“I wanted to break the dogma of toxic masculinity— that men, all genders, have every right to express themselves”
Whoever thought that pearl accessories would look great on guys?
This was exactly what 22-year-old UST Advertising major Joshua Baldomero thought of when he created CraftStudioPH, an accessory brand of handcrafted jewelry.
He started it back in 2020 just before the pandemic but had to stop given the worsening situation, then Baldomero relaunched his brand in January 2021. “I could clearly remember three main reasons why I had a strong calling to create my business,” he said. “The first is to share with everyone the beauty of gemstones. There are a whole lot of amazing materials the earth offers, and it’s a way of appreciating the richness we already have right under our nose.”
The second is to have a revenue stream for himself while doing what he loves, “The idea of being my own boss truly excited me, and I was prepared to nurture that dream.”
Lastly, Baldomero said he was sick of being just a consumer— “I wanted to create something that added great value to the world. I wanted to touch people’s lives more deeply and change the shallow narrative that ‘Jewelry makes you pretty’ into ‘Jewelry reminds you who you really are’.”
For his first collection, he experimented with pearls and gem stones. “I chose to work with those materials for their stunning beauty, especially when it comes to having them as pieces to decorate and express one’s being. I also believe that each stone has a specific energy inside, which could help a person’s life if they wished to work with them.”
Baldomero researched the history of pearls, and learned they were actually part of men’s accessories in ancient times, “They were proudly worn by males from various cultures all over the world. Somewhere down the line, pearls slowly became exclusive to women’s fashion for its soft features and men’s ‘hyper masculinity’ stigma didn’t make any room for full expression,” he said. “It felt frustrating how social norms could place so much self-restriction on something that’s completely natural. That’s why I wanted to break the dogma of toxic masculinity, and be an example that men, and all genders, have every right to express themselves however they choose.”
The main inspiration for all his pieces, which are variations of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings, is freedom– the sense of expressing the inner magic one already has inside. “Each accessory I came up with is intended not only to be a pretty thing to wear, but also to empower each individual. It serves as a reminder that what you seek in life, may it be the feeling of confidence, self-worth, or abundance, is inside you all along.”
It takes around 10 to 30 minutes to make a fully crafted piece and the price ranges from P1150 down to P199. He also makes custom pieces.
Now Baldomero is balancing his business and school. “I have to say it was tricky to balance the student/entrepreneur life as both demanded lots of attention, energy, and time.”
There were days he just wanted to focus on one thing, and some days he wants to take a break. “But when you feel a strong passion for something, you never seem to stay down,” he said.
Baldomero believes that running a startup during the pandemic had its advantages, “I was blessed because everything was more manageable than I expected. People were easier to reach, and social media platforms played a bigger role in our lives, so I could connect with people much quicker.”
His courses in advertising and learning marketing on his own were a big push to speed up his growth.
Soon, he plans to introduce raw crystals and home decor lines, “For those who are just starting to get into crystal healing. I feel that it’s a great way to explore these things while also being surrounded by amazing energy. I’m excited to offer more value beyond just products but also in the form of ideas and wisdom that would improve how a person can live.”
Photography Lem Atienza
Styling Luis Carlo San Juan
Model Fox Gaite
Fashion Forever 21