As first generation Filipino Americans it’s important to us to do what we can to help the beautiful but still third world country of the Philippines. Growing up our parents, like many other Filipino American families, continued to send money, goodies and whatever they could back to friends and family in the Philippines, doing their small part in helping change the economic status there.
When we started Cayetano Legacy Collection we knew we wanted to somehow use this business to help impact way of life there in the Philippines, either by bringing awareness to the beauty coming from the country and hopefully increasing tourism there, or by somehow directly creating both job and financial opportunities for the Filipino citizens. We wanted to give ‘hand ups, not hand outs’, so instead of just donating a portion of the proceeds of sales, we decided to work heavily with small, women owned Filipino businesses to create our artisan products.
Though traditional statement jewelry found in the US are manufactured in large plants, our products continue to be made by beautiful, inspirational, hard working women. We look forward to introducing you to these women who work so closely with us, while also building their own businesses. In the first of this series, meet Sohaima.
The Cayetano Sisters
I started [running my own business] when I was 18 years old, while working at a McDonalds here in the Philippines. On the side I’d resell watches, shoes, etc [a typical path of business that many Filipinos choose]. At the young age of 20, I got married and I started a small business as a handmade designer.
I am very happy in my work. It’s my life. I love to be innovative and to constantly work on new designs, [especially] the [artistic] hand wirings. I love it.
I believe that what's important [in running a business] is that you're happy with what you're doing. We Filipina women are very diligent workers!
Like many other working women I need to budget my time wisely for business and family. I have 2 beautiful kids - a boy (8 years old) and a girl (5 years old). My family is very important to me. I HAVE time to save time for my 2 babies and my hubby. On Friday, I [make sure to] stay in the house with my hubby even if I have to work from home, and on Saturday and Sunday I spend my time with my kids. We bond together. What's important to me is that I spend time with my family. And of course I always remember God in everything that I do.
In 2010, I met the 3 sisters of Cayetano Legacy Collection, Karen, Gail, and Christine, together with their very kind father. I am so lucky I met them. It has changed mine and my family’s life. I am so happy and honored to be a part of their business and enjoy seeing it grow, and I pray for their constant success. They have been instrumental in the success of my own, and I am so grateful and happy [for that].