure I then came across a little website called www.myshoppingbox.com. They did air and sea freight and delivered straight to your door – WHICH is a significant thing because I’ve had nightmarish accounts of me picking up things at the post office. I did a little calculation and found that P4,000 for a transformer plus P2,000 for sea shipping via My Shopping Box still cost a LOT less than P50,000. I was able to enjoy a newer and larger model of the Kitchen Aid too! It was a beautiful pastel/sage green.

Since I was already getting it from Amazon my world opened up to all the other items I could purchase there that were not readily available here. I was also able to get in on some discounts as a Prime member. That little My Shopping Box hack made me feel like Amazon was just a couple of clicks away even if I was in Manila! The hack doesn’t just stop at kitchen tools though, there’s a whole list of things you could get in your bag! I could pack in everything from superfood ingredients (which come at hefty prices here), to a yoga mat! Don’t get me wrong too, it’s great to shop and support local products – I always have and always will – but isn’t it amazing that we can also take advantage of tools and inspiration from elsewhere in the world to improve all our local crafts and offerings? I’m pretty sure our Dark Knight Cookies have made significant progress with that little Kitchen Aid Mixer. Thank you for making the world a little smaller My Shopping Box! Your service is greatly appreciated.

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