From a thesis project to a full-blown business that's bringing in 10 million pesos every year! Here's how creative merchandise store FILED did it.

Many businesses start from humble beginnings—from concepts, passions, or even dreams. For the creative merchandise store FILED, it all began as a thesis project. This passionate pursuit took place in 2007 by a group of students from Ateneo de Manila University. And now, this thesis project is bringing in PHP 5 million a year!

In order to get that much-coveted A grade, these students knew that they needed to create something different from the rest. Something students will want to use and buy from them. This led to the production of the company's first-ever product, which was the File Folder—the Philippines' version of the international Trapper Keeper.

A loose-leaf binder created by Mead, the Trapper Keeper is an international novelty item that was popular among students. It featured sliding rings, folders, and pockets to keep schoolwork and papers, as well as a wrap-around flap that's sealed with Velcro. The local version features the same elements and in different colors, which also became popular among college students.

And yes, it did get them their A.

Fast forward to over a decade later, the college project has turned into a thriving business of its own with more than 100 innovations to show for. "We are still pursuing that A, but this time, for you, whether be at school, at work, or at life," the company website reads. "Our drive is to turn your daily school and office grind into something more fun and organized—more meaningful."

Through this email interview with acting CEO Jessica "Mileng" Valencia, we learn more about how this school project evolved into a big business and what plans are in store for the brand.

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