Turning craft into a business | Success stories from Manila

Via Pexels

Given the explosion of ecommerce, it’s only natural to think that a craft hobby might become a business.

In Manila, the arts and crafts scene has exploded.

There are tons more ecommerce sites and fairs than ever before, and serious crafters have begun to monetize them by building brands and blogs to reach an ever larger audience.

It seems like it isn’t easy, but there are a couple of great stories that I like to look at when I think about crafts business success in Manila.

1. Angel Anastasio

It’s interesting to see a business evolving, because while there are stories written after there’s been great success, it’s nice to see something that’s young and just starting.

Angel is a 26 year old entrepreneur who’s balancing several roles: MA Psychology, a day job, and her crafting business 400 Lux. She started by joining a crafts fair to sell accessories but picked up crocheting on the side. “Everything”, she says, “kind of snowballed from there.”

These days she makes anywhere from 8,000 on lean months to 19,000 on better months, but with the recent feature article on her in Cosmopolitan Philippines, that’s likely to increase.

2. Alchemista

Alchemista is a classic craft success story.

It is a jewelry line that started when the founder Georgina took silver smithing classes in Australia during her masters degree in 2003.

When she returned to the Philippines, she continued to work on it and make pieces for herself. Friends and coworkers started to notice, and she eventually put up the alchemista line to focus on her business full time.

She does wax carving and works with a team of metalsmiths to create her signature chunky bold pieces and continues to be active in the jewelry scene. She has been featured in several articles and has won the 2010 Philippine jewelers competition and placed highly in the 2013 GIA Thailand competition.

Hats off to her. Knowing what goes into creating jewelry and the difficulties of sourcing raw materials, it is such an accomplishment to see someone making it in this scene.

3. Common Room

Have you been here?

There are two shops now, one along Katipunan and another in Rockwell Makati that are filled with local crafter projects. There are cards and leather goods and small pieces of furniture. On some days, there are craft workshops in the space.

A venture by sisters Roma and Maan Agsalud, common room showcases items from the crafter community to introduce them to a wider audience. They had previous experience running a small craft kiosk in Alabang town center called PopJunkLove. They wanted a bigger location though and eventually found it in Katipunan.

The 10 years that Roma spent as the chief crafter of PopJunkLove prepared her for the challenge of launching the business. She understood the crafting community and instinctively filled a need that she saw.

It’s definitely inspiring. Who knows who might be the next big business success from a hobby?


What are your stories? Ever want to become an entrepreneur?