Meet Geli

CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR

From robotic 9-to-5'er to Chief Magic Maker in her own business. Geli turned her love for type & letters, and her infectious gratitude - into a full-time career. She now spreads light through her art, as the founder of Pluma PH.

My name is Geli

I make magic! I'm the woman behind Pluma PH. I spread love and light through artwork, merchandise, and workshops.

I am an alumna of The Purposeful Creative & I took up the following programs:

My name is Geli.

I make magic! I'm the woman behind Pluma PH. I spread love and light through artwork, merchandise, and workshops.

I am an alumna of The Purposeful Creative & I took up the following programs:

How She Got Started

What led you to your career now?

It was that pivotal moment while I was still sitting at my office desk in Makati… and I just felt like a robot: “talking” to people online even if they are just an arms’ length away.

I can still vividly remember writing an email to my mom that day, writing all about my bottled up emotions, and how I’d like to quit my job. (How dramatic!!)

But ever since I was a kid, I already loved to write letters to everyone I know and love. (I think it’s my love language.) I always draw, sculpt something out of clay, etc. And I love to appreciate and look at art – modern, traditional, visual, graphic design etc.

What was the final trigger that really pushed you to take the leap & start your calligraphy career?

I was still employed in a company back then, but I was already doing typography-related things on the side. But [I think it started to become more serious in my head]…  when my friend and I were invited to join Type Kita – a community that celebrates typography, lettering, calligraphy.

Also, I was doing other things to earn extra income. For example, my friend and I capitalized on the fact that our office was far from any convenience stores… and so we put up our own sari-sari store inside the office! (We had long break hours anyway, haha!)

From the money we got from our scrappy little store, we started an upcycled bottle cap business. We eventually closed that business down, and split the profit.

Then from that profit (plus my savings), I finally quit my job and started this calligraphy and design business I have.

 

What was the best piece of business/leadership advice you were given when you were starting off?

  • “Be kind to everyone you work with.” – Mama
  • Collaboration is the best way to open new doors for your career.
  • “Sometimes a no leads to a bigger yes.” And: “It’s okay to fail.” – Arriane Serafico (Haha!)

Her Journey (So Far): The Wins and Joys

What is the best part of your job?

I love everything! Creating, collaborating, daydreaming, taking control of my time…

Before, I used to have a big fear of failure — but now I think that’s my favorite part in this journey. I feel like after every failure or challenge, I emerge having learned something new. It makes me love this journey even more.

There are still tough times when I ask myself “why do I even do this?”… but when that happens, I ground myself and go back to my why. (Another fundamental thing I learned from Braver Goals and Purpose-Driven Branding!)

Imagine who you were and where your career/business was a year ago. In the past year, what have been 3 of your most tangible achievements?

  1. A registered business! With papers! Can you believe?!
  2. Starting a new online business from the savings I had. (Still on testing mode for this one)
  3. Consigned my products in 4 physical stores in Manila.

Before, I used to have a big fear of failure — but now I think that’s my favorite part in this journey. I feel like after every failure or challenge, I emerge having learned something new.

What’s the thing in your life/career now that still makes you go, “Wow, I never thought I’d be the type of person who’d be able to do/achieve this.”

Conducting corporate workshops! Haha! I always feel like – I’m 12 years old, and people won’t listen to what I have to say. (But they did. Whew!)

 

What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute to your success – or getting where you are now?

Patience. Showing up and putting in the work. Habits!

 

Roadblocks & Self-Doubt

When you were just starting out, what was the biggest roadblock that was holding you back?

Having the impostor syndrome haunts me every single day, ESPECIALLY when I was starting out. I always felt that I wasn’t good enough, not knowledgeable enough, etc.

Eventually, I came to a realization that everyone has their own timeline in life.

I also ground myself in gratitude. Always. It’s easy to compare myself or my works with all the other content online… but when I’m rooted on my why, my purpose and my intention — all of those doubts disappear.

What’s your #1 go-to thing to do when self-doubt creeps up on you?

I breathe! Breathing – especially deep breathing really gives you that pause you need when life goes haywire. Then I meditate, I diffuse oils, I take time off and I journal

It helps if I list down what I’m feeling at that moment. I’m able to pinpoint why I’m feeling those emotions, and so I’m able to deal with it better.

What’s the hardest part about your job?

Feeling that i juggle a million gazillion things all at the same time. From design to admin to delivery!

What’s the most meaningful part of your job?

Giving or having a meaningful life is different from everyone and is highly dependent on their priorities in life.

But for me, this job gives me the freedom to share what knowledge or talent I have with the world. It also provides meaning in my life when I am able to enjoy the simplest things: such as having breakfast with my mom everyday before I start my work, or taking days off when my sister takes a vacation in the Philippines. It’s those things that I am grateful to have and enjoy — because I wouldn’t be able to do those peacefully if I was employed in a traditional full-time job.

[This job enables me to find meaning in] and enjoy the simplest things: such as having breakfast with my mom everyday before I start my work.

 

Let’s Talk About The F Word: Finances

Note: We want to get more women talking about money more openly. It’s such a useful and educational topic to have – and we want to encourage more discussions about it. So, here we go!

How much capital did you need to start your business?

If my memory serves me right, I think I had PhP 2,500-5,000 (US$ 50-100) when I started this.

How did you decide on your financial goals when you first started your business?

The start was crazy! I didn’t have any timelines or benchmarks for my monetary goals. All I know is that: I was putting out a lot of money… and was happy with getting very little profit (haha).

What’s your personal definition of a life of abundance? 

