The story behind the success of Papemelroti

Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2016 04:09 PM | Updated as of Jul 26 2017 10:27 AM

MANILA - When you're in the mood to look for Filipino-made arts and crafts, one name may pop into mind: Papemelroti.

What started out as a small gift shop in the 1960s, the family business has grown into a specialty shop carrying a wide variety of paper products and other accessories mostly made from recycled materials.

But what does "Papemelroti" even mean?

Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page

One of the owners, Patsy Alejandro Paterno, shared that the brand name comes from the names of five Alejandro siblings--Patsy, Peggy, Meldy, Robert, and Tina.

They are the children of Benny and Corit Alejandro, the owners of Korben Gifts.

Patsy said her mother herself made stuffed toys and dolls from scrap when they started the small business.

"'Yung mga pira-pirasong tela, gagawin niyang stuffed toys. ‘Yung mga toilet paper rolls, gagawin niyang doll. 'Yung bote, gagawin niyang piggy bank. So mula ng bata ako, nakikita ko ‘yung nanay ko na mahilig gumawa sa kamay niya. Very artistic siya, very creative,” she told "My Puhunan."

The owners of Papemelroti, Patsy Alejandro Paterno and her siblings. Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page

Patsy said the first Papemelroti opened in 1976 in Ali Mall, selling recycled and re-purposed products designed by her siblings.

"Kailangan kasi na iba ang paningin natin sa basura, which is exactly what my mom used to do,” she said.

Patsy said the Filipino brand is conscious about helping the environment and empowering Filipino families.

“We’re really committed to helping Filipino families, so ayaw naming mag-import from other countries kasi that means tinutulungan mo ‘yung mga pamilya doon, eh dapat mauna dito,” she said.

Patsy's brother, Robert, is still involved in designing some of the products in the store, including piggy banks made from plastic bottles.

Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page

Robert believes that their business was able to survive over the years because young Filipinos go through the "Papemelroti phase."

“Tumatak na din sa isip ng mga tao na dito ka makakabili ng mga paper products na hindi ganoon kamahal. ‘Yung mga bumibili sa amin, karamihan mga bata,” he said.

Papemelroti now has 18 branches in the country, most of which are located in Metro Manila.

Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page