21 March 2016

Purveyr Tours Common Room

Photos by Marvin Conanan

A front porch with a wooden swing and hanging bulbs will welcome you into every craft-lover's haven. Common Room boasts of a rustic industrial design with elements of wood, metal and concrete for display racks, tables and other shelves. The room is well-lit, with natural light coming in from their glass door. Common Room is home to 30+ local brands with products that range from gift wrappers and washi tapes, notebooks and post cards, even stickers and stamps -- and that's not even half of it. They have art supplies from The Craft Central, home decor and accessories from raw.tura and Tweed & Twine, cactus and other succulents from The Green House Project, and many more. Simply put, you have to pay their shop a visit to know more of what's in store.

325 Dela Rosa St., Katipunan Ave., Quezon City

Can you tell us how Common Room was created?
Every entrepreneur dreams of having their own shop someday. My sister and I just recently put up a kiosk in Alabang Town Center, so we were looking for a space northern part of the Metro. A space opened up in Katipunan so we took the chance.

Since Popjunklove is just a small brand and the space was too big, we decided to invite some of our friends from the arts and crafts community to join us. Many, like us, have been in business for a long time but have yet to put up a shop of their own. Many were game to the idea and said yes with hesitations. Since it's a first for many of us, it was really a leap of faith.

The community you have made is quite amazing, have you really planned to create such a tight-knit community with Common Room?
The arts and crafts community is already tight-knit to begin with so most of the partners who we tapped already know each other even before Common Room. We just got closer to each other more since this endeavor has forced us to really come together to make this new set up work. We all sincerely plugged our new home to our followers. All were consulted regarding major shop policies of Common Room.

Even our shop name was a result of voting. So while a shop that carries several brands is not new, what makes Common Room different is its collaborative nature. We wanted each partner to feel that it's really their home.

You have such a vast array of products available, can you briefly share the idea behind the mix of products in your store?
Since the shop is made up of around 50 brands, our array of products is bound to be diverse. Criteria
really is products should be locally made, designed or handmade. We have a few imported products but just for tools to cater to art enthusiasts and DIY-ers. Every time we invite, we just make sure that their products are not directly competing with another partner so we have a healthy mix of items.

How would you recommend a first-time customer to go about your store?
To go there when they have at least an hour to go around especially for first timers.

What can you say about the Filipino creators and artisans nowadays?
Filipino creators and artisans nowadays are more go getters. Maybe because they've seen others do it and succeed, they somehow have something to show naysayers or even themselves that this kind of life can work. The phrase starving artists may still be true but many know now that it's just a phase. That others were once starving too but eventually, made it after years of hardwork.

Your store is very unique, so some people might not easily get it, how do you summarize and explain what Common Room stands for?
Common Room is a common space where different local artists and crafters can display their work. It is a common space where artists and crafters can fail, learn and succeed together. It is a common space where enthusiasts can learn and dream too. A space that helps prove to all your naysayers that with hardwork, your dreams can come true.


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