Meet the Makers: Melanie, Bernard, Carlo and James of Hunter Tradition
What do you make? How did you get into it?
We are making making custom watch straps using raw leather from Philippines. We generally work on rugged designs that is out of the common styles you will find in the market. Our straps are 100% handcrafted which makes each product personal and unique.
One of the founders, Carlo Villamin, was searching for a replacement strap for his watch. He went through many stores in different malls to find out there’s no one selling the strap he was looking for and discovered it is only available online. With a curious mind and a determined heart he and his co-founder Bernard Brecip tried to develop a strap from raw leather so they can wear it. Together with the team, they made several more design and posted it on facebook. People began to reach out and buy these unique watch straps.
Are you a full-time crafter? If not, what is your day job?
No. We don’t do this for living. Our products are made-to-order that’s why it gives us the luxury to focus on our day job which is graphic designing.
What motivates you in pursuing this business?
Happy customers. Happy and satisfied. These are the very reason we pursue this effort. It excites us whenever somewhere from the other side of the country message us and want to order a strap for their watch. Even more when they receive the item and send us a message that they like the product very much and was also desperate, like the founder, to get that kind of strap. Their relief and fulfillment for us is way more than the value they paid for the item.
What are some of the challenges of maintaining a craft business?
Just like any business, one of the biggest challenges is maintaining a good cash-flow. Since we generally sell online at this time, we were able to limit cost while still being able to introduce the product to the people.
What’s a new skill–craft or business–that you’d like to learn?
I’d like to explore more about leathers.
What’s your most recent craft business milestone?
To date, it’s Hunter Tradition. Even if it’s not yet on its peak, we are seeing potential from the business.
What is your favorite lesson in your experience of your business?
My favorite lesson would be customer handling. I think it’s the most important part of the business. How you manage customer from introducing your product to delivery to after sales assistance will determine whether your business will last or not. After all, no business stands without customers.
What craft business advice can you share with other aspiring entrepreneurs?
I think when entering a craft business, one should focus on preference. Preference in terms of how would you like your product to be perceived? Are you fully confident with what you are selling? I use the word FULLY because confidence alone doesn’t cut it in craft business. You always have to take it to the next level. You never stop learning and achieving that “preference” that will make you be proud of your product. Work hard to get it. Once you are able to achieve that certain stage you are aiming for, then it’s time to give it to the people. After doing that, rest assured of good returns.
Um, if you were a craft tool, what would you be? And why?
A thread. It is able to hold everything together in place to serve a greater purpose.
What can we expect to see from you guys at the upcoming Maker’s Market?
You can see us in action… literally! We work on customer’s strap on the spot during bazaars. So definitely you’ll see sweat and blood there (and some second degree burns).
Where else can we find your work?
We are working on distributing the products across manila. We now have item display at YOURTIME Greenbelt 1 and at KEY.STAR at Makati Supermart, Service Town Alabang Town Center, BF Homes Paranaque, and Pilar Plaza Las Pinas.