If I were to launch my very own business, it would surely be out of something that makes me happy. I can only imagine the challenges of keeping a business alive and if I don’t love what I’m doing one hundred percent, then I don’t see any point in starting in the first place. This week’s featured shop is yet another proof of a business born from the love of the craft – and if you’ve been frequenting Instagram lately, you may already be familiar with that thing called macramé.
Well, Franz del Rosario didn’t plan to be in the macramé business, but what began as a summer hobby turned out to be the beginning of a beautiful venture called Simple Sentiments. Let’s get to know more about the maker behind the name:
What’s the story behind the shop name?
Not much actually. I’ve always liked the word “simple” and I wanted another word that appeals to emotions.
How did you learn macrame and how long have you been doing this?
I started macramé as a hobby summer of 2017. I studied macramé by watching some tutorials online and then I developed my skills further through practice. So it’s been a year already.
What inspired you to start this business?
I was an HR practitioner before. I made macramé as a sideline during the Christmas season of 2017. I quit my job February of 2018 because I noticed orders coming in even after the holiday season and thought that this might be a good sign. I wanted to start a business that I will not get bored with and I’ve always been good at arts and crafts so it made sense to take a gamble and make a livelihood out of it.
Do you make all your products or do you have a team who makes them?
I make and handle everything myself – from buying the materials, making the products and to managing my social media accounts.
What kinds of materials do you use for your creations? Are these locally sourced?
Most of what I use is just cotton rope. A few wooden sticks/dowels and sometimes leather to accentuate. All of them are locally sourced and as far as I know, they are also locally produced.
Is there a conscious effort to be as eco-friendly as possible?
Yes, there is. Almost all of the materials I use are natural and biodegradable. I try to minimize the use of plastic in packaging unless the customer requests. I even keep all scrap materials and make something out of them to avoid waste.
What are your top 3 favorite picks from your shop?
I would say the wall hangings, bags, and plant hangers.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
Biggest challenge was to keep tab on everything. Every order, deadline, current project and collaboration. It helps to write it down so you have a quick reference.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love the fact that I am able to sustain myself with this business while having a fun time. I am free to experiment with new things and see them develop with the brand.
Is there anything you dislike about it?
Probably just the cotton lint you get when you work with cotton rope. I have to regularly broom my workspace to keep the dust at a minimum.
Can you share with us the process of creating these items?
It all starts with sourcing the materials. I then prep the workspace and the materials I’ll use. For every project/product, I need to know how much material and time I’ll spend. From there, it’s just making hundreds and hundreds of knots until done.
I usually play all the songs in my Spotify playlist at full volume. It helps to keep me focused and awake when working even at night.
How long does it take to finish an average size piece, for example?
It also depends on the design. As an example, a regular-sized wall hanging with a simple design, it takes me a quarter of a day. Challenging designs, maybe half a day. Intricate designs would maybe take me a day or two.
What has been your biggest/most memorable project so far and how long did it take you to finish?
So far, it’s the order I got from a hotel in Cebu. They wanted 13 super big macramé wall installations. It took me three months to finish that order and that involved a lot of muscle power as well. I just had to set a schedule and that helped a lot in meeting the deadline.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration mostly from other artists in Pinterest and Instagram. They’ve been doing it longer than I have.
Aside from macrame, what are your other interests/passion?
I love plants. I collect and grow them in my house. Even in my room.
Please tell us more about the workshops that you offer.
The workshops I conduct right now aim to reintroduce macramé to Filipinos. Macramé is being revived as a modern craft and I don’t want us left out. The workshops are mostly hands-on. The participants get to learn the knots, patterns, techniques, and tips to make their own macramé goodies.
For the workshop, we focus more on wall hangings. The kits they get are jam-packed with items they can use at home. Rope, wooden sticks, hoops, rings, beads, and even keychain clips. They also get a booklet with additional info and illustrations. They wouldn’t find those in any other workshop with that kind of fee.
Where can we find you?
Your message to customers and friends:
Thank you for supporting local craftsmen and artists. It’s nice to see a growing trend of Philippine-made products that are unique, functional, and durable. For those willing to learn, just let me know. Macramé might well soon be a very popular craft with the Filipino crowd.