July 27, 2016

Gearing up for its first anniversary, Common Room gathered its partners over the last few weekends to share a little bit about their stories.

Last July 23, it was Milk Co Ph's turn, together with Tish of Sqooid, Nikki of Tweed and Twine, Marvz of Habil, Ella Lama, Denver Garza, and John of Make it Up. It was the biggest group so far (thanks to Milk!) and the intense session wrapped up two hours late. Introductions for each of us lasted about 3 minutes minimum and from that bit alone you can guess how much info and inspo we got from each other. <3

We had 3 visitors that day: Mars, an 11 year old crafts bazaar junkie and a doodler/letterer. We also had Jev, an IT professional who dabbles in lettering, and Camille, a professional in the printing industry who wants to jump into art.

Topics ranged from lola's hobbies, to childhood histories, to life-altering decisions. Here are some of the things I picked up from the session:

      1. Start 'em young

        While some of us didn't get into making until recently, a handful of us were into into crafting and business at an early age.

            • Ella Lama: The Entrepreneur aka Mukhang Pera.
            • Tish made makeshift flute cleaners out of sticks and glue sticks.
            • Noni sold bead works in class. Eventually, the bead kit was confiscated, ending my career prematurely.


        Ella Lama talks about her "Entrepreneurial spirit". Note: Chikay's face.

      2. #ImTired

        The Seasoned Pros of Making namely Roma of PopJunkLove and Common Room, and Nikki of Tweed and Twine, shared how hard it was to be a maker back then (about 10 years ago). It took almost a decade of bazaars, career shifts, and reaching out to build their brand. Note: We will get a lot of #ImTired moments but we have to keep pushing ourselves to grow.

      3. On copycats:

        Nothing is truly original, but what do you do when somebody copies your work?

            • Is the style the same? Are elements too similar? Are they making money out of it? Then by all means, reach out to them. #BoycottZara #SupportTuesdayBassen #SupportIndieArtists
            • But here's another way to look at it (c/o Roma) Yes, they copied 1 work that you've already done. But you know that there's more to you than that artwork. In some cases, it's just better to let go and move on to your next piece.


        Cheryl Owen shares her experiences.

      4. Trends and classics:

        Many of us fear that once the maker/lettering trend has passed, we would no longer be relevant to our audience. Some thoughts:

          • Roma: Stick with it, until you're the go-to person. 100% agree with this, just keep at it until you've mastered the skill.
          • John: What makes a classic? It's something you've bought or experienced in childhood. When you grow up and see it again, it's an instant classic.
      5. Day job or Take the leap?

        It's easy to just flip the table and leave your job. But when reality sets in you realize that money is well, life. Some tips from the freelance artists Ella, Tish, and Cheryl and my point of view as well:

          • Make sure you have at least 6 months worth of savings before you jump. Take care of yourself first, strive not to become a starving artist.
          • In my case, I continually do my crafts without giving up my day job. There's a million things to learn from a great office or mentor that you can't do so on your own.


        Tish of Sqooid talks about her innovation stories

      6. On passions

        Denver Garza was a clinical psychologist (and a Postgraduate student) before he became a full-time artist. When you find your passion, go at it at a 100%.

      7. Your time will come

        For most of us, things have come full circle. Things that you've experienced or learned about yourself will eventually lead you to where you're supposed to be. Tiwala lang.


Nikki capturing Chikay's (Couch!) moment. hihi #MilkIyakers



Book ends by Habil that I want to steal. I swear.

Habil comes from the Latin word Habilis which means skillful. This person definitely embodies SKILLS and doesn't forget to share. Idol Marvz!

So that's it for the Kapihan Sessions! It was a very, very inspiring morning for all of us. And don't forget, it's Common Room's 1st birthday this weekend, drop by the Katipunan/Rockwell branch and say hi! 🙂


Follow the table clockwise: Camille, Roma, Noni, Nikki, Denver, Marvz, John, Marie, Ella, Chikay, Cheche, Nat, Jev, Tish