'Real Talk Realizations' From Hello MNL Store

By: Des Ong of Sabado Studios

It was August 1, 2016, when I left my job in public relations and opened Hello MNL Store, a creative retail space along Espana Manila that supported over 90 makers and independent labels for more than a year.

At that time, it was also a personal growth path for me as a crafter, from initially selling #dagatbeads online and during Saturday x Future Market in Escolta and Katipunan Weekend Market events 2 years prior.

I am sharing some of my 'real-talk realizations' below with the intention to help you on your personal pursuits and generate deeper appreciation for creative Filipinos in general.


I opened Hello MNL Store with an aim to support my fellow makers, at a time where all we do was wait for the next bazaar to sell creations or compete online with non-handmade/super affordable items from abroad. While it was tough and scary to open something from scratch, it was a natural transition for me as I really want to create anything most of the time plus I am not the type of person who stays safe in a bubble or complain about a situation but not do anything about it.

One realization I had through this experience was that, our businesses or projects - how you want to do it or want you want to offer today, may not be or look the same forever. You will grow as a person; you will learn a lot along the way (while establishing your personal non negotiable list, boundaries and values along the way) and so to acknowledge all these things including the person you want to become and the life you want to have will shape how you want to do your project or business and what exactly you want to offer your community. You may be lucky to have aligned everything on the onset but for most of us, we will learn, try again and tweak again as we grow older, better or wiser beings or creative entrepreneurs.

For me, how I want to create things changed from dagatbeads to Hello MNL Store (from just creating to supporting fellow makers) as well as how I want to use my time and skills changed over time too (from taking care of a newborn baby during dagatbeads to bringing a toddler t