FOR many generations, the guitar-making industry of Cebu has been thriving, reflecting people's undying love for music. Customers have come from far and wide to own a Cebu-made guitar, regarded for its superb sound and playability.
Steve Dagoc, marketing manager of the Ferangeli Guitar Handcrafter, recounts how it all began. "It was the Spaniards who first settled in Cebu that passed on the art and skill of guitar-making to Filipinos. In 1919, my grandfather ventured into making handcrafted instruments."
The love for the craft never left the family, as Steve's father was a classical guitar player in the University of San Jose-Recoletos varsity team before it was his turn to run the shop. He saw distinction in their products and recognized the potential in elevating their craft.
The business began formally operating in the 70s under the name "Custom Guitar" in Lincoln Street, Cebu City. By the late 80s and 90s, they moved to a location that couldn't be any better -- a popular tourist destination and the province's guitar-making capital, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.
Grounded in musical expertise and the vision to capture a greater market, the Dagoc family rebranded the shop and called it Ferangeli Guitar Handcrafter, a portmanteau of Steve's parent's names: Fernando and Angelita.
The business not only produced high quality instruments for music lovers but also income opportunities for skilled luthiers in the area.
Continuing the legacy
Throughout the years, Ferangeli Guitar Handcrafters has been among the most trusted names in the industry. It consistently grows its following by providing value added services such as making custom-built pieces, repairs, and new string instruments like ukuleles.
Steve emphasizes the importance of using the best quality of wood to produce the best quality instruments. With the country's rich natural resources, it's no surprise that locally made Cebu guitars have a strong competitive edge.
"A few years ago, it was rare to find mango-wood guitars in the United States. They couldn't even believe that it could be made into great-sounding instruments," he said.
"Mango wood produces warm and mellow tones while Jackfruit makes bright tones. We also have a Gel-Series guitar collection, made of Narra plywood, a more affordable option, but still made of fine quality solid wood. We pay close attention to the assembly of our instruments because there are many factors that affect sound quality," added Steve.
Marching to a new beat
The young entrepreneur also continues to strengthen their online presence and has found a dependable logistics provider in FedEx.
FedEx understands that shipping guitars comes with a specific set of standards to ensure their pristine condition. The instruments are packed in specially made hard cases that must be kept in low humidity packaging and be able to withstand temperature changes once it leaves the Philippines and journeys to other countries. FedEx is no stranger to shipping curious items that require special handling like turtle eggs, wine, and even white tigers.
"To compete in the global arena, we have to constantly revamp our operations to keep up with the times. We have been exporting for quite some time now. Customers are recognizing our brand and inquiring through emails. While we became known by word-of-mouth, I know that's not enough," said Steve.
Ferangeli's foray into online retail was marked by a static website, containing only basic product information. Now, that website has evolved into an e-commerce platform that is able to seamlessly deliver the gift of music around the world, exporting to customers in Switzerland, France, and the United States. As Ferangeli ramps up to cater to growing cross border sales, they trust FedEx to provide logistics solutions and tools.
"Fedex enables us to easily manage our deliveries and determine the right shipping rates for our customers through the FedEx Ship Manager and Billing Online."
FedEx has a network built for what's next and is able to support SMEs to go global even in shifting global trade patterns. Visit the FedEx LinkedIn page to get inspired by the success stories of entrepreneurs and enterprises across the Asia Pacific region.
Experience the legacy of world-class craftsmanship and witness how Cebu's Ferangeli explores new genres, and more on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. (PR)