Ric-Jo: Weaving a course from a local to a global supplier
Examine most of the native, natural material based products in the global market, and you will not fail to see the 'Pinoy touch' somewhere, be it on the choice of raw materials used or to the craftsmanship that captures a discriminating buyer's eye. Ric-Jo bag products are prime examples that exhibit these.
Ric-Jo International Enterprises' owners started as a supplier of weaving materials to those engaged in woven bag making in the metropolis in 2001. At first, it was a very promising business supplying buntal fibers extracted from buri palm to bag producers whose market were largely international. However, payment collection from bag makers became a problem prompting the company to shift from supplier to becoming a bag maker themselves, it was a tough decision considering that Mr. and Mrs. Ric and Jocelyn Pacheco, only borrowed a secondhand, heavy-duty sewing machine from a relative to start production and an initial capital of PhP 500.00. But this did not deter them from competing with their former bag maker clients. Instead W challenged them to work harder and better to penetrate the markets with their own creative designs and innovative styles. Thus, their buntal fiber bags gained customers not only in the local market outlets (SM Kultura and Rustans) but also clients in the USA, Japan and Dubai, The demand was so overwhelming that it required the expansion of the production capability of the company.
The couple sought the assistance of DOST-NCR SETUP to avail of the necessary equipment upgrades processes; quality and productivity improvement; plant layout assistance; manpower/skills development on synthetic and dyeing technology; and productivity enhancement through MPEX. The SETUP interventions increased their sales by 40%, their production output by 100%. It has also reduced rejects or reworks and improved the finished quality of their products. Further S&T interventions provided under the program included the provision of a training on synthetic and natural dyeing technology. These new capabilities boosted the company's confidence in aggressively marketing their products both locally and abroad. The company was able to create more styles and more innovative and creative designs since they have been capacitated with the upgrade of their equipment. As a respectable producer of natively made bags, Ric-Jo has finally weaved a secure place in the local and international markets.