Beatriz Founder Shows Path to Success
Carissa Cruz-Evangelista was a public servant before she launched a successful business in Manila. As a fashion and jewelry designer, she works closely with local Philippine craftsmen, designers and artists to make beautiful accessories and bags. Her Beatriz label is classic, elegant, edgy and worn by fashion aficionados.
Her other business, Bella Trading and Services, is a local affiliate of FF International (FFI) Manufacturing Corp., an export garment factory that manufactures products for Natori, Victoria’s Secret and other global brands. Bella Trading supplies SM Department Store’s Ladies Wear Department (Cococabana, Blanc et Noir, Elements, and Surplus Store) and Kultura Store. Her collections can also be found locally at Firma Greenbelt 3, Firma TriNoma, Felicity Edsa Shangri-La and SM Kultura
Cruz-Evangelista recently unveiled her 2014 Summer Collection at the 59th edition of the Manila Fame, organized annually by the Department of Trade & Industry. She sat down with Pinay.com to talk about her thriving business, her clan, which includes famous aunt Josie Natori, her love for our country and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
So, we should love our own products?
Who else should love and support our country but us? In order to build a strong economy, I believe we should support our own products and not just buy cheaper imported goods. When you buy products made by local entrepreneurs, you are supporting the families of the people that they hire and sometimes the entire communities in that industry.
I believe in the One Town One Product (OTOP) program of government where each town and municipality supports a product or service in their area and actively develops and markets it for local and international exposure.
On the aspect of Filipino crafts like jewelry making in Meycauayan, Bulacan or basket weaving in Antiquera, Bohol, or the T’nalak weaving in Mindanao—if these craft traditions are not supported locally, they will sure die out.
Let’s talk about your family.
My mom, Gina de Venencia, started selling santol from their trees and baked goods to Sampaguita Pictures’ movie stars when she was just a child. Later as she grew older, she started other businesses and entered public service. My grandfather, FF Cruz, started as a farmer’s son with no shoes. But he had a vision. With hard work and perseverance, he built one of the best geodetic engineering, construction and reclamation companies in the country. My dad, Philip Cruz started his own construction company at the age of 27 and competed with men in their 60s for road and building projects. What is consistent among my family members is the drive to do the best they can in whatever field they are in.
What about your jewelry business?
I started this jewelry business a year and a half ago. It has grown so much since then. I was blessed to have great craftsmen to work with, great staff and partner retailers both locally and abroad. This business was born out of hilig (hobby). I really like accessories and love how they can make a statement and change the look of your outfit. Honestly, there was no plan. I tried it out, worked on it as best I could and went with the flow. The name of my brand is Beatriz. It’s named after my eldest child Isabella Beatriz.
How was it working for the Department of Trade & Industry?
Working for DTI was amazing! My first job was at CITEM (Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions) where I assisted exporters in fashion accessories, leather goods and garments over 20 years ago. At DTI, I worked my way up from Assistant Secretary to Undersecretary of the Regional Operations Group, which was the backbone of DTI throughout the country. We rolled out all the DTI programs nationwide.
Your aunt is the famous designer, Josie Natori. How has she inspired you?
Josie Natori has taught me that with vision and hard work, you will be able to achieve something in your life. She knew after her work as an investment banker that she wanted to have a business. She sold baskets; she thought of a car wash; she thought of different businesses. Only one thing made from the Philippines actually clicked with the buyer. There was a buyer from a department store that liked an embroidered blouse she brought and told her to make it a night shirt. She had no background in garments but she took a chance. She worked hard, learned the business and became a great success. She was also not afraid to dream big.
What advise can you give our younger generation who are on an entrepreneurship path?
My advice to future entrepreneurs is to follow your passion and trust your journey. Celebrate your successes and also learn from your failures. Look for mentors and appreciate those that help you in your life. Look up to God. Never let the pursuit of money and success be all and end of your life. Relationships with loved ones are very important. Read trends in different industries and don’t be afraid to learn about things you don’t know anything about. Network and never stop learning.
Jennifer Bichara, our publisher’s assistant, enjoys the freedom and life of a blogger and freelance writer. Follow her blog Jenny’s Serendipity where she talks about life’s lessons.
All photos are courtesy of Carissa Cruz-Evangelista.
Jennifer Bichara is a free spirit. She is now a full-time art blogger, painter, sales agent for art pieces and a dealer of native products - one of her biggest passion besides art. Her work revolves around managing websites, writing, web content, web editing, coding, and working around WordPress themes for clients around the world. She is a champion of women's causes especially that of Filipinas and the love for art and art sake. Aside from being the Publishing Assistant of online magazine Pinay.com, Jenny is currently a member of United Women Artists Association of the Philippines (UWAAP), happy helping artists gain exposure through her blog. Here in jennysserendipity.com, her world revolves around ART and Pinay Artists of different genres.