Sunday, July 7, 2024

Jewelry Designer Kat Ong Crafts a “Love Letter to the Motherland” with Gemstones and Pearls

Chesapeake, VA—In Filipino, “kislap” translates to “sparkle” or “gleam,” embodying light, brilliance, and beauty. This word, rich in cultural resonance, inspired Kat Lasam Ong to create Kislap Jewelry, a brand she describes as her “love letter to the Motherland.” Rooted in Filipino heritage, Kislap Jewelry combines traditional craftsmanship with modern design, featuring ethically sourced materials from the Philippines.

A Deep Connection to Home

Kat Ong’s journey to jewelry design was a profound exploration of self and heritage. Originally from Manila and Sorsogon City, Ong now resides in Chesapeake, Virginia, where she established Kislap Jewelry as a creative outlet and a homage to her Filipino roots. “The brand was born out of a yearning to have an outlet for my creativity,” she explains. Ong’s designs utilize raw materials such as coconut and pili shells, sourced directly from local artisans in Sorsogon, ensuring both ethical practices and cultural authenticity.

Navigating the Jewelry Industry

Ong’s transition from corporate life to jewelry design was not without challenges. One significant obstacle she faces is the pressure to establish herself as the “face of the business,” a challenge she believes is more pronounced for women. “Given my introverted nature, this demand is one of the toughest hurdles I continuously try to overcome,” she admits. However, the support from her local community and the positive online reception have been instrumental in her growth and confidence.

Since its launch in 2023, Kislap Jewelry has garnered attention for its unique pieces, such as the Aya necklace, Taho necklace, Ulap necklace, and Bougainvillea earrings—each named after Filipino words that evoke a sense of home. The brand also offers permanent jewelry services, where artisans weld precious metals to create seamless, clasp-free pieces using high-quality sterling silver, gold-filled, and solid gold chains.

Community and Future Generations

Ong’s thriving community in Chesapeake reflects a broader trend of women carving out their niches and shaping the future of business. She encourages aspiring women entrepreneurs to stay authentic and persevere. “It’s easier to follow trends and give up on your dream. Assert and advocate for yourself by believing in your ideas and capabilities,” she advises, emphasizing the importance of preparation, knowledge, and experience.

Looking ahead, Ong envisions a time when gender equality is standard, with women leading alongside men and mentorship flourishing. She advocates for more sustainable practices in sourcing and production and greater diversity in design aesthetics and perspectives. “As far as positive changes in the industry, I would like to see more sustainable practices in sourcing and production, as well as more diversity in design aesthetics and perspectives.”

Inspiring Future Generations

Ong aspires to inspire future generations of Filipina women to pursue their passions boldly and creatively. “You can be successful, not just in business, by making your vision come to life. I want to build a community predicated on equal opportunity, respect, and inclusivity,” she says.

Through Kislap Jewelry, Kat Ong not only showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Philippines but also sets a precedent for ethical and inclusive business practices, paving the way for future generations to follow.

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Alice is a seasoned jewelry designer renowned for her exquisite creations that seamlessly blend artistry with elegance. With a passion for craftsmanship and an unwavering commitment to quality, Alice has established herself as a distinguished figure in the world of fine jewelry. Drawing inspiration from diverse cultures and artistic movements, Alice brings a unique perspective to her designs, creating pieces that transcend mere accessories to become timeless works of art. Her meticulous attention to detail and insistence on using only the finest materials ensure that each creation reflects not only her artistic vision but also a commitment to unparalleled craftsmanship. Having honed her skills through years of dedicated practice and a keen understanding of evolving trends, Alice is adept at translating her clients' desires into bespoke, one-of-a-kind pieces. Her portfolio encompasses a range of styles, from classic and timeless to avant-garde and contemporary, showcasing her versatility and ability to cater to a diverse clientele.

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