A lot of people ask my parents if they are teachers,” says Evelyn Zamora with a grin. This is because the family business, Jevzam’s Enterprises, produces colorful charts that are used by schoolteachers as instructional aids.
Her father, Jose M. Zamora, is actually an air-conditioning and refrigerator technician by trade who had spent 10 years in Saudi Arabia as a contract worker. Her mother Virginia is a dressmaking and tailoring school graduate; unable to finish first year in high school, she used to work in a garments factory before she married Jose.
Jose recalls how they got into the chart business: “I came back home to the Philippines when my visa expired in 1990. Our first business when I returned to the country was making rags. My wife knew how to sew and I told my family that we needed some sort of business from where we can get our daily expenses. But my wife gave up on making the rags because it was dusty work, what with all those fibers flying around the house!”
It was at this time that a neighbor of the Zamoras gave them the idea of making charts as a source of income.
“That neighbor of ours was in the business of making instructional materials on manila paper,” Jose says. “One day, she asked us if we could make charts out of plastic material. She gave us a sample that she had bought from a street vendor in Blumentritt [in Manila ]. I looked at the chart and I knew at once that we could replicate it. The machine we had for sewing rags was tough enough to sew through the material. We then bought five colors of the material from Divisoria and made our first batch of the charts. We showed them to teachers in nearby schools and the charts got sold out right away.”
[Read list of 16 cheap materials for your biz to buy in Divisoria here]
That was five years ago. Since then, the Zamora family has been producing various charts under the Charts Unlimited label, adding more chart designs over the years for their growing clientele. They also started distributing their products though several outlets of the Pandayan Bookstore, which has its main store in Valenzuela City .
Evelyn recalls how the family’s chart business progressed: “Before every school opening, my parents would get so busy making charts. When things tapered off in the months after that, they would put up a small barbecue stand and cook and sell barbecue instead. Then, at the approach of the ‘ber’ months, they would start making charts again.”
But because the products were so sturdily made, it took such a long time for the customers of the Zamoras to reorder charts from them. The family therefore decided to expand the markets for their charts from Valenzuela to more cities and schools.
Page 2: Going far and wide