More than forty five years after they started their home-based shoemaking business in Pasig, couple Juan and Erlinda Janeo, now in their 70s, are still busy overseeing the creation of their new shoe collection, which will be showcased in their highly successful retail store, Janylin Shoes. Janylin – which came from combining the couple’s first names – was a business built on strong familial bonds.
“Siguro kapalaran naming nagkasama kami, siya upper maker, ako shoemaker,” says Juan. The couple worked for a number of shoe factories like Blue Bonnet and Princess Anne before they decided to strike out on their own using their two hundred-peso savings in the 1960s. “Mura ang spare parts ng mga sapatos noon. Barya-barya lang. Ang isang piye [ng leather] wala pang P2 noon. Ang mga gamit na maliliit na bagay, nakakayari ako at tumutubo ako ng mahigit na 50 percent,” recalls Juan.
The Janeos worked long hours to finish a dozen pairs, which they delivered to shoe stores and boutiques at the San Juan public market. Their efforts paid off because the owner of Rempson, then a big-time shoe retailer, saw their plastic strap sandals and ordered from them. Other buyers like Henry Sy of Shoemart followed suit and before long, they had to hire workers to fill their increasing orders.
But it was only in 1973 when the Janeos put up a shoe store at the Sta. Mesa market. “Nakita ko na parang kaya ko magtindahan dahil alam ko lahat ang styles,” says Juan. Soon, Janylin outlets opened in Cartimar, Pasay and Marikina Shoe Expo in Cubao.