Precious Passion: How A Childhood Fascination Led To LVNA, Drake Dustin Ibay’s Homegrown Jewelry Label - Lifestyle Asia

The jeweler’s vision for the brand is to service society and make a name for itself on the international stage.

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While some of our interests when we were young are now long-lost memories, Drake Dustin Ibay used his childhood affinity for precious stones to launch the fine jewelry brand LVNA.

“My love for jewelry started from a very young age. It started with my love for crystals and gemstones, and its metaphysical properties. It’s been a passion of mine to this day,” he shares.

Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that examines the relationship between mind and matter. Some of the metaphysical properties of gemstones are said to include healing, protection, and manifestation—influences that flourish through Ibay’s brand.

The jeweler was prompted to start his venture in 2016 when he decided on a path that would secure him and his family’s future. Fortunately, he acquired entrepreneurial and creative skills from running his family’s business and working at MEGA magazine as an artist and photographer.

Beauty under pressure

Running a business as the pandemic persists might feel like an overwhelming challenge. Ibay sometimes feels like he’s re-building LVNA from scratch.

“There was so much uncertainty for all of us. But what this crisis brought upon us is strength, and the patchwork we did to our brand made it stronger than ever,” he says. Another factor that encourages the brand’s resilience is the stability seen in the gold and diamond industries. “In fact, the value of diamonds and gold rose more than ever, giving us a boost in sales and increased demand from our clients.”

As many brick and mortar establishments pivot to e-commerce, LVNA smoothly made the transition through its virtual store on Instagram. In the past year, they also launched a mobile application and revamped their website.

“I’ve seen the opportunity of digital platforms way before we had our stores. I see this opportunity as a stepping stone to not only offer LVNA jewelry investments in the Philippines, but also globally,” Ibay says.

Their physical stores are located in upscale corners of Metro Manila, including The Manila Peninsula Hotel, Uptown Mall, and Molito Alabang.

LVNA is recognized as the Best Authentic Diamond and Gold Jewelries Provider of the Year. At the same time, Ibay himself has been awarded the Outstanding Filipino Achiever for Entrepreneurship. Both recognitions are from the 2020 Golden Globe Annual Awards for Business Excellence.

While these are laudible achievements, Ibay looks beyond awards to the difference LVNA is making to society.

“We can see our brand’s impact on the lives of our employees, our partners, and manufacturers, that we can grow to give more jobs and help more Filipino families,” he shares. “In addition, to know that we can give back to our community through our scholarship programs and outreach activities is the most satisfying thing that one can aspire to when putting up a business.”

Heritage pieces

With every collection launched at LVNA’s retail stores, the brand curates its pieces to fit the market’s demand.

“We do several releases in a month to see what the consumers would like and what would click. It’s like a collaboration with our clients. We listen to their needs and wants— then we produce them,” Ibay shares.

LVNA Signatures, the brand’s high-end division, takes more time in producing designs. “It takes several weeks and up to months,” Ibay says. “What we use now are high-end three-dimensional rendering and printing the design in a wax mold to be cast manually by our team of goldsmiths and artisans. But with this, it is also a collaboration with our clients.”

Like the rest of the global jewelry market, Ibay explains that Filipino jewelry buyers gravitate toward timeless designs, like round and square-cut diamonds.

“Maybe because we Filipinos see jewelry as pamana. Something we can pass on to our kids and grandchildren that never diminishes in value. We are practical buyers,” Ibay shares.

Philanthropy through business

Ibay’s goal for LVNA is to make it one of the prominent jewelry brands internationally while uplifting communities in need locally.

“We want to continue to give our customers the best and most affordable jewelry investments they need and deserve,” he says. “But in these times of uncertainty, we want to reach out our hands as well to those people suffering from sickness and poverty due to the world’s current situation.”

One such initiative is Make A Wish, which was launched together with LVNA’s Stay Brilliant campaign last December. The philanthropic effort grants those in need with gadgets for remote work and schooling and financial support to small businesses. In a Facebook post on Make A Wish, LVNA encourages their patrons to continue being a source of hope to others.

Prioritizing his mission

“I breathe and live for LVNA,” Ibay says. In-line with his priorities, he maintains working toward his goals and missions for the brand, including its role in its employee’s lives and the economy.

“I’m looking forward to putting LVNA in the global market so that we can provide more jobs and put a home-grown jewelry brand on the international stage,” he says.

The metaphysical properties of diamonds include fearlessness, invincibility, and fortitude. It is also said to reduce fears when it comes to new beginnings. Since Ibay has believed in these attributes of diamonds since he was a child, it served as one of the driving forces behind his brand. With that, it seems, some of our childhood fascinations may be worth revisiting.

LVNA is located at The Manila Peninsula Hotel, Estancia at Capitol Commons, Shangrila Mall, Ayala Malls Vertis North, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, UPTOWN Mall, and Molito Alabang. For more information, visit LunaByDrakeDustin.com, or follow them on Instagram or Facebook.

PHOTOS BY BJ PASCUAL
CREATIVE DIRECTION BY JEB FRONDA and JANN PASCUA
STYLING BY MISS KEITH ANGELO
GROOMING BY AMALIA REYES
HAIR BY RENZ PANGILINAN
PRODUCTION DESIGN BY ADSET PROD

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