By KC Santos
MANILA CITY, METRO MANILA - For Rowena Baunsit-de Guzman, Filipino humor is a source of inspiration for her budding enterprise.
“If there's something other countries cannot take away or imitate from us, it's our happy and positive outlook,” Rowena says.
In 2006, Rowena opened her Gag Atak Wacky Gifts outlet in Alabang to sell a collection of wacky novelty items with four fellow artists helping her out.
Rowena and her husband, who is also a designer, use a moldable compound called polyresin and mixed media to turn caricatured sketches into seasonal, home decors and gift items.
Balikbayans and yuppies love her novelty items, which often carry funny (and sometimes naughty) and truly Filipino quotes.
The caricatures often depict a wide range of subjects from everyday people (like the humble labandera, Filipino extended families, Filipino couples) to historical landmarks (Rizal Monument) as well as tourist spots.
“I really envisioned this business to be something that is generic to the Filipinos,” Rowena says. From P50 to P750, Rowena says her products are ideal give away items and home coming gifts.
She says she eventually learned that you cannot please every customer.
“Sometimes even if you have faith in your style, you still have to consider people's different tastes. It pays to adjust and not to take offense of negative comments because these give us room for some tweaking which would help the business,” she says.
Rowena admits that for the past five years she is yet to get a return on her investment. “I'm sure in time I will get what's due of my hard work and perseverance,” Rowena says.
Rowena advises other entrepreneurs to avoid the practice of just following trends.
“If you have that skill or talent, apply that in a product. While there is no guarantee that you'll immediately earn from it, you still have to keep your faith and continue to work hard,” she says.
loQal.ph is a website owned and operated by Filquest Media Concepts, Inc. It works under the principle of giving voice to the voiceless, empowering Filipinos and uplifting the image of the Philippines by highlighting its unique culture. To do this, the loQal.ph team produces stories, video, photos and other multimedia content types to inspire and celebrate Filipino achievements, ideas, products and places.