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    #HeyjowQuarantineCorners: Las Arca founder Max, on evolving ideas and spaces

    #HeyjowQuarantineCorners: Las Arca founder Max, on evolving ideas and spaces

    For a good part of the year, our homes have become our daily workspace – and for entrepreneurs like Max Ignacio-Liwanag, her home has become an extension of their headquarters. Max is the founder of Las Arca, a brand known for beautifully curated gift boxes, which she started in the dining room of her dad’s house 3 years ago.


    She shares with us how she and her team have adapted to working remotely and what ideas they were able to come up with while in quarantine. She also tells us about an exciting new chapter for Las Arca – and gives us a sneak peek of their dream office space.


    What’s the story behind Las Arca?

    “It’s a small business idea I came up with in 2017, back when I was selling off the remaining stocks I had from an old business I was folding. I was bundling my product with other gift items and when it was time to package them up, I thought wooden boxes were really pretty.”

    “It took me a month to find a good factory that would do the wooden boxes for me, which turned out to be the business’ R&D, then when I was done with the bundle, I realized this was what I wanted to do. I pooled the last of my savings to buy more stuff that I could turn into gifts and built my first Instagram page and we haven’t stopped since!”



    “In the 3 years we’ve been doing this, we’ve produced thousands of gifts and have really found our calling. To this day, this is something I look forward to doing at the beginning of every day.”

    What have you been doing in your space since lockdown?

    “Our space has not been the same! We used to hold all operations in this 100sqm apartment but now I split operations between the main office and my home. We’ve managed to retain our work flow by communicating more fluidly and have taken on the task of generating reports for even the smallest details so that any one of us can have access to work information that would otherwise be readily available if we were physically at work.”  


    “I run the business side of my job in my home office. Sometimes I take on gift assembly work when my team is fully loaded, too. I set up my station in our dining room, which oddly enough, is where I started Las Arca back in my dad’s home.”

    After living in such closed quarters day in and out, did you notice a shift in the flow of your workspace on how it is used and did you do something to change it?

    “The biggest change happened in my home. Since working remotely, I’ve had to spend more time on my vanity, which doubles as my work desk. Most of the spaces in my house have multitasked as well. Our dining room has been converted to an assembly area and our guest room is now storage for gift boxes, too. It’s a small price to pay for the convenience of having our stock within reach. I still try to ferry gift boxes and inventory to the office as much as possible, but I only do it once a week so things will inevitably pile up in my house, but I do it anyway to keep my house feeling like a home and not a second branch of my office.”

    A peek into Maxine's home, as seen on Las Arca's Instagram Page

    “I’ve only cleared out the guest room yesterday after having boxes there for the past 8 months! Though I don’t think I’ll be able to remove myself from the vanity table anytime soon.”

    In what ways did the quarantine inspire new ideas?

    “Quarantine brought on hundreds of ideas! Your brain just goes on overdrive when you have nothing to do all of a sudden.” 

    “Around 4 months ago, we took the leap and decided to finally move to a different location in a commercial building where we’ll have a bigger work space for the team. We’ll be able to welcome customers in a space that better represents Las Arca. This was brought to life by Moss Design House. Their vision just clicked with our brand.”

    A sneak peek of Las Arca’s new office designed by Moss Design House

    “We’ve launched so many new things under Las Arca in the last 5 months of being back to work—the budget series, Tierra, our line of dried bouquets, and new partners on Casa, our home line. For the rest of 2020, we’ll take it slow and focus on the office move but we have a very big launch coming next year. The idea was spawned by quarantine and the new normal so that’s something to look forward to.”

    Floral arrangement from Las Arca's TIERRA line



    Follow Las Arca on Instagram: @lasarca.ph

    #HeyjowQuarantineCorners: Rainne and her humble shop Home Love Point

    #HeyjowQuarantineCorners: Rainne and her humble shop Home Love Point

    Rainne Lorenzo has always had an eye for beauty – and her previous stint as a magazine editor allowed her to use this skill in coming up with compelling stories. Her business venture, a little shop called Home Love Point, started as a weekend project with her husband Jovel (who is a veteran photographer), then side-hustle, and now it’s a full-fledged mini enterprise with a newly-opened physical store. Rainne gives us a peek inside her store and shares some practical tips for work-from-home mamas.

    What have you been doing in your space since the lockdown?

    "The lockdown enabled me to focus on growing my little Instagram shop. noticed there was an increase in interest on my products at Home Love Point, which are mostly Japanese dinnerware. I was quite busy not only trying to offer what items are available from the shop but also getting in touch with my suppliers, which became very difficult. Aside from setting up a homeschool corner for my son, I also set up a portion of our home to be my official office/ storage area for all my wares. I commissioned someone to create a new table and cabinet and set up a more workable space."

    "The biggest change for me was setting up a physical shop. Home Love Point has always existed via Instagram, but I found myself being offered the opportunity that I might not be able to do otherwise if it weren’t for our new normal. It was really time to have a store because new stocks were always coming in – and our home just won’t be able to accommodate all of it."

