Recently I was privileged to speak to five Filipino-Australian creative entrepreneurs. We delved into the world of art from calligraphy, to design, to preserved flowers. We talked about passion and purpose- the raison d’etre – of their customised business and how by a serendipitous stroke their ideas became reality.
Celestine Gifts and Creations
Meet the dynamic husband and wife duo, Ariel, and Paula Victorio, the brains behind Celestine Gifts and Creations. They offer customised printing services from invites to personalised chocolate bars. Fresh from the Philippines, five years ago, Ariel, an engineer by trade has always been enthusiastic about events. As a family who loves to party and have a good time, he has a natural inclination for design paired with his wife Paula who is genuinely curious and does the research on what the latest trend is. You’ve got a winning combination.
Migrating to Australia offered them the opportunity to continue on what they’ve already started in the Philippines. With encouragement from the Church community, being new to Melbourne did not stop them from giving this a fair go. A way to offer a one-stop-shop for all your party needs from the invites down to the party favours. They are pretty flexible and can adapt to the client brief with ease and agility.
What sets Celestine apart from their counterparts is how personalised their service is. Operating out of their home, they will go the distance to meet the client brief. They don’t discriminate based on party size- for them the joy in being part of your celebration carries more weight than monetary gain. In true Filipino fashion, they manifest their hospitality by choosing to focus on what they can do rather than what their clients can do for them.
The bayanihan spirit is alive and well in this couple. They are completely sincere in their desire to take your celebration to the next level of customisation. Their main goal is to build their brand through building a sense of positivity and inclusivity – one client at a time.
It also helps that Ariel has a passion for photography and videography, they have a sister company -Valsite Imprints and Photography- who can document your special occasion. They also had their share of challenges, being a small business owner, work has to be balanced with family time. As parents to two children- a toddler and a young girl, their children always came first. This meant carving out time in the wee hours of the night to complete projects as both are working during the day. It helps that their focus has never wavered. To keep going despite the challenges and to always look at the bigger picture.
You can find them on Facebook @celestinegiftandcreations | email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Life Dawning
Vivien Dolar, Viv, to her friends is a charming ball of sunshine and light. She brims with positivity.
When asked how her little passion project came about, she was quick to mention that it came about organically. She is mostly self-trained, prided herself on good penmanship, and with the encouragement of friends, started an online shop as a way to spread His Word. Being a devout Catholic, New Life Dawning is her way of spreading His truth. Little reminders to keeping the faith strong.
As a bit of background, Vivien left her corporate life to pursue being a full-time missionary in Queensland for five years. It is there that New Life Dawning was born. She is currently undertaking her Masters in Spiritual Direction and is all about celebrating one of her favourite holidays of the year- Christmas. One of her popular additions are personalised glass baubles. Truth be told, I’ve personally never seen someone’s eyes sparkle as much as Vivien’s when talking about following one’s passion, utilising the talents one has been given.
What started as a way for her to spread the faith and nourish her creativity became an extension of her mission. The mission to turn people into looking at the glass as half full rather than half empty. It is a joy to give rather than receive. To look at life with an intention to focus on the positive.
If you like good quality work which can deepen your spiritual faith as well as brighten up your home with messages of love and light. Give New Life Dawning a go.
Blossom in all Seasons
Speaking to Mharnel Montemayor after hours proved to be a joy. Having been introduced by a mutual friend, Eunice, Mharnel was kind enough to talk me through how Blossom in All Seasons came to be. An accountant for PwC looking after risk, she got to flex her creative muscles by investing in preserved flowers. When asked how it all started, she shared that she was not coping well with the lockdown. She had a friend in Manila who introduced the idea of preserved flowers as an outlet for her to express herself.
As the lockdown in Victoria continued to be extended, so did her devotion to this newfound craft.
After having a bad experience with overseas suppliers, she decided to stick to the local ones and support local businesses. At present, all her suppliers can be found in Australia. When it comes to customisation, the first conversation would be about the colour scheme and the client’s vision. Mharnel would be transparent in advising the type of stock she currently has and together they would create a design that would meet the client’s brief.
What I love about Mharnel’s designs are the Filipino names she gives all her arrangements. She has an Adelaida, Lualhati, and Rita to name a few. As a way for her to keep in touch with her Filipino roots. As a mother to a four-year-old, it was important to her to still have a balanced life. Being proud of her heritage, she seeks to inculcate the same values in her son. The introduction of Filipino names is a start. It has been a great conversation piece to link up with our kababayans and as a gateway to our culture when she has non-Filipino clients.
When asked about the future, she was quick to share that she was doing this not for profit, rather as a way to utilise the creative side of her brain.
Life and Scribbles/ La Casa Riviera
When you’re inspired, you write it down so you’ll always remember. This is what Erica Carreon Aclan did as a matter of course. No frills, just write what you feel. This was the genesis of Life and Scribbles – sharing whatever message the Lord had for her. In her youth, Erica was a Youth leader for Youth For Christ. And it was in this mission that she was able to further develop her talents. Much to no one’s surprise, Life and Scribbles, has always been a reflection of her faith journey. A way for her to spread His message.
Being blessed with great penmanship and an eye for design, Erica once considered a career in shapes and colours. She decided against it as she preferred to have inspiration unstifled. Prior to going on maternity leave, she is a teacher by trade. She believes shaping the minds of the next generation is her mission.
Life and Scribbles focuses on signage for parties and celebrations. She also has a range of greeting cards that can lift your mood with their positive messages.
Now, this isn’t all that this woman does, what started as a side project turned into a community of like minded people on instagram. When new mum started La Casa, she did this with the intention of documenting their journey of building their forever home from scratch. She started sharing her vision – think of it as an online mood board but for houses and furniture design. As she continued to post, her love for clean lines and simple but elegant spaces caught the attention of the online community. Now with over 3k subscribers grown with no marketing and sponsorship, La Casa is your go to if you want to peek into Erica’s creative mind as she goes through the process of building her family’s forever home. She now takes orders for 2D personalised house illustrations which customers are embracing either as a housewarming gift or a keepsake of their current/old homes.
READ MORE: Art for a cause