By MARK FRANCISCO
IN almost 20 years’ time, the brand Puyo Handicrafts is already a household name among “buy local” advocates here in Cagayan de Oro City.
But the story of Engr. Vivian Libao – creator of Puyo Handicrafts – is not a case of instant success. Engr. Vivian’s radical shift from being a busy corporate engineer to a handicrafts entrepreneur in 2004 was a slow process until she aced excellence as an exporter of bags made into abaca.
Today, Puyo Handicrafts is being sought after by customers as far as Maryland, Hawaii, Texas and New Jersey in the United States; Bruenei, South Korea, Kota Kinabalu, Milan and Saudi Arabia.
Here in the Philippines, Puyo Handicrafts bags can be found used by buyers from Makati, Quezon City and all over the country.
Puyo is the vernacular for bayong or what closely resembles a tote bag made of indigenous materials and Engr. Vivian chose it as her brand name. Determined to be a hands-on mother to her then elementary-age kids, Engr. Vivian chose to give up her corporate career and be a family housewife and mother. It is in this relatively idle time that opportunity struck when her sister Marilou gave up her abaca fiber bags making and Engr. Vivian took over the reins.
From the start, it was DTI who assisted her in all aspects of production including marketing, costing and product development but it was Engr. Vivian herself who painstakingly reached out to her suppliers i.e. the farmers and weavers, and to her crew of mananahi to ensure the quality of her products.
And the rest is history. Her efforts have paid off. Today, Puyo Handicrafts products can be found in showrooms at Ayala Malls Centrio and Ginama OTOP Hub (Gaston Park) in Cagayan de Oro City; and at Panika Tea and Souvenir Shop in Malaybalay City.
For specialized orders, please message directly the Facebook page of Puyo Handicrafts and give a two-weeks heads-up.
Available in Puyo Handicrafts are the following products: tote bags, convention kits, tokens, kilted bags, pillowcases, coin purses, souvenirs and more. If you’re not in Cagayan de Oro, feel free to browse their Facebook page for updated catalogs.
“Empowering women and giving them worth and confidence of themselves is our dream. We believe we can achieve these by using our hearts and minds and with the approval of our Almighty Creator, the owner of this company,” Engr. Libao said.