Bea de Jesus
Owner of Abaca

Where do you live

Manila, Philippines

What is the story of your brand and how would you like it to evolve

Abaca started out of a love for traditionally made goods, all handmade and those that reflect a certain history, of both a place and a group of people. Living in the Philippines, which is so rich in culture and history, it was initially not so common to find locally made products embraced and celebrated as much as foreign brands. This leads to a decline in the number of craftsmen and traditional practices due to lack of support--we still see this happening, with a huge percentage of craftsmen being in their 50's, 60's.. so I always wanted to find a way to make these traditionally made goods more applicable to the current market. Now, there is definitely an uptrend for the locally made, we see a stronger movement towards supporting everything local, which makes me happy. I do want to continue to find more untapped materials and makers, but also evolve into new styles while still staying true to our beliefs.

What inspires you and helps you get into a creative flow

Traveling inspires me a lot--it is through travel we get to see new things and new ways of doing things. Sadly, I haven't been able to travel much since we started, our team is tiny and it's hard to leave work behind for long periods. While I can't travel, I do read and browse through a lot of books and archival images to get inspired. Old images and objects have always fascinated me. There are times when I'm just not feeling it and I think it's important to step back and get away from time to time--but for times when I cannot get away, music, too, is really important to induce a sense of flow and mood, depending on what I'm working on or need to get done. 

What is the message that you want to express through your product/service

From the beginning, I've always loved handmade things, things which a certain group of people took time to come up with, to develop and hone. They're largely inspired, if not fully motivated by their surrounding landscape, which I think is beautiful--the connection between objects, the people that make them and their environment. These goods reflect places and culture perfectly, as they are made from naturally occurring materials native to the region in which they are made. I'd like for people to see the importance of things that took time to create. Sometimes pieces can seem hollow. They're made so quickly, thrown away so quickly. Everything so instant and disposable. Mass production just takes away the story a piece can have, and it is beautiful to be surrounded by things that have a story behind them, that literally took years, decades to develop.

What does the word beauty evoke for you 

It's hard to put into words, but I guess beauty to me is something that triggers a certain emotion. 

What is a motto/quote you are living by right now

A word I'm always trying to keep in mind is Balance. 




Lora Villanueva