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Workspace provider WeWork eyes to help businesses adapt to new normal

Whether you’re an established enterprise or a growing startup, WeWork provides flexible spaces and solutions to move your business forward.

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As businesses across Southeast Asia undergo changes to adapt to the new normal, more companies in the Philippines are similarly navigating how to integrate social or professional distancing policies brought about by COVID-19, and operationalizing these in the physical workplace. The situation highlights the need for learning and preparing for the future, and here is where WeWork enters the picture. 

For WeWork, a company that provides workspaces, the focus is on three main areas as they help businesses prepare for the new work order in shared spaces: professional social distancing, increased sanitation, and behavioral signages. 

“We are working to de-densify high traffic areas and implement changes to shared spaces that include our lounges, meeting rooms and common areas through revised spatial guidelines and establishing buffer zones to further support our team members’ efforts and compliance to professional distancing,” said Ray Tan, Head of Growth, Southeast Asia, WeWork. “Our priority is to provide a safe environment to ensure member’s confidence in our space.” 

“Our goal is to ease the transition back to the workplace by proactively revamping WeWork’s products, design and services to meet members’ new expectations for professional distancing and cleanliness, while maintaining our strengths as a partner of choice for turnkey, thoughtful and diverse space solutions.”

Over the course of the outbreak, the WeWork team in Southeast Asia and Philippines spent time reviewing feedback with its members in tandem with working with industry partners and government bodies across health and safety, cleaning, construction, and design to install enhancements. While readjusting to the new realities during this period, the emphasis lies on balancing flexibility, health and wellness for re-entry back to the workplace. 

The goal for WeWork – which has over 600,000 members around the world – is implement renewed workplace standards across their 828 locations. “Our goal is to ease the transition back to the workplace by proactively revamping WeWork’s products, design and services to meet members’ new expectations for professional distancing and cleanliness, while maintaining our strengths as a partner of choice for turnkey, thoughtful and diverse space solutions,” Tan emphasized. 

Over the last two years, the enterprise segment has gained great traction for WeWork in the Philippines and across the region, with this representing 45% of the company’s total memberships globally.

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FFTG as a must-visit cafe… and safe space in Quezon City

Introducing FFTG (Food For The Gays), a new safe space for LGBTQIA people located in Quezon City.

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FFTG – or Food For The Gays, a play at dessert “food for the gods” – wants to be seen as more than just a community café, Instead, said FFTG co-owners (and partners in life) Chippy Abando and Nariese Giangan, this is a place where you – LGBTQIA people, and even those who are not – can be who you are without fearing to be judged. In a gist: a safe space.

“This isn’t common,” said Chippy. What we usually have as spaces for LGBTQIA people are bars, so “maiba naman yung meeting place (here’s a different meeting place).” This is particularly since “not everyone (goes out to) drink, or go dancing.” There are some who prefer to be in a place more conducive for meetings, for that first date, etc so that “malaking bagay na nagkaroon tayo ng community safe space (in FFTG).”

Nariese used to sell pastries online, around April 2020. Then this February, just as Chippy celebrated her birthday, they opened the physical venue.

With FFTG – and even if the name denotes members of the LGBTQIA community – “there’s no specific market targeted,” said Nariese, stressing that everyone is welcome here.

But Nariese said two things are worth highlighting here.

On one hand, they believe that creating a safe space for members of the LGBTQIA community pays off because “we believe in the pink peso.” This point’s worth stressing because when the pandemic happened, many venues closed, including LGBTQIA venues; and “for sure, particularly after the pandemic, there’d be yearning to be in another safe space.”

On the other hand, “we believe in our products.” Meaning, what they offer do not just look good in the menu; they’re actually tasty. Meaning, too, what they have “are something (we’re excited) to share.”

BIZ COUPLE

Opening a business with a partner – or even with others – can be challenging, admitted Nariese. But what makes it easier is they are at a point where “we both already know what we want.”

Nariese and Chippy

Besides, for Chippy, it helps that this has become a real partnership – i.e. they complement each other. Nariese, for instance, oversees food-related concerns; while Chippy focuses on the beverages. That they can help each other out as needed in their areas of focus is just a plus.

MUST-TRY CHOWS

The menu – albeit short – contains various offerings.

For the food, consider:
-Pasta a la Carbonara (P150)
-Spaghetti alla Chitarra (P160)
-Pesto Pasts with Grilled Cajun Chicken (P180)
-Margherita pizza (P160)
-Meat Lover’s (P190)
-FFTG Special (P220)
-Banh Mi (lemongrass beef, chicken satay, char siu pork, P115-P150)

For the drinks, consider:
-Thai iced tea (P80)
-Iced drinks (mocha latte, coffee shakerato, cafe au lait, coffee creamery, from P80-P110)
-Hot chocolate (P70-P90)

If you’re in the mood to try something… rainbow-inspired, try the Rainbow Grilled Sandwich, which is, basically, grilled bread with rainbow-colored cheese fillings. That it doesn’t taste “fake cheese” is definitely a plus.

FOCUS ON EXPERIENCE

All in all, “it’s about the experience,” said Nariese. There are many places where you can eat pasta, pizza, etc but “it feels different if you eat them here. That’s a big part of it.”

