From college sweethearts to business partners and lifelong soulmates, their journey began with a shared dream of crafting jewelry that embodies sustainability, accessibility, and timeless elegance.
At the heart of popular local jewelry brand Penny Pairs stands the creative synergy of Cam and Theo Sandico, a power couple dedicated to crafting more than just jewelry but an ethos of sustainability, accessibility, and timeless elegance. Their journey began with a shared aspiration: to create style staples that go beyond being mere accessories, resonating deeply with those who appreciate sustainability and beauty hand in hand.
Their creative process isn’t solely about accessories; it’s about infusing individuality and charm into every collection. From meticulous material selection to the birth of each design, the dynamic duo brings forth a symphony of craftsmanship and artistry. Their story is a testament to the belief that when passion meets determination, something shiny emerges—and it’s always better in a pair. Scroll through to read our interview with the duo as they talk about the internationally recognized brand, working together, and more.
What’s the concept behind Penny Pairs?
Penny Pairs was inspired by the necessity of creating affordable, accessible, and worry-free jewelry. We recognized the scarcity of such a brand when we established it in 2018.
What sets Penny Pairs apart from other brands in the market, and how do you maintain its distinctiveness while meeting the needs of your audience?
One thing that makes us unique is our commitment to sustainability. We utilize recycled silver and eco-brass in our jewelry, and we ensure to collaborate exclusively with manufacturers holding ethical and sustainable certifications, as well as factories maintaining decent working conditions.
What strategies did you use to market and expand Penny Pairs into the popular brand it is today?
We definitely listen to our customers. Our decision to open retail stores in 2023 was driven by the desire of many customers to see our products IRL. Additionally, many of our designs are inspired by the preferences of our customers.
How do you incorporate feedback or insights from your customers while staying true to your brand values?
One example of insight we got from our customers is that there are many Filipinas who only have one piercing or aren’t allowed to get more than one piercing, so we continued to expand our Illusion Collection. Some of our brand values are empathy and elegance, which we endeavor to embody through our products.
How do you infuse your personal experiences and journey as a couple into the identity of Penny Pairs?
We believe that design is personal. As a couple, we draw a lot of inspiration from traveling, visiting museums, spending time in nature, and cultivating our personal style by immersing ourselves in various cities and cultures. Additionally, my personal experience of developing allergies from fast fashion jewelry has been a significant reason why we created the brand.
In what ways does your shared vision for the brand align with your shared vision for your relationship as a couple?
As a couple we really believe in having open communication and that’s definitely something we try to do as well as a brand. We try to make our content personal, approachable, and fun which is a big reflection of our personalities as well.
How do you envision the future of Penny Pairs, and what steps are you taking to ensure its continued success in the market?
We envision Penny Pairs becoming a household name, and our commitment involves expanding the brand in line with our customers’ preferences. Whether that entails opening more locations across the Philippines or globally, we’re enthusiastic about providing greater access to affordable, well-crafted jewelry.
Building a business as a couple can be both challenging and rewarding. What strengths do each of you bring to the table that have contributed to the success of your brand?
Cam’s strengths would probably be her creativity, enthusiasm, and passion for the brand. Then, Theo’s strengths would be his management, decision making, and critical thinking skills.
Can you share some significant milestones or moments that strengthened your bond as a couple while starting and growing a business?
During the first two years of the brand, it was just the two of us. A significant milestone for us would likely be the decision to start expanding our team. Transitioning from being hands-on ‘doers’ to more managerial roles not only facilitated the growth of the brand but also deepened our mutual understanding.
Balancing personal and professional life can be tough, especially when both are intertwined. How do you manage to maintain a healthy work-life balance together?
We maintain a healthy balance by consistently setting aside time for each other at the end of the day. Even when we spend the entire day working together, we make it a point to have dinner together and perhaps watch a show in the evening. Additionally, we exercise together daily and reserve one night a week for a date. Investing in our relationship is a top priority for us.
What role does mutual support and understanding play in your entrepreneurial journey? How do you support each other during demanding times?
During demanding times, we prefer to give each other a heads up when one of us is feeling overwhelmed, allowing us to assist in different ways. For instance, one person might take on errands such as cooking or grocery shopping. We consistently support each other in various ways to alleviate the other person’s workload.
As partners in both life and business, what strategies or practices have you implemented to ensure effective communication and maintain a harmonious relationship?
Definitely, setting aside time for a weekly date is crucial. This dedicated time allows us to discuss topics beyond the brand. Effective communication and genuine listening are essential for a harmonious relationship, and this practice provides us with the opportunity to do so.
How has building and growing this brand together strengthened your relationship or brought you closer as a couple?
Building and expanding this brand has revealed our strong alignment in core values. Through this journey, we’ve truly come to understand each other, discovering our shared enjoyment of working together and our mutual ability to inspire one another to strive for excellence in building the best possible brand for our customers. This experience has brought us closer as a couple, providing insights into how each of us responds during times of high stress or challenges. As a result, we feel more equipped to face anything life throws our way.
What advice would you give to other couples aspiring to start a business together based on your own experiences and lessons learned?
The advice we would give is to always remember that you have the same goal and you’re on the same team. Even if you have different perspectives, if both of you want the best for your business, listen to each other and try to see where the other person is coming from. Building a business together isn’t easy but it could be with the right person, the right communication, and respect for each other.
Looking ahead, what are your aspirations and goals for both your brand and your relationship, and how do you plan to achieve them together?
Our plan is to grow and develop the brand in response to our customers’ desires and requests. We aim to cater to many more Penny Pairs customers in the upcoming year. In our relationship, our aspiration is to maintain clear, loving, and open communication, as we firmly believe these are the keys to our success as a couple.
Are there any upcoming projects or plans for Penny Pairs that you’re excited about?
We’re truly excited to launch our solid gold and diamonds collection, dubbed ‘fine jewelry for a new generation.’ We strongly believe that jewelry shouldn’t be confined to a jewelry box; it should be worn every day. Most fine jewelry collections in the market are designed for special events. However, Penny Pairs’ collection will focus on solid gold and natural diamonds suitable for everyday wear. We’re thrilled about this launch because we also perceive that over the last 5 years, our customers have matured and may be ready to make this transition.
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