Betis Craft Inc.: A commitment to quality, workmanship and artistry-A A +A
Sunday, July 31, 2011
IN AN age of machine-engineered crafts and furniture, it is good to know that there is still a company that values products made by hands through good old craftsmanship and artistry.
Betis Crafts Inc., (BCI) the renowned family-owned furniture manufacturer of Barangay San Miguel, Betis, Guagua, is a recognized leader in hand-carved and solid wood furniture and accessories like reproduction chairs, tables, mirrors, consoles, bedroom pieces and case goods.
Despite the advent of modern equipment in furniture production, BCI believes in the value of labor intensive hand-carved furniture. This serves two purposes: dedication to hand-carving ensures jobs for local woodcarvers that continue the legacy of wood-carving in the community, and provision of a stable niche for BCI products that are a class to themselves.
“Few companies still make real hand-carved furniture today. Most are machine-made but there are styles and designs that could only be made by hand and you would need expert artisans for that,” Myrna Bituin, wife of BCI president Jose Bituin, said.
BCI has a strong following in the local market, and also exports its products primarily to the US, Middle East, Australia, and Europe. BCI has even furthered its export transactions to Australia, Japan and Russia. Wood quality became a significant concern when BCI went into the export market in the late 70s.
The Department of Science and Technology through the Forest Products Research and Development Institute provided BCI with a package of assistance to put up its first kiln dryer to meet the moisture content requirement of the export market. FPRDI also assisted in the installation of several finishing spray booths, acquisition of centralized dust collection system, and carried out wood processing trainings for BCI workers.
The firm started as JB Woodcraft in 1978, and has spawned several spin-offs with Betis Craft, Inc. as its mother company with 600 employees.
In 1988, it received the Golden Shell Award for Export for its “exemplary performance in the promotion of non-traditional Philippine products as a shining example of what the Filipino can do to advance the future of the country.”
It is also the “Best Employer: Techno Center Locator Parangal ng Pangkabuhayan 2005” given by the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center, and one of the “Outstanding Entrepreneurs in 2007” by Go Negosyo (Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship).
It has even branched out to three other companies managed by the children: the More Than A Chair Inc., the JB Woodcraft and the Woodsource, which supplies raw materials for production. BCI products are also carried by popular international firms like “And So To Bed” in the United Kingdom and the Williams-Sonoma and Restoration Hardware in the United States.
Bituin said that while other countries have double their production of mass manufacture furniture, BCI merely intensified their production, made new researches and capitalized on the value, beauty and complexity of hand-carved furniture that can be taken down, shipped and reassembled to buyers abroad.
Soon enough, BCI products have graced the living rooms, private homes and castles of royalty in Asia and Europe, rich collectors and the new class of middle class and the nouveau riche.
Caring for Workers
BCI employs hundreds of workers, most of which have stayed with the family since the start. Bituin said that they have started a housing project for them, loans, scholarships and even rice assistance.
“BCI would not be here if not for them, these are just the least we could do to help them with their lives,” Bituin said, adding that some workers have even branched out to start their own businesses.
Bituin said they employ even wives of their carvers. While the men tended to the labor-intensive carving, the women would do the intricate parquetry and parquetry for chairs, tables and other furniture.
Each item made, according to Bituin, is not just a piece of furniture but a labor of the heart, a product of ingenuity and artistry of the artists and people who made and assembled each minute detail of the work.
This simple attention to detail and high regard for global quality makes BCI products not just mere furniture pieces, but each one a renowned work of art.
(Sources: Go Negosyo, Department of Trade and Industry)
For comments, suggestions, violent reactions, invites, indignant rebuttals and what-have-you email: email@example.com(09173435197).
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 01, 2011.