• Rica Palomo-Espiritu and Billie Beltran: The Bag Ladies of Pockets

    These mompreneurs' simple concept sparked a big idea - a profitable one, at that.
    by Julian Vorpal .
  • Pockets bagsThirty or forty-odd years ago, it wasn’t hard to distrust products that were “proudly Philippine made”. A lack of consistency, professionalism, technical know-how and zeal for perfection combined with ineptitude and the desire for a quick buck made our homegrown manufacturing industries quite laughable. Nowadays, there’s a change in the weather. It’s a small change, one that’s beginning at the grassroots, but it’s starting to turn heads. It’s starting with cottage industries and organic market vendors making and selling innovative international-grade goods constructed with the best materials, using painstaking care and attention to detail.     

    One such example is Pockets. Kick-started in 2005 by moms Rica Palomo-Espiritu and Billie Beltran together with their partners, spouses Frances and JD Calixto and their schoolmate Ronica Tria, Pockets is a company that designs and produces bags, organizers and wallets – that and so much more.

    “We love pockets!  You can never have enough pockets in your clothes or your bags and stuff,” states Rica. “That’s why we decided to call ourselves that. We love putting lots and lots of pockets in the stuff we make.”

    Pockets got its start humbly enough, with a request. “Billie’s aunt brought home a particular bag and asked if we could copy the style,” she discloses. “My mom, who was in that business, said she wasn’t interested. But we were. So we got our other friends together and looked into whether we could pull it off.”

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