Widow’s venture: Earn with rosary beads
She started as an employee in an export company manufacturing fashion and accessory products in the ’70s. Later, she realized that not having a college degree would limit her growth in a corporate organization.
Teresita Ursal, a widow, said she had to find ways to provide for her four children. Her husband died in 1985.
“I started working in the company right after I finished high school in 1976 but had to stop working after 21 years because I thought to myself that I could not increase my income more if I stayed” said Ursal.
While she was grateful for her employers’ trust and the production head of the company, Ursal said she had to move on and find another way to earn money.
Working abroad was one option.
“I was interviewed in 1977 by an Arab who promised me a housekeeping job in a hospital, but when I reached Manila and was just waiting for final notification to fly out, something stopped me,” said Ursal.
She met other recruits who said that they were not given the jobs promised to them abroad and instead were made to work as domestic helpers.
Ursal said she thought this was not acceptable since she didn’t know how to do household chores.
“Though we are poor, I was never a good house worker because I’m so used to working for a company. I only know how to hold a ball pen and paper. So I didn’t push through.”
Ursal then found a job as an independent supplier for another fashion accessories company that year.
“That’s when I first enjoyed working at your own time and supplying your own products to companies. It was different from being an employee. Here you are entitled to your own creativity and initiative and you are paid depending on how hard you work,” said Ursal.
For her first income as supplier, Ursal was paid P30,000 cash.
Ursal said being a supplier was easy because she knew about fashion accessories and the raw materials.
She said she developed her creativity over time and designed her own accessories.
In 2004, Ursal found a niche in making rosaries.
“I started with an investment of only P500 and started with only the plastic materials,” said Ursal.
For a finished product, Ursal said she used to sell her products for P5 each to bulk buyers like schools, nuns and priests.
“Some would order as few as 500 pieces.”
Ursal’s decision to start making and selling rosaries came after she developed contacts with suppliers in Cebu.
“I have a nun friend who would ask me to buy supplies for them. I learned where to buy raw materials to make rosaries and became friends with the store owners and attendants,” said Ursal.
Having developed good relationships with the store attendants and owners, Ursal is often informed when they have new stocks coming or when stocks would be on sale.
From being a “solo-flight” business, Ursal’s rosary venture soon needed extra hands to meet the increasing demand.
“Now I have six people to help me with the production. One does the assembling, looping and other processes,” said Ursal.
From ordinary plastic beads, Ursal now uses glass pearls, cultured pearls, swarovski crystals, wood, and other raw materials.
She sells her necklace rosaries for P28 to P125, a chaplet rosary for P15 to P40, medallions at P25 to P35 and bracelet rosaries at P15 to P100.
“I use nickel-free and lead-free metals for my rosaries to avoid easy tarnishing,” said Ursal.
Every month, Ursal said she earns a minimum of P5,000. This helps provide for her family and pay labor costs.
Her usual customers are bulk buyers and resellers.
She also sells regularly to churches.
According to Ursal, she is already preparing her inventory of goods since Holy Week is fast approaching.
“A religious congregation is also set to build a church in Malaysia. They want to look at my samples,” said Ursal.
Ursal said she plans to put up displays of her products soon in the “Kapamilya Negosyo Na” booth in Parkmall in Mandaue City since she’s an awardee of the program during the recently concluded Season 6.
“That’s my plan so that my products will be available to those who would also like to buy in single pieces,” said Ursal.
Ursal, a resident of barangay Maribago in Mactan, Cebu, was given the Most Creative Award for besting other small and medium entrepreneurs in the “Kapamilya Negosyo Na Season 6” organized by the University of San Carlos College of Commerce Alumni Association in partnership with ABS-CBN.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.