Meet the Makers of the Handmade Collective: Anne Marie Ortega of Mix & Match Handmade Accents and Raymund Java of PIRASO
What do you make?
Anne Marie: I make handmade accessories like necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, bag charms, etc.
Raymund: I make men’s accessories, well mostly, some women appreciate my accessories as well. It started out as a hobby, from way back in highschool; from me taking apart store bought accessories, and making ones from scratch for my own use.
How did you get into it?
Anne Marie: Creating was just there. Ever since I was young, my younger sister and I have been helping my mom in her hometown store gift-wrapping and making gift bags during Christmas, making paper leis for graduates, etc. Eventually, we would make simple earrings for her school girl customers. This was before all “made-in-China” things invaded our markets. In high school, I sold handmade earrings to my classmates, and in college, my friends and I made candles, potpourri, and sold handmade notebooks to our classmates. I was just in my system.
Are you a full time crafter? If not, what is your day job?
Anne Marie: No, I am what I call a week-end crafter. I’m a lawyer working in the public sector.
Raymund: No, I have a day job. I work with a National Government Agency.
What motivates you in pursuing this business?
Anne Marie: I’m not considering this a business yet. For me, it’s still a hobby, a stress reliever. I make something not primarily to sell and earn from it, but because I like making things. I like learning new techniques and incorporate them in my creations. Maybe in the future, when I have more time to devote to this venture, I may contemplate making this a serious enterprise.
Raymund: The opportunity to share my creations, and get nods of approval from those that appreciate them is very addictive.
What are some of the challenges of maintaining a craft business?
Anne Marie: One would be time management, considering I have a very demanding day job. A few months prior to Christmas season, there are a lot of bulk orders that needs to be delivered within specific deadlines. This is when making accessories becomes stressful because of the time pressure.
Another would be limitation in the supply of raw materials. While there are a few stores here in Cebu catering to jewelry making, their inventories are still limited especially in semi-precious stones. I have to source my materials from Metro Manila. Supply of tools and equipment are also limited. I have to send some of my tools from the United States.
Raymund: TIME or lack thereof
What’s a new skill- craft or business- that you’d like to learn?
Anne Marie: I have three new craft skills I want to learn next year – machine sewing, leather craft and simple woodwork/ carpentry.
Raymund: Welding, metal jewelry (brass, pewter etc.), book binding, and leathercrafts
What’s your recent craft business milestone?
Anne Marie: I think I have two memorable craft milestones: First would be when a friend of mine from Singapore bulk ordered stocks she sold in a fair in the lion city. Second would be when a Fil-Am distributor of shell jewelry components asked me to make pieces using his products that he showcased in trade shows in the US.
Raymund: Joining Bazaars!!!
What is your favorite lesson in your experience of your business?
Anne Marie: I learned that not everyone appreciates handmade. They can’t understand the value of something made by hand. Some people always compare our products to those that they usually found in “tiangges”. We as makers need to make our customers appreciate the work we put on each item.
Raymund: You have to put yourself out there for people to recognize your work.
What craft business advice can you share with other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Anne Marie: You should love what you’re doing, and if you do, work becomes fun and not work at all.
Raymund: You just have to take the first step, and never stop learning.
If you were a craft tool, what would you be and why?
Anne Marie: Nowadays, I would be my metal stamping kit because it’s my new acquisition. Still learning how to use it.
Raymund: A pair of scissors; i like staying sharp!
What can we expect to see from you guys at the upcoming Maker’s Market?
Anne Marie: I will be displaying my bestseller classic wired necklaces, and new designs for embroidered necklaces, earrings, and bag charms.
Raymund: Expect laidback, everyday accessories.
Where else can we find your work?
Anne Marie: As of now, my pieces are shown online through our facebook page and Instagram account. I am still working on a webpage. If time permits, I will be able to have enough stocks for consignment in the near future.