Passion for art, love for gems fuel designer’s jewelry venture
Pen and paper, guts and a passion for art.
This was how a 40-year-old homegrown designer, specializing in creating personalized jewelry pieces, described how she started her business venture — Vero.
After 14 years in the business, she has since carved a name for herself in Cebu’s growing jewelry and art scene.
Gladys Young, who is an interior design graduate, said that back then she had no technical knowledge about gems.
When she started Vero, an Italian word which means true, she only had a pen and paper, and guts as well as her love for the arts.
“I love art. It feeds my soul,” said Young.
From creating pieces only for her relatives and friends at the beginning, her clientele grew steadily as she got more and more referrals.
“This is a relationship-based business and is really built on trust. It is important to develop that friendship with your clients,” said Young, who is popularly known to her clients as G.
Young traces her love affair with jewelry back to when she received her first set of gems from her mother, Betty.
From then on, she started buying and collecting gems, among which colored diamonds, padparadscha sapphires and tourmalines are her favorites.
“I started resetting for my mother and her friends. I took old unusable pieces of jewelry and turned it into something new,” she said.
Young creates personalized, one-of-a-kind pieces that speak to its wearers and are envisioned to be passed on from one generation to another.
She has an avant-garde line, which features bespoke pieces that are full of character as well as a classic line which is only a “milder” version of what she normally does.
Her classic line, which includes necklaces, bracelets, and cuffs, among others, cost between P20,000 and P60,000 or more.
“All of us are into business to make money, but the passion has to be there. Every piece I make always speaks of my passion,” she said.
She said she cannot make five copies of the same piece because if she doesn’t like it, she won’t be able to market it.
Even when mass production may seem like a lucrative option for a business like hers, she said it is not just about making money, but about creating experiences for her clients.
Indeed, her design process is faithful to her venture’s name, Vero.
She has also already gained a solid following from a niche market, mostly women aged 35 years and up.
In 2013, she opened a shop at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel, where some of her pieces are displayed.
Today, she has her own production area with five artisans and other employees who complement the whole design process.
She said that a few years ago, not a lot of people knew how to carry jewelry pieces such as the ones she make.
“I am proud to say that I have had this opportunity to help people express themselves more, to sheer away from stereotypes, and embrace paradigm shifts. Life is too short to stay in the norm,” said Young.
She tried to penetrate the Manila market before, but she could not handle the constant traveling, especially since the design process involves discussing with the clients face-to-face what their preferences are.
Penetrating the Manila market, however, is still on her to-do list with a trunk show there set for this month.
Aside from that she also plans to explore the business process outsourcing and millennial market with new products made for these sectors next year.
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