ArteFino 2018: In Search Of An Heirloom Piece? Kathy And Kathy Bespoke Has Hundreds Of Them For You To Choose From
Just as family legacies are forever, Kathy and Kathy Bespoke's keepsake pieces are guaranteed to stand the test of time—not only in durability and design, but also in the stories they tell and the meaning they hold.
Kathy Gregorio-Añover and Kathy Sarabia-Babst described their brand the best when they said not to expect trendy or fast fashion-inspired pieces when one scrolls through the curated Kathy and Kathy Bespoke Instagram, or browses their Makati showroom.
Rather, one is primed to be ready for a feast for the eyes, mind, and heart as each and every one of Kathy & Kathy Bespoke's pieces are designed with a purpose. They almost never come ready-made, and it's exactly this ultra-meticulous process of creating one hundred percent original pieces that these professional partners and childhood friends are proudest of about their brand.
"[Kathy & Kathy pieces] are something our clients want to pass on on to the next generation—to their daughters and their grandchildren. We want our clients to see and appreciate that the pieces they buy from us are something of value. They can hold the memory of a person," explains Sarabia-Babst.
Branching out into the jewelry business came naturally for these Iloilo-born talents; Sarabia-Babst's family has been in the industry since the forties, while Gregorio-Añover's grandmother—who was also great friends with Sarabia-Babst's own lola—had a lifelong love for fine jewelry that she passed down to her kids and grandkids. As successful women who are, in essence, keeping their own family legacies alive, they wished to be able to give the same gift of continuity to other Filipino families.
Establishing their brand in 2014, the two have never looked back and have only sharpened their instrinsic eye for design. These entrepreneurs took it upon themselves to learn the art of gemology, the specifics of metal work, the intricacies of the different classes of gold and silver, the technicalities of material sourcing, the complexities of managing a group of artisans, and most importantly, perfecting the business of trust—the last of which they consider one of the most important ingredients of their success.
As tedious as the learning process was, it was necessary for them to be able to make every jewelry lover's dream come true. Backed by the knowledge they've acquired, they can now say that clients are free to dream up their own creations or request for a tweak of an existing design—simply give them time to manage feasiiblity and coordinate with their Bulacan-based goldsmiths, and a vision is sure to be brought to life and exceed expectations.
Sharing her thoughts on how the process was all worth it, Gregorio-Añover says, "Your customer’s trust is the biggest thing. It doesn’t matter how nice your items are if your customer does not trust you... I feel that credibility is the first thing kept we have to keep; apart from the designs, you must be really credible for people to trust you."
And credibility they've indeed built, thanks to their absolute dedication to their service promise. From addressing inquiries themselves, to reserving their showroom for the whole day for a single client, understanding the need for jewelry fittings to being upfront with their prices, they have proven themselves to be businesswomen driven by only the best of intentions.
In just a few years, this authentically bespoke brand has certainly carved a shining reputation for itself. Now specializing in the intricate combinations of 14- and 18-carat gold with carabao bone and horn, diamonds, gems, Prague enamel, Italian coral, Cebu-sourced mother of pearl, and South Sea pearls, what clients can expect these ladies to create for them is almost limitless.
To the discerning eye, it's easy to recognize the overarching themes found in almost all their collections: influences of their colorful youth spent in the South. Tastefully incorporated are imagery from the beloved Dinagyang Festival, elements of Iloilo's agriculture, and designs from celebrations that honor the province's warriors of past. Still in keeping with their brand's thrust of passing down memories, their design inspirations similarly help keep their hometown's legacy strong.
"We have to make our market understand that every piece that they’re purchasing has a story behind it," Sarabia-Babst emphasizes.
All these stories and more from Kathy & Kathy Bespoke will be told at ArteFino 2018 this coming August 30 to September 2. Drop by the craft fair that features only top Filipino artisans who bring pride to the country and discover all the must-know local talents today.
Video by Marie Francia, Marnie Giron, and Berwin Coroza
Video editing by Berwin Coroza
Photos from @kathyandkathybespoke