The pandemic has signaled trends and crazes that none of us could have imagined a few years back. From the likes of Dalgona Coffee to houses of plantitas and plantitos that now sport the bukid look, whatever was popular reflected the crowd’s coping mechanisms to deal with the current realities brought by COVID-19. While some trends were a flash in the pan, others proved to be far more worthy and surpassed being a fad. Case in point: Home improvement through tips, hacks and DIYs that eventually evolved into a massive growing community on Facebook called Home Buddies.
Frances Lim Cabatuando was simply hoping to start a personal Instagram blog on her journey to independent living, which involves decorating and filling up her home. Through taking notice of her fast-growing IG followers and the stack of queries regarding her furniture and home improvement suggestions, she decided to instead create the Facebook group for better discourse.
FYI, the group only started in September 2020! The initial intention was to merely form a space where the members, including Frances, would take up a challenge called the “Minimalism Game” where each member would decide on items to declutter from their homes. However, to Frances and the OG members' surprise, the group’s purpose became more than just that. As more and more entered their community of kapitbahays, a path was paved for more topics and activities to follow. The likes of “budol” finds that hit the MMM (mura, maganda and matibay) mark and DIY’s to make your humble items at home more fancy looking were amongst subjects that were popular. Budol here pertains to instances where you buy something you don’t necessarily need.
Home Buddies is a space that acts as a beneficially amusing and warm community to its one million members. It is also home to many shopping advice, makeover and organizing ideas, witty queries and a bunch of wholesome posts from proud owners who’ve newly renovated their homes. Here at Home Buddies—as the creator, Frances, takes pride in—everybody is part of the conversation.
Below, we talk more to Home Buddies’ very own Mayora, Frances, about the group’s success, most talked about topics, best recommended home items, and more!
1. The group has gained so much popularity that even celebrities have joined in! Did you expect such a big number of members in the beginning and what do you think caused the spike?
“No, definitely not! I imagined it to be a small community for my Nobi Home followers lang talaga. In the beginning pa, we were just playing the Minimalism Game where we inspire each other to declutter together. Now, it's such a totally different group, but still very uplifting and inspiring. The spike was caused by the members rin naman, and also with a bit of help and a push from mga influencers and celebrities who enjoyed the group. The recent big spike is because of Slater Young and our KMJS feature! Thank you, Ms. Jessica Soho!”
2. Since the commencement of the group, what are the themes or topics that you’ve found members are most interested about?
“People are so interested in Minimalist Scandinavian and Kahoy Aesthetic these days, so that's very patok. You can search for #TeamPutiPuti and #TeamKahoy, and you'll find a lot. People are also interested in cheap or sulit budol finds and where to get the best deals. Appliances are also a big hit—like mga vacuums, robot vacuums, air purifiers, electric fans, etc. Basically, all things to improve life at home in an affordable way.”
3. There seems to be a lot of “budol” posts/items in the group. What are some of your favorite shared “budol” items?
“The toilet projector is my current fave! I think what's uso in the group right now are: All Home's mahiwagang timba, the Asahi kahoy fan, Golden Manok a.k.a Manok ni Bea (Alonzo), kahoy wallpaper, and the Deerma vacuum. 'Yan very sikat! But me, my latest budol is the Toshiba Mini Dishwasher—and it's super life changing! Nabudol din ako ng smart home stuff, to the point na even my kurtina is voice controlled na!”
4. There are a lot of “friendly rivalries” between some themes in the group. What are your favorites and which team are you?
“I'm both #TeamPutiPuti and #TeamKahoy and minsan, #TeamSanaAll! Natawa ako sa person who said #TeamDENR though! Favorite ko rin yun!”
5. Were you ever a consumer of a post in the group? Can you share one memorable and particular time?
“Definitely! Yung kahoy wallpaper got to me talaga. After seeing a few DIY samples, I made everything “kahoy” na din. My art frames, mirror, the back of my buffet table—lahat gusto ko na i-wallpaper!”
6. Where did the idea of making weekly/monthly events (e.g. Budolletin Board, Friendsgiving Day) come from?
“Home Buddies kasi is not just a Facebook group—it's a real community except it's online. So, I try to create activities that bring the community together. Monday Market is the time where people can sell in the group, and this is how we support SMEs (small medium enterprises). The Budolletin Board is where you get the best promos and deals so everyone can get the best budols. Friendsgiving Day naman is where people can give gifts to each other, for them to help out or make friends. These events are important to ensure that people get a chance to support and interact with each other.”
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