Abundance is when I am able to bless someone with time, positivity, or material things. Because I see myself and my life as overflowing with blessings. No matter what your situation in life is… you really CANNOT run out of things to share, trust me.

It doesn’t even have to be material or financial things: you can share your knowledge in math, your skill in dancing… You can always share what you have or know with others.

I also see abundance as seeing that everything you need is already provided for you! I always make sure that I have funds for personal development, for some spoiling for my family and for travel.

 



At this point in your business, do you still get worried about sustaining your business and lifestyle long-term?

Yes and no. I read somewhere that when you plan to run a business, you also plan on how to close it. I made sure to have other income streams as well because you will never know what life will surprise you with.

As for the sustaining part, if you are a maker and a seller, I’ve learned that you REALLY have to want this whole journey of not just doing what you love, but also making sure you earn from it.

So if you feel that the earning part isn’t going as you planned or imagined, you may need to take a step back and list on things to improve on. (Say a particular product isn’t selling, maybe you can improve it or bundle it with other products you sell.) Basically, it doesn’t just end with doing what you love – there’s a whole other selling aspect to it, and you have to want that, too!

It also helps if you collaborate with other makers because it’s one way of putting yourself out there. Also — don’t be shy to sell your stuff to your family and trusted friends!

Looking Forward: Geli’s Next Braver Goals

What’s the next big/challenging goal you’re working towards?

To be able to bring my work with me anywhere I go.

What quotation or saying inspires you and motivates you to be yourself and do what you love?

I believe in this three quotes with all my heart, “Trust the process”, “Let life surprise you” and “Watch what happens when you don’t give up”

It doesn’t just end with doing what you love – there’s a whole other selling aspect to [being a creative entrepreneur], and you have to want that, too!

Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned (so far) in pursuing your passion+purpose?

It is okay to take breaks and to take care of yourself! Before, I view being successful as putting in all the hard work – no sleep, unlimited coffee, yes to everything, joining bazaars here and there (and everywhere!).

But when I was doing that, other aspects of my life were falling apart. If you don’t feel good – feel good from the core – no matter how much money you have in the bank, life will be meaningless.

What’s the biggest mindset or skill or takeaway that you learned from The Purposeful Creative that managed to get ingrained in yourself and the way you now do things?

Done is better than perfect!

How has your business changed your life? Who has it allowed you to become, and where has the journey taken you?

Aside from the financial aspect and having the freedom to work on my own schedule, I think I view life so differently now. I am grateful that I was able to meet with diverse kinds of people, experienced tons of great events, and had wonderful clients.

It has allowed me to become a person of gratitude and intention. I don’t take things for granted because I always keep in mind that anything can happen, career may change… but if I know and I am deeply rooted as to why I’m doing things, then I will be alright.

I don’t take things for granted because I always keep in mind that anything can happen, my career may change… but if I know and I am deeply rooted as to why I’m doing things, then I will be alright.


What is your ultimate goal? What’s the bigger Why behind what you do?

Aside from being financially stable, I just want to be someone who is a “beacon” or (grabe ang deep! haha!) a guide or an instrument of love, light, and good vibes! And a person who is able to pursue a lot of passions in life and be able to give back or share that knowledge in any way I can.

If you will consider every opinion and every thought about your plans, or wait for other people’s approval, or wait for others to clap for you, then you are wasting time.

– Geli Balcruz

What advice would you give to a young woman who is… scared to start or fail because – what other people will think?

If you will consider every opinion and every thought about your plans, or wait for other people’s approval, or for others to clap for you, then you are wasting time. Just listen to yourself! Be selfish for a minute – if you know what you truly want, go for it. There are times in this journey, when only YOU can see and celebrate your victories — and that’s okay.

Also, let me share you this hard truth that Lisa Nichols said in an interview: “You see, we all want to grow but we all want to stay liked by everybody. I was ready to be my own rescue at the risk of your approval. Most aren’t like that, Facebook is an example, we all want to be liked. Well I woke up today and I like myself today so your like is extra. My job is to like me first.”

What advice would you give to a young woman who is… feels hindered by the fact that she doesn’t have money to start?

Find ways on how you can earn on the side. You don’t need a huge amount of money to begin. When I was in college, I remembered I sold fans on the first day of school (haha kapal ko)… because the day before school started, we went to Divisoria and saw the fan set they offered, and I thought: I can earn money from this plus I get to gain new friends! Win win!

Throughout college, I sold items online – jewelries, clothes etc. You will really never run out of ways to fund yourself, if you’re determined enough.

Start with what a skill you can offer and offer it to your family and closest friends – say you can teach art on the side, go for it and charge a fee. Sell some stuff you don’t need to add to the savings.

What advice would you give to a young woman who is... struggling with finding the motivation or push to begin? (aka making all the excuses and procrastinating)

Pause and dig deep, is the goal something you really want to pursue? Or is it something others want for you? Sometimes, procrastination is a manifestation of fear. What is it that you fear? Failure? Not being good enough? The more you focus on that, the more you’ll magnify the emotion of fear. Silence that voice and put in the work. Done is better than perfect.

What advice would you give to a young woman who is… thinking, “What if I’m not good enough?”

Honey, It’s all in your head 🙂 Words are very powerful! So be very careful of what you say to yourself. I also practice affirmations in the morning. I started by facing the mirror and say “I am loved” etc. It feels awkward when you first do it but trust me, it works! The words “I am” are very powerful so be careful what word you say next! Practice your brain to speak and think of kinder and empowering thoughts.

Ready to follow Geli’s lead & take *YOUR* next brave steps towards a life of passion+purpose?

Check out the workshops she attended with us: