Monday, January 20, 2014

{Our Vendor Series} Meet Lalai

This is the 2nd post in a series that focuses on the small businesses Cayetano Legacy Collection works with in the Philippines. 

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 out 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 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 here in the US are manufactured in large, automated plants, our products continue to be handmade by beautiful, inspirational, hard working women.  We’d love to introduce you to these women who work so closely with us, while also building their own businesses.  In the second of this series, please meet Lalai. 

Lalai’s creations are some of our most bold necklaces; most notably our Maximina style that is consistently one of our most popular. 

The Cayetano Sisters

Lalai’s Story

I’m 34 years old now and have spent the past 12 years making handcrafted jewelry.  I started handcrafting while also managing my aunt’s store, to support my studying.  [Schooling is very important.]

Three years ago I met sisters Karen and Gail [on one of their trips to the Philippines].  I was flattered they liked my chip necklace so much, and that was the start of us working together.  I most enjoy what I do when customers appreciate my work and designs like [Cayetano Legacy] does.  I feel so lucky and happy for partners like this who continue to help my business grow through their business, advice, and direction.

[The company] has exposed my work and designs to such a big audience through the internet and sales in other countries…. And that has really helped me support my family.  I have four [wonderful] kids and a family that encourages what I do professionally.  That is all I can ask for – a prosperous business and good health.  [As long as I have that for me and my family], I am happy.    

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