Reposted from THE HAPPY TRIP.COM
Jessica Soho’s Feature of Bacolod Masskara and Jojo Vito Masks
I never thought of becoming an entrepreneur…. I used to work as an HR Executive, doing consultancy and training on the side and I was very happy. Putting up my own business is an idea I don’t entertain before, until an unthinkable closure of the company I used to work – closed.
The pride I had for myself stopped me from applying for a job lower than the position I had before. So with the little amount left from my separation fee, a former office mate and another friend ,we put up a printing press business. The business lasted for awhile, but we decided to separate ways as business partners after more than 5 years of operation. I continue serving the few printing clients we had in order to maintain few people left under my care.
I need to survive, but I don’t want to leave the province. I went into teaching and continue with my consultancy business. Until, I was invited to join the Association of Negros Producers Expo. A program of the Association of Negros Producers encouraging emerging producers display their products at the Negros Showroom for free. Since paper is the most familiar material to me I started with paper bags with Negros and Bacolod Prints on it and Paper Mache Masks.
While our products then were not as good as we have today, it was well received by the market. I was inspired!
Financially, it was very challenging for me to start a manufacturing business. Everything is purchased on a cash basis and I can’t afford to get many workers—I have to do some of the jobs. I was doing the designs, purchasing, marketing, packing, accessorizing and even painting of the masks at times. I don’t resent these activities because I love doing it first and foremost. There were times that I have to report to my class at La Consolacion College with paints in my fingers not totally removed. Students would stare at my hands and I would simple say: “These are the hands that work”…and I would just tell them the story. Those were entrepreneurship classes anyway…
The Bible tells us the “Everything works together for good for those who loved God” and nothing happens by accident. True enough, my handicraft business grew fast…our smiling masks really captured the heart of the buyers. In my first year of stay with the Association of Negros Producers , I became immediately the No. 7 top grosser of the year. The following year Number 4, then Number 2, then Number 1 and still being blessed as of this writings. From paper bag and paper mache masks, we evolve into the use of clay, wood, fiber glass and other materials for our masks. We also added more product lines which includes fashion accessories , home furnishings and accent furniture. Recently, we started to export our products to others countries, produce products for interior designers and events specialists and supplies some furnishings and specialty shops in the country. We also received a couple of awards for our designs excellence.We also, do the masks for the “Masskara Queen” each time ABS-CBN would produce the show.
Today our souvenir and fashion accessories products carrying our labels “VITO” and “TATAK BACOLOD” are made available at the ff outlets:
ANP NEGROS SHOWROOM
Lacson St, Bacolod City
Tel: (034) 434100
ANP Robinsons (opening will be on September 2011)
KULTURA, SM CITY
VITO PRINTS AND PIECE SHOP- TEL (034) 433-5965, Email : firstname.lastname@example.org