Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Yssa's Crafts: Fairy Tale in a Bottle

If you visit my garden, you might hear delicate notes when the wind passes through.  The delicate notes are from glass bottles striking each other when stirred by a breeze. These bottles were small, brown medicine bottles that were flattened and strung together to make up a chime.  The chime is from the factory of Yssa’s Crafts owned by Precy Perez.  The sound is of fairies laughing, yet the tinkle of glass chimes hide a not-so-fairy-tale beginning. 

 A former Chemical Engineering professor at the University of Negros Occidental-Recolletos, and University of St. La Salle, Precy Perez was working with the Department of Science and Technology where exposure to the programs of at the department encouraged her to study ceramic-making and to put up her ceramic business with friends.  To reach more buyers, she would attend trade fairs to showcase her products.  That business went fine until in 1999 when China’s enticingly low prices caused Precy’s market to shift from her to China.  Those were really trying times for her that brought her to her knees in surrender to God but this unexpected economic downturn led her to something else.

It was in 2001 when Precy became a member of the Association of Negros Producers as a seller of ceramic products.  As an ANP producer, she continued attending trade fairs for exposure.  One day, someone approached her with a  photograph of a flattened bottle and asked her if she can make some.  She readily said, “Yes”.  Precy shares a dirty little secret:  she had absolutely no idea how to do it.  

That daring move to take on the task and learn along the way became the door to a more exciting venture.  The encouragement of famous Bacolod interior decorator Gigi Campos is noteworthy in Precy’s  transition from ceramic production to glass pressing.  In 2012  at the SM Megamall, Precy displayed 20 bottle chimes at a Department of Trade and Industry trade fair.  She was still unpacking her wares when her chimes were bought by one excited buyer who just happened to pass by.  Then, as she was just taking out more, someone came along and asked to buy all of them.  There was none to spare, of course, and told him that she can bring more “tomorrow”.  At that trade fair, Precy sold 40 pieces of chimes because that was all she had.  

But as fairy tales go, happiness is just around the corner.  From the 40 pieces of chimes, her oven now produces 2,000 pieces a month.  The slumped bottles by Yssa’s Crafts come in various forms for various functions.  Large flattened ones make unusual cheeseboards, or printed with uplifting biblical quotes.  Smaller bottles become candle holders, vases, and, of course, the chimes.  One may order the standard designs of the producer and also commission for a particular look for the bottles and ceramics.  Don’t even think of looking for other suppliers; Yssa’s Crafts is the only one in the country that produces flattened bottles.  

Fairy godmothers are a-plenty now and can be found even outside the Philippines.  As of the moment, Yssa’s Crafts is filling orders for slumped bottles for the United States, Belgium and Switzerland.  Who would have thought that recycled bottles would be the pot of gold after dismal rainy days for Precy Perez? This is what happens when one has great faith in God and believes in miracles.  

31st Negros Trade Fair "One Sweet Spot"
September 14-16, 2016, 
Glorietta Mall, Makati

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Author & Editor

The Negros Trade Fair is the longest running provincial trade fair in the Philippines held annually in Metro Manila since 1985.

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