Known to many as the Summer Capital of the Philippines. Baguio is definitely a favorite destination for many great reasons namely its cool weather, fresh fruits and vegetables, and many tourist destinations.
It is also home to one of the most successful silver businesses in the country – the Ibay’s Silver Shop. Evelyn Ibay founded the home-based business in Baguio City back in 1974 and their handmade silvercrafts have reached popularity among both the local and international market.
In an interview with BusinessMirror, Evelyn shared “Nowadays, silver has become the new popular jewelry standard. Before, clients, especially Filipinos, would mainly buy jewelry featuring gold chains, gold rings and bracelets. Only the foreigners are fond of silver jewelry during the ’70s through the late ’80s. But now more and more Filipinos are buying and wearing them.”
The shop prides itself for creating everything by hand, not using casting machineries like their competitors in the industry. To increase production, they simply hired additional silversmiths who were willing to handle the painstaking process of molding, waxing, burning, casting, finishing, and polishing silver. As a result, their products are much more attractive and sturdy.
“Handcrafted 92.5-percent silver jewelry continues to have a greater value than machine-made jewelry and, for me, art made by machines will never equal art made by hand,” said Evelyn.
Other obstacles they experience in their business are piracy (since others are copying their designs and trademarks) and, of course, the increasing price of silver.
“Especially for the last two years or so, our business has been affected by increases in the cost of silver,” Evelyn admits. “We are aware that this price increase is the result of silver being used more and more in industries like cellular phones, computers and other electronic gadgets. These have somehow placed an increasing financial burden on our local handmade jewelry community so we have to find ways to keep up.”
Ibay’s Silver Shop continues to grow and move upward as they add stones, gems, and other high quality ornaments in their products. They also have a very active Facebook page where they post pictures of their latest masterpieces.
But their greatest secret of success? Evelyn shares “In this business, I have also learned that you should not only rely on your own but to the Almighty God. You have to be humble and help others to succeed.”