Larry (Lauro) Evaristo is an entrepreneur that grew up in a shoe manufacturing environment. As his parents used to own a small shoe factory, he was exposed to and grew accustomed to shoemaking from a very young age. As a child, an uncle of his taught him how to make the patterns. While he was finishing school, he earned some money as a part-time pattern maker. Later on, he became a production manager for Medford shoe manufacturing in Calumpang, Marikina a position he held for seven years.
In 1992, his parents decided to close down the factory, and Lauro took this as an opportunity to assume the business, as the equipment and tools were already at hand. Through some friends in the Bocalo Shoe Corporation which supplies to big malls like Supermall (SM), he was able to start selling directly in Supermall (a leading chain of malls in the Philippines). This gave him a big break and allowed his business to grow. Purchase orders came in bulk. From 6 workers, he grew his production to 25 workers (14 males and 11 females).
The success enabled him to provide his worker with social services like Social Security System, Philhealth and Pag-ibig. These are benefits that a.o. allow workers to draw income when they reach the age of 60 and provides them with access to low interest loans. These social services are mandatory for big companies, but are less common for small companies as they often can not afford them. He also provided two of his workers with free lodging and he arranged medical assistance to his workers whenever it was needed.
By 2000, imported shoes from China had invaded the Philippine market. This had adversely affected a lot of local shoe manufacturers. It had become very hard to compete against the imports. Although the imported shoes were of inferior quality, they were a lot cheaper. The big malls were cutting their orders to local producers and started to buy more and more shoes from China. The Chinese competition and restrictions by the big malls made it harder and harder to sustain the business. E.g. the SM mall extended their payment term from 60 to 120 days and the design of the shoes had to be approved by the SM mall. After many rounds of making sample after sample and still being rejected, it became clear that they were not going to win the business anymore.
However, Lauro still had his passion for the industry and he realised that shoe making is the only thing he knows. So he decided to go back to what he does best and he ventured out to produce slippers (mostly) for men. He created the brand name Spartacus and this gave him a way back into the industry.
It was not an easy comeback at all. He had to borrow money from his cousins. After a while they suggested that he should get a loan from a financial services company. This could augment his working capital, enabling him to grow bigger. Indeed, this turned out to be true when his accountant introduced him to the Negosyong Pinoy Finance Corp (NPFC). Barely a month after he received the loan from NPFC, the company already had to do overtime to prepare stock for the Baguio caravan, which has more than 2 million local and foreign tourist attending the Panagbenga Festival. Larry and his team ended up producing three thousand pairs of shoes for selling at the festival. This also generated additional income for his workers because of the overtime.
Right now Larry is supplying shoes to Zanea which also sells shoes themselves and to the ES Fashion Boutique. He has a stall in Marikina Riverbanks and the Marikina Trade Fair. With annual gross sales of 2 million, Larry Evaristo has come a long way from being a part-time pattern maker to a big time shoe-maker.