When Alice Reyes left the world of dance, she channelled her creative energy to a business venture that continues to transform lives.

There’s something magical about the chrysalis—how it signifies transformation and evolution, and how its ephemeral shell holds the promise of something better and beautiful. It’s only apt that when Alice Reyes decided to change careers and start her own company, she took the name of the chrysalis and made it her own by playing around with those of her two children, Chris and Sara, forming Chrysara. 

23 years after founding Ballet Philippines and acting as its company’s president and artistic director, Reyes retired from dance and worked full time with her home décor manufacturing company, Chrysara. While she was with Ballet Philippines, Reyes and her first husband had owned 11 antique stores, and she would transform objects by converting knick-knacks into lamps, baskets, and other home furnishings. Putting to good use her eye for colour, line, and balance that she cultivated from her background in theatre, Reyes built up Chrysara’s name until it gained the renown of the global community for its wares’ high quality and craftsmanship. 

At first, Chrysara was solely an export company whose products were being sourced to other brands and companies. But after 30 years of exporting, the clamour of the local market for Chrysara’s products was finally answered when they branched out into retail with Chrysara Nest late last year. “It’s fun because retail stores are very different,” says Reyes. “You see the customer’s immediate reaction, and get feedback.”

It’s a venture that has paid back in more ways than one. “I love seeing how ideas develop, coming from one piece of paper and turning into this lovely three-dimensional item and then later, a whole collection,” says Reyes

Chrysara has had tremendous success within the luxury market, and though Reyes acknowledges this as a great accomplishment, she gets the most fulfilment from seeing how she raises the quality of living of her employees and their families. She currently employs 52 full-time workers, makes it a point to give them liveable wages, and has even committed to granting full scholarships to her workers’ first two children. “Just two, because I try to encourage them to only have two,” Reyes laughs. “They never listen to me but at least the incentive is there. I’ve graduated three or four from college, and when these kids come back and say that they’ve found a job, it’s very rewarding.”

Reyes’ empathy for other people is something that has spurred her on to accomplish even greater things at times when “good enough” would have sufficed. “I am one of the lucky few who can say that they never worked, because it was never a job,” she says. “I loved what I was doing. There will always be problems and crises, but that’s life. It was never drudgery or something that I hated. I loved it. How many people can say that?”

Chrysara is an employee-oriented company built on the belief that people are its primary assets. Based in Pampanga, Chrysara is valued by clients for their design capablilities, original product lines, and their commitment to quality, partnership, and customer service. The brand is known for its lived-in aesthetic; says Reyes, “I like things that look like it’s made by man. Things that have been touched by human hands; things that have actually been used.” (Chyrsara is located at Angeles Industrial Park Calibutbut Bacolor, Pampanga; you may contact +632.636.6036)


Photography by Sara Black | Make-up by Apple Faraon for MAC Cosmetics | Read more about Alice Reyes in the Philippine Tatler June 2014 issue, download it on your device via Magzter and Zinio.

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