What do you make?
I make journals and handbound leather journals.
How did you get into it?
In 2003, I got interested on what a ‘moleskine’ journal is. Sadly, there isn’t any available here at that time. I began researching on different kinds of journals online and stumbled into a whole world of bookbinding. Since it’s difficult (and expensive) to buy whatever it was that i liked, I thought of making them myself.
Are you a full-time crafter?
I’d say I’m 50% crafter. I also have graphic design, branding and a few print-on-demand jobs here and there. (50% digital crafting i should say)
If you’re a full-time crafter, what made you take the leap and pursue your craft?
I never really ‘leaped’ into the whole craft business. It started with just one project and a few referrals, and somehow, the orders kept coming in…
What motivates you in pursuing this business?
Whenever I get to collaborate with a client for their ‘ideal’ journal, it makes my happy that I have the chance of making something someone will want to treasure… and of course, it goes without saying that my beautiful family motivates me everyday.
What are some of the challenges of maintaining a craft business?
Regular flow of sales I guess. My journals isn’t something people can just decide in a snap to buy.It’s a want, not a need. That’s why I’m constantly doing product development and try to test it out in the market from time to time.
What’s a new skill–craft or business–that you’d like to learn?
I want to learn how to make handmade soap & learn typography.
What’s your most recent craft business milestone?
The bulk orders that I get keep on getting bigger every year. Recently someone ordered 600 journals for a wedding.
What is your favorite lesson in your experience of your business?
Be foolishly persistent.
What craft business advice can you share with other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Dream big, believe and have faith. Set goals and never give up your dreams. You never know where you may find yourself.
What can we expect to see from you guys at the upcoming Maker’s Market?
I’ll be selling handbound leather journals, and I would be introducing my refillable leather journal, which i fondly call, CARRA notebook case (after the first letter of our names –Charo Ayrton Ritchie Ricardo & Alessandro) Its basically a notebook case, which your can fill with your favourite notebook… I also made my own refills. You can choose your own refills depending on your need and lifestyle.
Where else can we find your work?
Most of my work are made to order. So people just find my work online (facebook, flickr , etsy and instagram ) Recently I’ve been invited to consign my items to The Assembly a Cebu lifestyle store, located at JY Square Mall.
Chai and a number of other handmade and local crafters and makers will be sharing the handmade love at our upcoming Mini Maker’s Market at Anthill Fabric Gallery in Cebu City from October 25-26. Apart from concessionaires, we’ll be having workshops! Chai will be giving a workshop on Creating Handmade Books on the 25th. For details and registration, hop on over to Craft MNL.