Davao-based accessory store breaks into hi-fashion markets

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Sunday, July 27, 2014


DAVAO CITY-based Yvette's Bags and Beads Collection has finally taken the opportunity to break into the ever discriminating taste in fashion of the European markets.

Yvette Marie Celi Punzalan said that having gotten the attention of institutional buyers from Germany and Norway is a feat that truly makes her extra motivated to produce more elegant, classy bags.

While her previous collections carry the usual straw bag shapes (tote, square, or bowling types), the new lines feature extraordinary, more intricate designs in unique shapes (e.g. trapezoid).

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"It's really overwhelming that they find interest in my products," she said.

Yvette said the "evolution" of her designs which she carries with her every time she joins the Manila Fame trade exhibit could be among the many reasons why she’s continuously gaining new markets. Yvette is a constant Manila Fame participant for six years now.

"Whenever I join the Manila Fame, I always make sure that I have with me new designs… new looks of my products. It’s really a good thing that you always have something new to offer to your buyers," she said.

In order to come up with new designs and concepts frequently, Yvette does a lot of research every day, and constantly does some sketches of the current fashion trend and fashion forecast.

With her present export markets, including Japan and Taiwan, the greatest challenge is how to maintain the business ties with them, whether in terms of quality and versatility of designs or capacity to constantly meet the demands.

"All I want now is to continuously improve our products. I can never go below our present standards and status. That’s why, it’s very important to do a lot of research," she said.

But prior to enjoying the gains of her hardwork, Yvette had to hurdle some challenges -- from consistently creating new designs to effective marketing.

"Crocheting has really been my hobby. I’ve been making a lot of things by crocheting," she said, recalling that she learned it from her Home Economics class before.

With just P500, Yvette was able to jumpstart her business in 2008 because she was already armed with million-worth of creativity and determination.

Everything started when Yvette saw plastic straws scattered across the living room. This gave her the idea of using straw instead of yarn in her crocheting projects. Using plastic straw, or soft twine, as material has many benefits: it is eco-friendly, recyclable, durable, and washable.

"My sister-in-law asked me to make a bag out of the plastic straws. So I tried and she liked it. It feels great to know that a person appreciates my work even if it’s just the first time I made it," she recalled.

Yvette was more surprised when her sister-in-law shelled out P2,000 for the bag, which she thought was quite expensive at that time.

With some help from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Yvette’s Bags and Beads Collection has been soaring high since then.

Yvette envisions to unleash her utmost potential by giving the ordinary-looking plastic straw a touch of elegance as she remains of help to more people.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 28, 2014.

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