CHELSEY CEDENO: A Journey Handcrafted With Love

Instead of seeing failure and pain as things that could weigh you down, why not change your perspective and consider these as opportunities and doors to new beginnings? If you are not ready to face the real world now, when? Fail many times but always get back stronger & wiser. Today is the day you should strive to establish your name and your brand. – Chelsey Cedeno incorporated these things into her mindset and that is how she made a name for herself in the creative industry.

“Start building your connections. Practice while you're still a student. If you are not going to start now, when? If you are not ready to face the real world now, when? Establish your name as young as you are today.”

Master, Practice, and Develop Your Art

Chelsey Cedeno is a creative director, designer, and the CEO of Walnutph and Poppy Kitchenette.  She is a bubbly, young entrepreneur, full of ambition, goals, and perseverance to make her dreams come to fruition. She was born and raised in the Queen City of the South and has a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. At a very young age, Chelsey already started showing interest in business and arts. She would carry her makeshift cash register crafted out of used cardboard around at school, calling their teacher’s attention for selling stickers and hand-made VIP cards to her classmates.

During her first year of college, selling stuff online through Instagram and doing meetups to deliver orders were a big hit, and that motivated Chelsey to start her first proper business online, in partnership with her best friend. Sadly, they had to give it up as the pressures and demands of college life had become overwhelming. Nonetheless, around her third year of college, she started opening her heart to business once again as if to make it some sort of a worthwhile distraction.

After earning her degree, she went to practice her craft in the field of Interior Design. Initially, she worked for a real estate CEO where gaining experiences and furthering her career were her utmost priorities – earning a huge amount of money was the least of them. She was hungry for knowledge that even when she encountered trials, she would treat them as opportunities to learn and tried as much as she can to fix her own mistakes. Chelsey believes that a businesswoman has to have discipline and self-awareness, because if one has these, the rest of the skills will naturally follow. At some point in the future, she started a blog website where she posted an article she wrote about the Life of an Interior Designer Student. She taught her readers the importance of building your network by establishing connections, practicing your craft, and honing your skills as early as you can.

“Master the art. Practice the art. Develop the art. That’s what people will pay you for."

“There will be moments where we are in our full blast boss-babe-strong-independent-woman mode but still have the tendency to be harsh not just to our choices [ourselves] but also to our team, friends, and family. Self-awareness will help you identify these actions and acknowledge mistakes.”

Pack Lighter and Go Further

In the middle of it all, Chelsey was not quite satisfied yet with the things that kept her occupied. This prompted her to start her most successful project yet – Walnutph – where she sells personalized lifestyle products like pouches, bags, and wooden organizers. Walnutph is an online brand with a bold mission  – “Pack lighter and go further.” Each product is personalized and handmade with love. This involves a tedious process from cutting the metal sheets and buffing the edges to stamping each letter onto those one-by-one, punching holes in them, and finally attaching them to the product. When her little business started to flourish, she started doing giveaways and explored more ways to elevate her overall brand. It is definitely remarkable how most of these things happened when she was just nineteen years old and had to juggle work, responsibilities, and studies.

“My brand is not limited to women. As much as possible, I cater to all walks of life. It is more than just the vision & mission… it is the sum of feelings that people have when they encounter my brand. My brand is for every Filipino trying to survive the daily struggles of life, startup entrepreneurs and local brands.”

Inclusion and Innovation

Chelsey aims to be inclusive in that she created her brands to empower people from all walks of life. She loves to innovate and enthusiastically spearheads the constant improvement of their products for Walnutph from choosings colors and canvassing materials to designing and crafting their products. Meanwhile, their purpose for Project Create and her Food Business is the empowerment of smalls business and startup entrepreneurs. Chelsey has always wanted to put up a cute siomai place that offers affordable food and she is delighted that she has one now.

“With these brands I created, dapat with love and gwapa tanan!”

It would take a long time to write all of the things Chelsey has found challenging in her career but if she had to name the biggest one, it would be the way she would choose the people who will work for and with her. Chelsey holds that entrusting the workings of your business to the wrong hands may harm you and your business. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trusting the people that make up your team but what’s important is that trust should be coupled with responsibility and you have to furthermore be vigilant at all costs. She also regards that it is crucial for a business in the retail industry to have insurance, as well as a strict and efficient inventory and management system. Additionally, having a lawyer to handle legal documents will save a businessowner a lot of headaches in the future.

Chelsey also recalls how big of a challenge it is to push oneself in the journey towards pursuing a dream, especially if you end up taking your mental health for granted in the process. With that, her biggest advice is to surround yourself with the right people – your family, your friends whom you can trust, and even the right partner. It is also pivotal to set boundaries in every aspect of your life, and this rule clearly applies to your businesses.

“Your environment, who you talk to, and who you sit with during lunch or coffee breaks can affect your day to day life. Learn to set boundaries.”

Chelsey’s Project Create encourages all startup brands to join them in Project Create – they aim to help these businesses grow as they design lifestyles and create stories. The most recent event that Chelsey and her team held was a Donation Drive for the Affected Families in Carcar and Malabuyoc, Cebu where they have gathered a total of 54,000 pesos, with which they have been able to extend help to 160 families affected by the typhoon.

Your brand is a reflection of who truly are, and Chelsey deems that each brand is unique. Looking back on her life five years ago, she has found that it is far different from the life that she has right now – and for all the right reasons. Chelsey is more than proud of what she has become, and she is not ashamed of all the distractions, the failures, and the pain that she went through to get where she is now.

“I always see failure as an opportunity and a door to new beginnings. It’s a sign to revise your strategy in life. The Chelsey 5 years ago is still the same Chelsey now, but she is more experienced – she is stronger and wiser this time.”

Follow Chelsey Cedeno

Project Create
Facebook: Project Create
Instagram: @projectcreateph
Facebook: Walnut ph
Poppy Kitchenette 
About The Author
Katrina Faith S. Beo

Katrina Faith S. Beo

Kaye is an accountant and a freelance wedding and events singer. She is passionate for the arts, especially theater art. She is a writer and an editor of online English reading content. She loves music and aspires to produce her own soon. Connect with her on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariakatrinafaith

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