When the world is crumbling down, it’s the entrepreneurs who pick themselves up and rebuild. Lynn Sheryl Reasol is one such entrepreneur. When the pandemic hit her hometown of Dinagat Islands, she was determined to keep her business going.

With a little creativity and resilience, she managed to use the internet to keep her business afloat. She even helped other women weavers on the island become entrepreneurs themselves! The story of Binuhat Arts & Crafts is one of triumphs in the face of adversity.

A Prelude to Prosperity

When she was a child, Lynn’s mother taught her how to weave. This made her familiar with the crafting trade’s ins and outs. Growing up, she saw that this generated income amongst families in her province, so she took the risk to continue it with a bigger vision for their products.

Since she already had the skill and she knew others who do also, she started a micro business in 2005. With a capital of PhP5,000, she recruited five weavers to work alongside her. Back then the business was unable to make a profit, leaving Lynn with no choice but to close down, but this didn’t discourage Lynn— she was determined to make it work.

In 2019, she decided to try again. This time, she invested PhP30,000 in what she calls a “gamble” to realize her bigger vision for Dinagat’s handwoven rattan products.

Now known as Binuhat Arts & Crafts, her business offers a wide range of handwoven rattan products, including fashionable handbags, laundry baskets, tote bags, indoor flower pots, and food trays.

Slowly but surely, business started picking up.

DTI’s Helpful Interventions

Entrepreneurship was a vague concept to Lynn until the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) establisheda provincial office in Dinagat Islands. Through DTI’s programs, assistance, and seminars, Lynn learned more about entrepreneurship which opened up more opportunities for her business of handwoven products.

Lynn attributes much of her success to DTI Caraga’s Physical Trade Shows which provided her with valuable marketing platforms to showcase her products. DTI helped not just Lynn but also other women weavers on the Island. With these trade shows, they were able to earn income, save money, and start their own businesses.

During this time, Lynn was at the top of the world. Her business was taking off, and she had formed strong relationships with the women weavers in Dinagat Islands. They trusted her to buy their handwoven products and sell them outside the province, and Lynn was more than happy to oblige. This arrangement guaranteed the income of the women weavers, and Lynn was proud to be playing a role in their success.

A Crisis That Caused One Hero to Rise When the pandemic hit, Lynn’s world came crashing down. The demand for their products dried up overnight, and she was left scrambling to keep the business afloat.

But she refused to give up, and she continued to work tirelessly to support the women weavers of Dinagat Islands. The weight of knowing that the business puts food on the table of the

families of weavers in Dinagat Islands fueled Lynn to continue to innovate and adapt to the trying times.

“When the pandemic started, that’s when online selling came into the picture, I studied how it can help my business,” Lynn shared.

She emphasized how the webinars initiated by DTI helped her learn more about the new online venture. She opened several business pages on Facebook and Instagram, where she promoted the products and interacted with customers. She also established a website where customers can buy directly.

Lynn’s hard work paid off, and she eventually got the business back on its feet. Now, they even ventured beyond bags and baskets and have started to produce hats, indoor flower pots, food and fruit trays, storage boxes, and laundry baskets.

Life after COVID-19 Pandemic

The pandemic has been a trying time for Lynn and her business, but it has also given her a new perspective on what’s important. She doubled her effort in promoting and marketing their products because the more she could sell, the more she could help the women weavers in her home province. To date, Lynn has helped 28 weavers and their families in Dinagat Islands.

“I thought to myself: if DTI helped someone like me whom they do not know personally, why wouldn’t I help my community who I have seen striving since the early 1990s through weaving?”

Owing to Lynn’s efforts, Binuhat Arts & Crafts has been recognized as Dinagat Island’s Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs) One Town One Product (OTOP), for providing growth and resilience to the industry by providing online market access and without the need for physical trade shows.

“The help DTI extended to me became the engine that made me realize how wonderful it is when we help other people,” expressed Lynn Sheryl Reasol.

So if you’re interested in purchasing any of Binuhat Arts & Crafts to own high-quality local products and help women weavers from Dinagat Islands, you know what to do, they have a strong online presence! ♦