A full horizon of goals, wants, and needs, both long-term and not, are often running in the minds of teens these days. But not for Callie, who openly digressed from the typical youth endeavors.
At 17, Amanda “Callie” Ahmee has a clear-cut vision of what she wants—that is supporting local artisans and putting their pieces in a platform that is closer to the youth through her business venture “Cal the Brand.”
Born out of her combined desire to be productive back in early 2019, her love for Rattan bags, and her aspiration to follow the footsteps of her parents, award-winning actress and endorser Dimples Romana and businessman-vlogger Boyet Ahmee, Cal the Brand is now all set to reach out to the young online buyers who are looking for aesthetic and locally-made and sourced pieces.
“Around that time my mom and I would always visit bazaars and the likes, and I would always see these stalls selling woven rattan bags and they always came in those circular shapes,” she recalled.
Wanting to offer something new to the market, Callie set her sights on selling unconventional shapes of Abaca bag as s simple initiative to support local craftsmen and to elevate this part of the Filipino culture.
“I wanted to put a twist on it. A twist that will help make it more appealing to people, especially my age,” she added.
As driven and ambitious as she was, Callie’s age both came with an advantage and a setback. On one end, she has this huge and powerful platform that she’s very at home with. On the other end, she had to hit the ground running as far finding the right people to make her envisioned products a reality and in learning the tropes of putting up a business solo.
“I wanted to start a business, something of my own, and make it my responsibility, from developing designs, creating my own branding, to selling itself. I’m getting closer to college and I feel like this will help so much with gaining independence and confidence in my decisions,” she explained.
While she had mentors that guided her towards the establishment of Cal the Brand, Callie literally had to do the groundwork and learn how to run a business on her own.
“I read some books and articles, learned from my parents and as well as some close family friends, and just generally learned by myself during the whole process,” she said.
“But whenever I would contact suppliers and manufacturers, they would mention some pretty complicated terms that were new to me, and I had to take note of them and learn their definitions. Sometimes I would just straightforwardly tell them that I was 16, and I kid you not, at least half of the suppliers I’ve talked to just didn’t respond to me anymore,” Calie added.
With hard work and perseverance, Callie eventually found a family friend who gamely teamed up with her for the business. Their collaboration has then paved the way for her first 3-piece capsule collection containing bags and other fashion items—a field that she’s endeared on and familiar with.
“I started Cal with the initiative to support local, so I will surely not stop with fashion items. Though it is my main focus now, I will also be venturing into furniture soon!” she excitedly shared.
This young businesswoman surely has her sights on big things for Cal the Brand, and in really pushing her business forward alongside her dream course aviation.
“Five years from now, I hope to see people with products from Cal wearing or using them proudly, with them being locally made. I hope that, with Cal, people become more inclined to support our local artisans and promote them more, not only locally but hopefully internationally, as well,” she ended.
Cal the Brand is currently available on Instagram with the handle @CalTheBrand. Stay tuned for updates and for their on-ground selling.