I am Trixie de Guzman, the founder of Genuinely Everywhere. No matter how busy I kept while working as a marketing professional, I spent all my free time making leather bags that I would sell to family and friends. But, after 20+ years in the profession, I decided it was time for a change. I founded Genuinely Everywhere in 2017.
The initial range of products was created to solve a frustration that I found with leather travel bags being heavy. I made lightweight but sturdy hand-made leather bags for travel. From there, I expanded my product range into leather accessories and corporate giveaways.
She combined her passion for travel and fashion and turned it into a business.
Attending a Connected Women-Facebook SheMeansBusiness workshop helped me get clarity and the courage to take the plunge. The workshop equipped me with the knowledge and skills to set up a Facebook page. A few months down the line, I also started my Instagram handle and my business grew significantly.
Pre-pandemic, I was experiencing an average year-on-year increase of 30% (2017- 2020), with a whopping 80% sales conversion rate on inquiries through Facebook and Instagram. I even reached out to stay-at-home moms and other women who couldn’t leave the confines of their homes and employed them as crafters and social media managers.
She created job opportunities for the local community.
However, like many travel-related businesses, COVID-19 had a devastating impact on our business as well. Fewer people traveling meant less demand for travel bags. Corporate orders also declined. I instead participated in community charity projects by making facemasks and leather pouches for sanitizers. Those who ordered only needed to pay for crafters’ labor.
I also had to find a way to pivot my range and realized that the remote workforce was increasingly relying on technology, so I started designing bags that were suited to the new norm – with right-sized pockets for gadgets and devices. Another new range was my home collection. I came up with leather plant hangers and other related homeware such as leather floor pillow covers for my customers.
She advises budding entrepreneurs to not be afraid to start small.
The pandemic has been a trying time but I am not discouraged by its impact. I am motivated to continue my business online and focus more on giving as many local crafters and their families more opportunities to work remotely. As things have started to pick up, I plan to continue focusing on home décor and bags as far as there is demand for it. I am positive and hopeful that there is light at the end of the tunnel.