IF IT wasn't for her dad, Lyrrah Poblete Tan would not have found herself fulfilled crafting and selling handcrafted accessories.
There is no time on a regular day that professional architect Lyrrah Poblete Tan is not seen tinkering and assembling beads, wires and threads to make accessories such as necklaces, bracelets, earrings, anklets, as well as nifty dreamcatchers and macrame for her about seven-year-old online business, Dabaw Bahandi.
Before it grew into a go-to accessory and gift shop, she developed her love for jewelry-making at a young age because of her father.
“Since I was just eight or nine years old, my papa taught me how to make a purse or pouch out of seed beads because he and my aunt were making those as a giveaway for weddings. It was at that moment I realized this was going to be my pastime or my hobby. My papa was basically the one who introduced me to the ‘beading’ world,” she said.
She started her online business in 2013. She was in high school then hoping to augment her allowance.
“The first product I sold was a blue dreamcatcher, lipay kaayo ko ato kay nagpa customize siya. Ana ko sa akong sarili, ‘Yay! Naa diay maganahan sa akong mga binuhat!’ Swerte na ang makahalin ko og P500 kada bulan (I was really happy that she liked what I made. I am lucky enough to earn P500 per month)”, she said.
However, she was not able to focus on it because she was busy with school. She also went hiatus crafting and sold pre-loved clothes to earn more. Only after she graduated from college that she returned to crafting.
“Kadto lang nahimo na kong Architect na mas naka-focus ko gamay sa akong online business (I was able to focus on doing it when I became an architect) because I have all the time I need. I tried improving my works by watching video tutorials, buying jewelry-making books, and gina studyhan jud nako ang isa ka picture makit-an nako kung gina unsa pag buhat. And then mag-improvise ko from all the ideas and imagination nako (I also get ideas around me and let my imagination work),” she shared.
“My designs are mostly bohemian-inspired. I love tassels, ribbons and wooden beads. I find inspiration from everything around me and from everything na makita nako sa internet then dira nako magsugod makahuna-huna (I get ideas on the internet and make) something new to introduce to my buyers,” she added.
She usually makes five to 10 pairs of earrings depending on the designs.
“Mas lisod ang dreamcatchers earrings buhaton kay mas detailed sya compared sa uban. Sa dreamcatchers, mga isa or duha in a day, depende sad sa design ug kadak-on. Sa macrame bracelets, usa or duha sad (dreamcatcher earrings take time to make because it is more intricate than the others. I can only make one or two of it and also with macrame bracelets),” she said.
But the most tedious to make in her collection--the regular dreamcatchers and dreamcatcher earrings, rattan earrings, and macrame bracelets--were also her bestsellers, especially in bazaars.
Tan admitted craft products like hers have its fair share of challenges, especially that she sells it online. Sales are not always upbeat as it seems and there are a lot of accessories being sold online.
Her way to retain her loyal and newly acquired customers is to make them feel special and on-trend.
“My buyers are mostly the ones who love unique handmade items regardless of the price. Kay akong mga handmade items, especially the earrings, dili kaayo ko ga produce ug daghang stocks for each design para wala kaayo silay kaparehas (I do not make many pieces of similar designs),” Tan said.
“Kon mahal unya dili uso or unique akong ipakita sa buyers, hinay or wala jud koy mahalin. So kinahanglan gyud ko maging updated kung unsay uso ani nga time para dili ko ma behind (I always keep myself updated with what is trendy so customers will still buy regardless of the price),” she added.
She also kept her designs more stylish and bespoke from the ones displayed on retail stores at the same time raising its quality every time.
Tan admitted that Dabaw Bahandi is not earning as much but her love for what she does, the compliments she receives from her customers and the support from her family and friends were her inspirations in persisting in the business. She also wanted it to be the motivation of other entrepreneurs especially those who venture in arts, crafts, and other innovative products.
“There are many people who believe in you, draw inspiration from them. I think that's enough for you not to give up on your dreams. Ayaw kahadlok mag take risks kay wala may mawala kung mag try ka (Don’t be afraid to take risk. You will lose nothing if you try),” Tan said.
She added, “Our imagination has no limits maong ayaw kahadlok itry kung unsa man imong nahuna-hunaan. Bahala nag hinay ang halin, sige lang. It doesn't matter gyud as long as ma happy mo sa inyong ginbuhat. Ayaw ug give up kay kabalo ko someday, maabot ra ang time nga mahimo tang successful sa atong gipili na path. (Just continue doing it even if you don’t earn much now as long as you are happy with what you are doing. Don’t give up because time will come that you will become successful.) Keep on working hard and keep on exploring new things.”
Dabaw Bahandi accessories are being displayed in Luna Lifestyle Cafe on Porras Street, Obrero in addition to her Facebook and Instagram accounts but Tan targets to put up her physical store in the future.