For Lifestyle Asia, the luxe life goes beyond expensive possessions, flying from one country to the next, and indulging in extravagant feasts. It is about having a meaningful life invested in your passions and dreams. Bea Valdes, the esteemed designer of jewelry, bags, and home décor, is the woman whom the Lifestyle Asia team thinks best represents going beyond luxury living. Bea’s business in the fashion industry gives her the freedom to make something meaningful. She and her sister Marga Valdes-Trinidad agree. Marga says, “[The] creatives will always find a way to express themselves so it will come out in different medium and applications. But one thing’s for sure: we’re always making things, always creating.”
Starting with local
The roots of Bea’s masterful creations can be traced here in the country with her passion for Interior Design. In taking up the course and working in London, she came to know about different fabrics and textiles. “And when I moved back to the Philippines at some point, embroidery really intrigued me so it was trying to find where our local artisans were—who did the mantels and the pinya, and embroidery.” This is when she began recreating embroidery from her grandmother’s house, and eventually found the style for her business.
Bea shares the business started from a partnership with one beader, and it grew with over 20 beaders and embroiders who are mostly women. When asked about their initial goal, Bea claims there was none. “We started with [learning] how to make a straight line,” she continues with a laugh. “[The business] was really organic.” She explains. “It’s not step-by-step.” With over 15 years of turning humble materials into elegant jewelry, bags, and accessories, Bea’s works earned recognition in the international scene with Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar features under her belt.
The team’s beautiful creations are not only products of hard work but also results of inspiration. She claims it is all about perspective. “You just have to change the way you focus that you can find inspiration everywhere.”
Creating dream pieces
The work Bea and her team do entails time, investment, and commitment. When they are working on a single bag or necklace, there is only one person assigned to the creation. But when it is a large scale artwork, Bea says, “Everybody pitches in and so I think it’s nice to have one piece where you can see everybody’s hands.” From bags and accessories, Bea recently delved into designing and making home décor and furniture. With this expansion in the business, she stresses the merit in working with people one can trust, especially for aspiring designers. She advises, “Be prepared to do the work, and [if] you have a good team with you, that’s probably the best place to start.”
In creating pieces, Bea sets her mind to making her ‘dream piece’ every time. “I always say it’s the next one,” she says. There are also times when people would order a design they made decades ago. But Bea shares they enjoy recreating something that for them would be treated as a classic. There may be a creative challenge like working with small pieces but for Bea, it is fun to do. “It’s just trying to find something that is always interesting and relevant,” she claims. Yet whatever they make at present and in the future, their goal is to “bring beadwork and embroidery, the work of the hands, to a larger audience–global and local.” Marga adds, “It’s always with the hope that we would be able to show craft to many people.”
Read a full print cover story of Bea Valdes in Lifestyle Asia’s June 2019 Edition titled, “The True Meaning of Luxury.” Download your digital copy on Magzter and Flip 100, or purchase your print copy on Lazada, Shopee or your nearest bookstore. For orders, email [email protected]