If you have followed us from launch, you may have pretty much mastered the art of sprucing up your closets with uniq finds. Now, we feel, its time to pay attention to your homes, if you haven't already.
Your abode is a constant, an anchor. The items you choose to fill it with are the backdrop of your day-to-day lives. How you select and choose what goes in and how you piece them together is the exciting part.
Meet Mariel San Agustin. She's the brainchild of Domesticity, a well established, socially responsible Filipino company who's been bringing our homes beautiful wares crafted from indigenous materials for almost 10 years now. Before founding Domesticity, she honed her merchandising skills and eye for design at Area Home Store, one of the pioneering home and lifestyle concept stores in the Philippines.
Here at STU, we thrive on passion and Mariel is nothing short of passionate. Hers is focused on nurturing communities, enabling them to create beautiful products that give back.
We sat down with our new purveyor of the uniq for a little chat and welcomed her over a picnic spread!
You single-handedly founded Domesticity which we think is awesome and inspiring. Can you walk us through your career path?
I started my 'love affair' with furniture and furnishings during my first job after I graduated from college. I worked for Area Home Store, one of the pioneers of the Home & Lifestyle stores in the country. Side by side with some of the most creative minds and those who had the eye for great design. After 5 years, I felt my experiences have given me enough confidence to start something that I can call my own. Domesticity started in our sugar farm in Negros Occidental with only a handful working for me. I came with a grand plan of setting up a handicrafts company specializing in home products and providing extra income to sugar laborers working for our family for decades. I was faced with a lot of resistance and the realization that, not only did I have to set up my company, I had to change the mentality of these people for the better. Not everyone is open to change. With a great deal of patience and perseverance, I now have over 20 loyal employees working for me. In the last few years, Domesticity has graduated from a handicrafts company creating products for the home to a Social Enterprise that gives back to the people behind the product. It has given a whole new meaning to what I do every day.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
When I am working on a collection there are three things I always keep in mind : Beauty, Function & People. It is possible to have great designs for products that we use everyday. I've always been a practical person so my designs are somehow a reflection of my personality.... As it should be. I always create products that are timeless and useful with a bit of fun in it. I also believe in making our products affordable for everybody to enjoy and appreciate. At the end of the day, I always keep in mind the impact it has on the people producing the products, specifically awarding them with what they rightly deserve.
Being the newest member of the Seek the Uniq family, aside from curating pieces for our home category, it is important for me to know the story behind them. In the coming months, we will do our best to showcase beautiful designs that serve a great purpose.
You work from home. Any tips on making it work?
Aside from traveling to Negros Occidental several times in a year, I have always been working from my home. Working from home needs a lot more discipline compared to working in an office. You definitely need to create your own space that gives you a "work" atmosphere with out sacrificing your own style & personality. It could be really tempting to just procrastinate or not work at all when you're home. Luckily, I never really had a problem with that. Always keep your space free of clutter to bring in good Chi!
Where do you find inspiration?
I am most inspired after traveling! Visiting new places and meeting new people I feel have been the most enlightening. It is also one of the most educational experiences anyone can have.
Can you share some decorating tips to our seekers especially when on a tight budget?
The first step is to decide how you really want your space to look. It will save you a lot of time and of course money if you're sure of your own style. Try doing things on your own, like painting the walls or furniture. Invite some friends over to help you out. It can be a fun activity to have with them as well. By just re-painting your walls or furniture, you can give a whole new look to your space. You may also want to take a close look at what you already have before throwing them out. You can turn whatever you have now and repurpose it for something else. One example is using old jars and adding Xmas lights inside to serve as lighting in an enclosed space.
We are so happy to have you onboard. What can seekers expect from our Home Category now?
I'm passionate about bringing "uniq" finds that go beyond the aesthetics. I can assure you that you'll see more products that give back to communities and products made of sustainable materials. Seek the Uniq Home will serve as a venue for young and talented designers to showcase their beautiful products while giving all our seekers an opportunity to have them in their homes. I'm also excited to work and collaborate with them to bring you a lot more Seek the Uniq Exclusives. Watch out for it!
Our team is slowly but surely growing and we couldn't be more happy. When I met with Mariel, it was for Domesticity to be part of the STU home category. There was an instant meeting of the minds that I wrapped up with an invitation not only for Domesticity but for the woman behind the awesome brand as well. I had this whole profile in mind of our future purveyor to take command of our home category and Mariel just effortlessly fit the bill.
It was just a bonus that she, herself is also an avid seeker. Below she shares her favorite finds.
We have always believed that a stylish woman keeps an even more stylish home. May it be a sprawling bungalow or a shoe box condo unit, with designer furnishings or thrifted finds. We take it upon us to bring you handpicked objects and additions that help turn your house into a home. And with Mariel around, it will be a breeze.
Say hi to our new home purveyor! Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
**In light of the recent devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, a part of the proceeds from our home category will help support rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts of Gawad Kalinga in Leyte, Philippines.
Your Purveyor of the Uniq,