NOTHING beats a man who has overcome almost all obstacles in life there are to hurdle. Dante C. Baltazar is one such man forged on the anvil of hardships.
Though not exactly from a poor family, yet Dante wasn’t a man born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. Baltazar as a young businessman borrowed a personal loan of P3,000 from a local bank and after only three years, converted this capital into a P36-million business empire. After 13 years, would post some P20-million monthly gross sales? But this is getting ahead of the story.
Baltazar’s father was a World War II veteran, a USAFFE (US Armed Forces in the Far East) intelligence officer who was based in Cavite. His mother was a homemaker. But though Dante’s father was a US military officer, his roots from Cavite were mostly into business.
After he married the former Teresita Barbasa, he began learning the actual ropes of the trade—by selling seafood and fruits to his neighbors in Quezon City.
That same year, custom-made tailoring was ebbing, and with it, the era of Ready-to-Wear (RTW) began. Baltazar went into the RTW business by buying goods from Divisoria and selling them to anyone he can convince.
Dante has this unique business pulse, so unerring he could see gold where other could only see brass. “I saw a great potential in the RTW business,” he said. “Thus, I thought of making a personal loan of P3,000 from a local bank. Then, I bought raw materials from Divisoria and delivered these to my sewer-contractor who had his own tailoring shop. Then he had these sent to various Greenhills stores for them to sell through consignment.
Not contented with subcontracting, Baltazar decided to put up his own garments factory in May 1980. As such, he bought six small sewing machines, “which I bought from a garments factory like they were almost junk. I repaired these myself, and named my business City Suits Garments.”
He continues to tell his story: “With my own 20 sewers, my production output grew from 2,000 pieces a month to 15,000 pieces, with a value of around P600,000. My Metro Manila market expanded unbelievably wide—from Greenhills to Baclaran, Manuela-Las Piñas, Divisoria, Quinta Market, Ongpin and Cartimar in Pasay City.”
In 1981, he has practically phased-out all his small non heavy-duty machines, and replaced them with high-speed and special machines. Today, he employs 50 high-speed sewers capable of producing 40,000 pieces of shirts a month, valued at P3 million monthly.