A smiling portrait of Ms. Maria Valera

Avic Valera, a broadcast journalist working for the government, was always fond of fashion accessories. In 2015, an opportunity arose when she attended a skills training program sponsored by the Sorsogon local government unit (LGU) on pili shell crafts. Naturally, this led her to create unique accessories using the nut’s shell, as well as coconut shells. It’s a journey that shows the importance of creativity—proving that there is success behind the things we love.

Her handmade creations were used as tokens for visitors by the local government unit. This opportunity steered her way to develop and invest in this business. After finishing her government contract with the LGU in 2017, Avic went full-time in business with about P18,000 as her initial capital.

She started procuring equipment and expanding her products from necklaces to bracelets, anklets, and earrings. She sourced her pili shells in Bicol while wood beads were procured in Manila. At the start, Avic used simple tools such as steel saw, vice grip, and sandpaper.

After registering her business with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in May 2017, she was able to bring Avicrafts & Styles up a notch. She attended DTI’s training on product enhancement, design, and development, as well as managerial and entrepreneurial training of the Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) Program in 2018.

DTI was instrumental in helping Avic keep her business moving forward as her enterprise also became a beneficiary of the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) program.

The product design assistance she obtained from DTI allowed her to improve her collections and expand its market access. Avic’s creations are now found at the DTI One Town One Product Hub, Go Lokal stores, and also online, through Facebook. Her creation has even reached the shores of the United States.

Ms. Valera poses with some of her products on display

Just as she received help through various DTI programs, she chose to pay it forward by helping others through her craft. In light of the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Avic strives to create a ‘better normal’ for women and out-of-school youth by training them on fashion accessory making.

With nine (9) workers, she allows her employees to work at home while Avic does the critical phase of finishing touches in her house.

A group of women working on handmade crafts

Avic believes that the key to business success is having the best workers and reliable suppliers. Despite the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Avic knows that she is still on the right track in an industry that allows passion and creativity to be pursued. She loves her creations and wears it proudly. Seeing many people show interest in her products inspires Avic to be more ingenious towards her craft.

Being a single mom did not stop Avic from realizing her dreams and aspirations for herself and her family, defying certain societal expectations against women. Her advice for Pinay entrepreneurs is to “Never stop believing that someday, somehow, every goal we have right now will be achieved…We just need to keep moving forward and empower ourselves to be the entrepreneurs we want to be.” ♦

Date of Release: 30 September 2020