Mr. Jonathan Jay Aldeguer, like many tourists, had a natural compulsion to buy souvenirs. It was on one of his travels, that his entrepreneurial eye spotted its universality and a huge potential for a new business. He realized that souvenirs comprised a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide, yet, there was not a single major brand that offered premium quality souvenirs, particularly in the Philippines. The industry lacked creativity in design, visual merchandising, quality and branding.
In 1992, Mr. Aldeguer established Island Souvenirs. The shop deviated from the ethnic-looking designs which were the norm, and showcased the Philippines as a sunny and tropical country. He packaged his products as a totality of the unique experience of a locality, reflecting its dynamic personality. In just one year, Islands Souvenirs’ sales grew by 300% and expanded to malls and in various places around the country.
The company also began operating internationally and opened outlets in Japan, Macau, US and Singapore at the invitation of the Singaporean Government. Mr. Aldeguer has also created other tourism-oriented companies that complement Islands Souvenirs. These are Islands Souvenirs International, Inc.; Franchise Ventures, Inc.; Islands Pasalubong Center; and Destinations Media, Inc. He also embarked on co-branding marketing efforts in tourism-related activities with Cebu Pacific, ABS-CBN, Globe Telecom, SM and Sony Ericsson.
Mr. Aldeguer has received numerous recognitions for leading the company. He was the youngest to be awarded as TOYM for Business Entrepreneurship. He was also awarded as Entrepreneur Philippines’ 10 Most Outstanding Filipino Entrepreneurs and has received an Agora Award for Business Entrepreneurship. Recently, Mr. Aldeguer received recognition of International Young Design Entrepreneur of the Year – Philippines by the British Council. He was also given the Tourism Kalakbay Award and the Entrepreneur of the Year Tourism award by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Islands Souvenirs has been cited three times as the Outstanding Retailer of the Year by the Philippine Retailers Association and the Department of Trade and Industry for its excellence in visual merchandising, operational excellence, customer service and store concept. The company has also been named into the Outstanding Retailers Hall of Fame. In the next five years, Aldeguer envisions Islands Souvenirs as a one-stop shop which sells souvenirs, novelty items, food and travel services.