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Yvette Floro

Manila, Philippines

- Beaded, fabric and leather handbags

Yvette Floro has been designing handbags and fashion accessories for over 20 years. She graduated from the University of Santo Thomas (Manila) in 1984 with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts. Yvette started working for Floro Enterprises Inc., owned by Greg Floro, right after school, when she answered an ad for a designer of fashion accessories. At the time, Floro Enterprises was involved in manufacturing costume jewelry for the local market, but that same year Greg attended a trade show called Manila FAME in an effort to learn more about exporting.

Floro Enterprises started exporting at the end of 1984 and Yvette's first handbags came out shortly there after. They began exporting under their own and private labels and in the 1990s they had exclusive distributors in a number of countries including the US, France, and Australia. In 1991 Greg and Yvette were married and by 1997 the US emerged as the major market for Yvette's handbags under a private label.

Despite their disappointments with the quality of life in the Philippines Greg and Yvette made the commitment in 2000 to stay. They went to the US to acquire more equipment to expand their design capabilities and upgrade their machinery to produce better quality materials for their bags. The majority of their handbags were going to North American department stores and boutiques. The designs never looked like they were made in the Philippines, which was a tribute to Yvette's capabilities in merging the production technologies with imported materials and Philippine handcrafting skills. In 2006 Floro Enterprises finished the move to a modern industrial plant which they had been building for nearly four years.

By 2007 Greg and Yvette had grown increasingly dissatisfied being a private label designer and manufacturer. Yvette felt restrained from entering the premium market handbags due to the association with private brands. She decided that the only way to explore and develop a more premium look for her handbags was to break away from their previous business relationships. It was either that or stagnate in a segment of the market that was becoming increasingly overpopulated with "made in China" products.

The handbags are now marketed under the brand name "Yours by Yvette" and Yvette receives the proper recognition for her design efforts. The vision for each handbag is executed in sketches. Every sketch is labeled technically so the worker can read it and know what to do. Recycled plastic is used for the molds and no toxic materials, including lead free paint, are used in the making of the handbags. Depending on the style of handbag you will find semiprecious stones, pearls, silk, wood, and feathers incorporated into the design.

Today, Floro Enterprises has more than 100 employees, making a commitment to help women who are battered or single mothers. Many of their employees have not finished high school and do not have many opportunities for work. Some families have worked for Floro Enterprises for three generations. Greg and Yvette have compassion for the people of Philippines and want to give them a means to preserve their dignity. They are deeply indebted to their employees and are committed to advancing their economic, social and educational needs.


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