From a Hobby to a Thriving Business: Unveiling the Journey

Leny Yanoria, a resident of Los Baños, Laguna, has transformed her hobby of creating hand-crafted accessories into a successful entrepreneurial venture. Leny Handy Crafts recently participated in the Franchise Asia Philippines (FAPHL) 2023 event held at SMX Convention Center on Oct. 27-29, 2023.

In an interview with Manila Bulletin Business, Leny shared the story behind the name change of her business. Originally named LYZ Kikay Kits, after the initials of her children, she had to change it when she discovered that someone else had already registered a similar name while applying for Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) papers.

Leny initially entered the business world in 2013, selling children’s gift items and school costumes. In 2016, she added handicraft items to her offerings after being required to produce her own work at her cooperative in Calamba.

Leny’s journey as a craftswoman began when she adapted craft items from a late friend and sought handcrafting lessons from another friend. This led her to pursue handcrafting further.

As a member of a cooperative in Calamba, Leny had the opportunity to apply to DTI in 2021 when she was discovered at Vista Mall Santa Rosa. She then underwent the DTI’s Kapatid Mentor Me (KME) program, which aims to improve micro and small enterprises’ capacity through mentorship, money, and market access.

After completing the program, Leny participated in the one-town-one-product (OTOP) program, which helps micro, small, and medium enterprises innovate and produce market-ready products and services. DTI helped Leny improve her product packaging and logo.

Leny’s products mainly focus on earrings but also include bracelets and chokers, made from various materials such as Capiz shells, acrylic shells, and alloys sourced from local suppliers in regions like Cebu and Manila.

Currently, Leny does not have a physical store but supplies her products to Enchanted Kingdom and the University of the Philippines Los Baños Autocab. She has also collaborated with a friend in Baguio City to supply her products there.

Leny has showcased her products at various DTI national trade fairs and recently participated in the 2023 Hybrid National Trade Fair at Megamall. At the Franchise Asia Philippines event, Leny Handy Crafts was one of the exhibitors at the Philippine Franchise Asia (PFA)-Assisted Regional MSMEs pavilion.

Leny’s journey from being an employee to an entrepreneur started when she lost her job as a bank cashier after almost 12 years. She decided to start her business while recovering from postpartum depression.

During the pandemic, Leny faced financial challenges as accessories were not considered a necessity. She temporarily shifted to selling healthy food products. However, as things returned to normal, she refocused on selling accessories.

Leny advises aspiring entrepreneurs to pursue their passions and enjoy every moment, whether they have income or not. She believes in saving for the future and has invested in insurance for herself and her family.

While she faces challenges with production, Leny does not plan to increase it at this time. Instead, she hopes to supply to larger companies like SM in the future.

Looking ahead, Leny envisions her business growing and becoming more prosperous in the next five years. She expresses gratitude to DTI for their assistance and support in helping her save and build her business from nothing.

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