Nature’s Legacy home décor: Dare to innovate
Eco-friendly home décor makes space in Europe
Respect for nature and humans
Founders of Nature’s Legacy, husband-wife team, Cathy and Pete Delantar, came from humble beginnings with no plans to start a manufacturing business.
Witnessing the poverty in their surrounding community, they made a commitment to help by creating employment opportunities.
“Our Filipino upbringing instilled in us a thrifty attitude towards the resources we were given. We would use woven baskets or buyots when going to the public market,” recalled Pete.
Cathy and Pete transformed natural resources into patented sustainable materials to create inspired pieces for the home, for business, and for life.
In turn, the couple accommodated unskilled craftsmen, taught them the basics of material application, and turned them into productive individuals.
Ditching dead wood
Nature's Legacy faced a challenging journey as a sustainable manufacturer.
Its flagship product, Stonecast, which is a handmade material that mimics real limestone, was quickly imitated by other players in the industry.
“Realizing that we could not compete on price, the company decided to focus on creating something unique and different,” Pete shared.
During a walk on their property in Compostela, Cebu, the founders stumbled upon piles of forest debris that were being used solely as firewood.
With a background in material application, they soon transformed the readily available but ignored raw materials into the sustainable invention Naturescast®.
Their current range of products includes Naturescast®, Nucast®, Marmorcast®, and Stonecast. All four products align with the manufacturing company’s sustainable product principles: recycled, biodegradable, ethical, and communal.
In 1983, Nature’s Legacy began exporting to Canada and the United States. At that time, the company's revenues ranged between Php5.0 to Php6.0 million per year and the foreign exchange rate was Php 18 - Php 20 to the US dollar.
In 2002, the company made its first exports to Germany. Today, almost 40% of Nature’s Legacy’s total exports go to Switzerland and EU member states including Netherlands, France, Italy, and Slovenia.
GSP + does the trick
One of the company’s objectives is to attract customers who prioritize sustainability, and who recognize the value and significance of sustainable, circular, and innovative products and practices. This is the reason the company has zeroed in on EU as its niche market.
Starting 2017, EU’s Generalized System of Preference Plus (GSP+) scheme for Philippine exporters has created an attractive incentive for firms to do business with EU member states, according to Pete who learned about the scheme through Philippine government’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and PHILEXPORT.
“We learned that it provides advantages not only to our company but also to other Philippine exporters who sell products to the EU. The elimination of tariffs on over 1,000 Philippine products under GSP+ can enhance exports and increase competitiveness.”
Sustainable partnership with the government
Pete expressed their appreciation for the continued support from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The company received training, seminars, participation in trade shows, support in product development, and business matching and networking.
“The agency allowed us to know customers better – their European culture and design preferences. By knowing the market, we can tailor-fit our products and innovation to match their needs,” Pete shared.
DTI’s publications were instrumental in Nature’s Legacy products getting noticed by the buying public. Pete and Cathy’s engagement in various missions and programs added to the buyer’s familiarity with the products.
Walking the talk
Pete and Cathy have not forgotten their original resolve of supporting their community through their business.
Some of the 89 current employees of the company are second-generation workers who are equipped with higher education.
“We make sure to take care of our employees’ basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter. We also provide them with subsidized housing and quarterly bonuses,” shared Cathy, who, together with her husband believes in the Sustainable Development Goals in uplifting the lives of their workers.
Their employees live a mere 15-minute walk from their factory in Cebu and are therefore contributing to reducing the carbon footprint of their operations.
Looking upwards with ARISE Plus
Upon the recommendation from PHILEXPORT, the company was engaged in the ARISE Plus Philippines project, an endeavour designed to support small- and medium-sized businesses in the country and open new doors of opportunity.
“Our aspiration is that with the support of ARISE Plus, we can expand our reach to more buyers and customers who prioritize and share the same values of Sustainability, Circularity, and Innovation,” said Cathy.
This is also in line with Pete and Cathy’s future goals for Nature’s Legacy.
Pete and Cathy, tenacious experts who never give up, plan to introduce in the market a compact yet revolutionary shelter for people facing disasters or in need of temporary lodging during a transitional period.
The envisioned shelter is a breeze to assemble, making it an ideal solution for women and elderly members of the community looking to contribute to building a resilient dwelling during trying times.
Nothing is holding back the couple in daring to undertake innovative solutions, making smart choices with use of ingenious materials to produce a quick-to-install shelter.
The ARISE Plus Philippines project is enabling Philippine exporters to take advantage of European Union (EU) market access and the trade privileges granted under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP+). It supports the overall EU-Philippines trade relationship and trade-related policies.
ARISE Plus Philippines is a project of the Government of the Philippines, with the Department of Trade and Industry as lead partner together with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Bureau of Customs, the Department of Science and Technology, as well as the private sector. It is funded by the EU with the International Trade Centre (ITC) as the technical agency for the project.