Zane: Can you tell us a little bit about how you started CUCHARA?
Edi: I'll start with the name, CUCHARA means spoon in Filipino. Growing up in Victoria, BC is super Antique-y, I love vintage shopping and I would find the collectable spoons that every Grandparent had. They were intricately and beautifully designed. I thought they were pretty, so I made them. People just kept wanting them so I kept making them and I thought CUCHARA is such a pretty word, maybe I will just call it that. It has since evolved from CUCHARA... not just spoons now, but it takes me back to where I came from.
Zane: Last shoot you went to the Philippines, how was that?
Edi: So good, it's been 10 years, the brand is about 6 years old. So this is the first opportunity that I can go there. My family back there I haven't seen for 10 years, but they know that I've started a jewelry design business. They're so cute, my younger cousins look up to the fact that i've started my own business. It's cool to share it with them and they were involved a lot, I asked them to reach out to some cool girls that I can shoot. It's also sick to involve my culture and showcase they have to offer there. They're all so sweet. The best experience.
Zane: It's nice to go back and reimerse? yourself with family.
Edi: It kind of takes a back full circle, the name CUCHARA and I'm in the native land where it came from. It's pretty cool.
Zane: This must be a pretty important collection for you after you becoming a designer for 6 years and going back. How connected to this collection from your other collections do you feel right now?
Edi: It's definitely more special than the other one, because I have a chance to feature a huge part of myself and because I haven't been there for so long, it's something I haven't been able to make super personal. I did the styling - there's limited resources where we shop, we used a local photographer that lives in the area and my sister did the make-up. It was really special and it meant it a lot.
Zane: Bringing it back to Canada, we want to know a little more about the Canadian industry in the manufacturing, because you manufacture here, what are some things that you've overcome and exciting things that you feel that have added value to your collection being Canadian?
Edi: There's definite struggles for producing Canadian, price being one and minimal manufacturing options. So there's not as much competitive pricing like in New York or anywhere else around the world, but it's cool to be able to support local industry. I do everything local, I go source all the materials locally, go drop it off to my platers in Scarborough. It's cool to have a connection with them and discuss exactly what's going on versus overseas production where its ambiguous, you don't know who's doing it, how they're doing it, the practises and ethical. Your not involved, you don't have a relationship with the people which is pretty important. I literally walk in and give everyone a hug when I see them. It makes each piece a little bit more meaningful. And you don't have to do a large quantity, if something isn't killing it... < So you can grow into your business > Exactly, if I love a style and people aren't feeling it then it's okay because I don't have to buy a thousand quantity to make it a feasable thing, i just do a few pieces..
Zane: As you do grow, with what you say your limitations in Canada, how do you think you might overcome those and where do you see the brand grown and evolving in maybe production or just production locally?
Edi: I would love to keep everything as local as possible during this growth obviously for so many reasons, but I'm sure that will plateau to a point where I have to look overseas and when that point comes.. which I am constantly researching 'where do people go' and 'what are the best practices' and 'who can I network with'.
Zane: So what do you see now for the future? There's a new shoot coming out, there's a new collection but where do you see yourself growing with the brand going forward?
Edi: I just want to grow.. I guess I just want people to know the brand a little bit more, I think that's why this most recent shoot was personal, so that's a good way to get people to know me. More about the brand itself, more about me, where I come from, where this whole brand came from. And just educate people in what we're doing and the brand itself.
Zane: Well obviously you being your best brand ambassador and you where your stuff the best, if you were going to see your stuff on someone that isn't currently wearing it, who's the person you'd get excited to see CUCHARA on?
Zane: Any questions for our audience or anything you want to tell us?
Edi: Hey Guys, I just want to say maybe when you're purchasing personal items of jewelry it's great to know where they came from and I know it's really hard to avoid fast fashion, i'm guilty of it often but I think it's nice to do your diligence like we said and research a little bit and support local businesses because there are times, especially here in Toronto, that are super cool on doing great things and their worth investing in. Obviously don't limit yourself.