We’ve spoken in great detail on how the current lockdown has fatally hit the events industry as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have put thousands out of work. In order to cope with the indefinite pause put on their livelihood, professionals and employees from the field have resulted to taking up alternative jobs to provide for their day-to-day. You’ve heard of a wedding planner turned online food seller. In a similar pursuit, these wedding photographers have also turned to the internet to bring up their newfound business.
Patricia Abad and Billy Gupita, a couple who were admittedly hit hard by the ongoing crisis, decided to rise up from the industry slump by using their love for decorating and turning it into a full fledged online furniture business. “Since we started last June we only saw few online shops that cater to furniture particularly in Instagram. And because we all love decorating and rearranging our homes, what better way to do it than buying new furniture! So we took the risk, and we’re glad we did,” Patricia tells Preview.
Dubbed Alabaster, their online Instagram shop features a carefully handpicked and curated inventory of (mostly) midcentury designed furniture pieces. Having started their entire business with just the P15,000 from their own pockets, this couple proves that with hard work and a goal in mind, it’s possible to start a new venture no matter your current age or occupation. An especially vital mindset given the world's ongoing situation.
To find out more about Alabaster, Preview talks to Patricia, one of its co-founders below.
What’s Alabaster all about in terms of its overall branding/theme?
"We don’t sell items that we’ll eventually regret to keep if it doesn’t sell. So really, it’s all curated and carefully handpicked. We want to be an easy compass online shop for everyone. We want this shop to be recognized as a passion project turned business. We want our shop to spark interest for people to study and learn more about designs. Even though our main goal is to sell midcentury design pieces as it will not go out of the spotlight anytime soon, we wouldn’t like to limit our offerings to that only. We want to explore and expand our knowledge more about furniture."
What makes it different from other furniture brands?
"I’ve read in an article that, to say you specialize in everything goes against the very idea of specialization. After all, to specialize means you’re focusing on one particular area of practice. We just want to have a personal touch on this business by sharing our journey too as new furniture collectors. I think we don’t see a lot of businesses that add [their own] personal approach."
Do you plan on sustaining your business even after the pandemic?
"We have already experienced how challenging it is to keep our financial wheels turning during this pandemic. As a couple with big dreams, we cannot afford to lose our bread and butter now. This wasn’t just born out of this pandemic, and we’re 100% committed to this even when things get back to normal. As they say, you wouldn’t stop something you enjoy doing."
What’s your advice to those looking to start their own small business right now?
"Finding what you are passionate about is a journey in itself. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t like what you see yet. Keep trying, and trying and trying. If you find your passion, or find yourself hot on its trail, don’t give it up. Never stop learning and trust yourself that you can do it. Sometimes opportunity knocks only once so you better give it a shot."
For more information, check out their Instagram page here.