    What was your inspiration for creating the look of your shop?

    "I wanted to create a “tiny shop feel” surrounded by greens where people can pretty much go and find themselves a bowl, plate or mug that brings them joy. I did not change anything in the shop - the space looked like it was made for me: glass walls, open shelves, and a large charming cabinet. The crockeries I had just gave the shop more life and character. "

    What are your design plans for your store? 

    "My shop is a work in progress – and we’re still on soft opening! It’s a charming space at only 6.5 sqm., which makes it both easy and hard to decorate. I can’t put too many non-essentials (creating a counter was a challenge!) but I already know how I want people to see the store and that’s a place where they can find something pretty and interesting in the smallest corners of the shop - and hopefully find something that really speaks to them."

    What are your tips for work-from-home mamas like you? 

    "I’ve been working from home for the past 8 years and I admit it’s not easy. It’s hard to put a structure in the things you do simply because work overlaps with things to do at home. Keep to a schedule, create a comfortable space where you can work and design it depending on your preference." 


    Follow Home Love Point on Instagram: @homelovepoint

    Home Love Point is located at FRDC Building, 106 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., Brgy Ugong, Pasig City. 

    #HeyjowQuarantineCorners: Ninna's Home School

    #HeyjowQuarantineCorners: Ninna's Home School

    Every new adventure requires preparation. Homeschooling is one of them, and that involves organizing your home in a way that encourages exploration, creativity, and learning.

    Even before the pandemic Ninna was already homeschooling Casey, her eldest child.

    She shared with us some tips on how to be a Home School Mom, and gave us a look into her home and home classroom.

    Ninna's home office (left)  and pretty nooks in their home

    Ninna’s educational watercolor art prints that you can order at @ninnadelmundoart

    Follow Ninna on Instagram: @ninnadelmundoart

    #HeyjowQuarantineCorners: Sarsa's New Concept by JP and Camille Anglo

    Since the quarantine started, most of us had to look for ways to adapt to our new reality. We asked Camille Anglo and her husband, JP Anglo, owner of Sarsa Kitchen  on how they transformed their restaurant into a lifestyle market.

    Sarsa restaurant is known for their best traditional Filipino and Negrense dishes, done with a contemporary touch.

    The power couple were able to pivot their business and stay productive, even during these uncertain times.

    "Sarsa Stockroom started because during the start of lockdown, we literally had to sell some stuff from our stockroom just so that we could liquidate them, and we just continued to do it after." Camille shares.

    Along with dine-in by reservations with a set menu, Sarsa now also sells fruits and vegetables, plants, dinnerware, home decor, and apparel among other things.

    "I guess we just all gotta be resilient these times and do anything to keep the lights on, diba." Camille shares.

    What changes did you have to make during the lockdown? Let us know in the comments.


    Sarsa Kitchen Instagram: @sarsakitchen

    #HeyjowQuarantineCorners: Inside an Expat's Nordic-Inspired Manila Home

    There is an upside to spending our days at home: we can finally clean, declutter and even redesign our spaces. This new series called #HeyjowQuarantineCorners aims to inspire creativity and joyful living at home despite what's happening in the world right now. Let's explore these beautiful spaces together, which have been generously shared with us by friends. 


    Interior designer expat and founder of the blog Chuzai Living, Kaho's Manila home is inspired by Nordic design with minimalist sensibilities.

    "When we moved to our current home in Manila, it was already furnished, and the big furniture pieces already came with the house" shared Kaho. "I painted some rooms, ordered customized slipcovers, and decorated in white to give our home our personal character. I also added natural materials to incorporate local design"

    "I like white furniture like those in our landing to brighten a room.  At the same time, I love using black as an accent color in interior design.  Black adds a modern, edgy feel to a space." 

    "Since the lockdown started in Manila, I have purged and reorganized our home room by room. I was also able to deep clean and redecorate the kids' shared bathroom." shared Kaho.

    "My girls and I redecorated the 2nd floor balcony together. I added a desk and chairs so that my older two girls can study there. We also started using our patio outside the dining room, which we never had before. My family and I sometimes eat breakfast or lunch there now, which has been a nice alternative to eating out."

    Kaho uses a rainbow blanket designed by Amber of A Momma Abroad for Abel .

    "As we started spending days inside our house, it definitely shifted the flow of our home. Our family room became a gathering space where we enjoyed watching TV together as a family after dinner every night.  We've never allowed our children to watch TV during the week before COVID-19, so my husband and I introduced it to our children as a new routine for the new normal." Kaho shares.

    "We feel fortunate that the process of adapting ourselves to a new life in Manila was smooth and easy. It's been lovely to live in a city where people have friendly smiles all the time." Kaho shares when asked about life in Manila as an expat. "As for inspiring discoveries, I love the tropical island design that is unique to the Philippines. The beauty of modern tropical jungle with a beachy vibe is what I have embraced."


    Kaho's home is a product of how you can complement and mix your personal style with a house that has its own charm in itself.

    Which part of Kaho's house is your favorite? Share it in the comments!


    Visit Kaho's blog: www.chuzailiving.com