Because here, added Chippy, no one will swear at you, you won’t feel ostracized, there’s no prejudice, and it’s safe. Meaning, “you’d enjoy your food while enjoying people’s company,” she said. – WITH MICHAEL DAVID dela Cruz TAN

FFTG is located at 58 13th Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City, 1109 Metro Manila. For more information, head to their Facebook account or Instagram page.

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The must-have scented candles of Candle La Vie

When Cyramae Ubaldo started planning her own wedding, a thought came to her – i.e. that scented candles would be great souvenirs NOT just for wedding, but for any events. And so Candle La Vie came into being as a one-stop candle biz.

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When Cyramae Ubaldo started planning her own wedding, a thought came to her – i.e. that scented candles would be great souvenirs NOT just for wedding, but for any events. And so Candle La Vie came into being as a one-stop candle biz.

For Cyramae, two things make Candle La Vie different from those already in the market.

On one hand, its candles are scented from soy wax that are “vegan, cruelty-free, non-toxic and paraffin-free”, making them “good for the planet and good for you.”

On the other hand – and to better this – the goods actually sell cheaper than others, since – Cyramae said – “the main purpose for this business is to become an affordable souvenir or giveaway source; and as everyone would agree, we really don’t want to spend that much on souvenirs/giveaways.”

There are four therapeutic aromas available, all of them able to “liven up your space to help you  relax after a long day,” Cyramae said. “These vibrant fragrances are not only delightful to bask in but also have amazing holistic benefits for your mental health.”

The aromas available are:

  1. Cafe (mood booster)
  2. Anglaise Lavande (anxiety relief) 
  3. Bamboo Frais (mind and body relaxation)
  4. Vanille (calming/relieves nausea) 

The goods sell from P209 for 100ml.

For those who want to get in touch with Candle La Vie, head to Facebook or Instagram.

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How a century-old guitar business strikes a chord in the modern market

Throughout the years, Ferangeli Guitar Handcrafters has been among the most trusted names in the industry. It consistently grows its following by providing value added services such as making custom-built pieces, repairs, and new string instruments like ukuleles.

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For many generations, the guitar-making industry of Cebu has been thriving, reflecting people’s undying love for music. Customers have come from far and wide to own a Cebu-made guitar, regarded for its superb sound and playability.  

Steve Dagoc, marketing manager of the Ferangeli Guitar Handcrafter, recounts how it all began. “It was the Spaniards who first settled in Cebu that passed on the art and skill of guitar-making to Filipinos. In 1919, my grandfather ventured into making handcrafted instruments.”

The love for the craft never left the family, as Steve’s father was a classical guitar player in the University of San Jose-Recoletos varsity team before it was his turn to run the shop. He saw distinction in their products and recognized the potential in elevating their craft.

The business began formally operating in the 70s under the name “Custom Guitar” in Lincoln Street, Cebu City. By the late 80s and 90s, they moved to a location that couldn’t be any better – a popular tourist destination and the province’s guitar-making capital, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.  Grounded in musical expertise and the vision to capture a greater market, the Dagoc family rebranded the shop and called it – Ferangeli Guitar Handcrafter – a portmanteau of Steve’s parent’s names: Fernando and Angelita.  The business not only produced high quality instruments for music lovers but also income opportunities for skilled luthiers in the area.

Continuing the legacy

Throughout the years, Ferangeli Guitar Handcrafters has been among the most trusted names in the industry. It consistently grows its following by providing value added services such as making custom-built pieces, repairs, and new string instruments like ukuleles. 

Steve emphasizes the importance of using the best quality of wood to produce the best quality instruments. With the country’s rich natural resources, it’s no surprise that locally made Cebu guitars have a strong competitive edge. “A few years ago, it was rare to find mango-wood guitars in the United States. They couldn’t even believe that it could be made into great-sounding instruments.” 

“Mango wood produces warm and mellow tones while Jackfruit makes bright tones. We also have a Gel-Series guitar collection, made of Narra plywood, a more affordable option, but still made of fine quality solid wood. We pay close attention to the assembly of our instruments because there are many factors that affect sound quality.”  

Marching to a new beat

The young entrepreneur also continues to strengthen their online presence and has found a dependable logistics provider in FedEx. 

FedEx understands that shipping guitars comes with a specific set of standards to ensure their pristine condition. The instruments are packed in specially made hard cases that must be kept in low humidity packaging and be able to withstand temperature changes once it leaves the Philippines and journeys to other countries. FedEx is no stranger to shipping curious items that require special handling like turtle eggs, wine, and even white tigers.

“To compete in the global arena, we have to constantly revamp our operations to keep up with the times. We have been exporting for quite some time now. Customers are recognizing our brand and inquiring through emails. While we became known by word-of-mouth, I know that’s not enough.”

Ferangeli’s foray into online retail was marked by a static website, containing only basic product information. Now, that website has evolved into an e-commerce platform that is able to seamlessly deliver the gift of music around the world, exporting to customers in Switzerland, France, and the United States. As Ferangeli ramps up to cater to growing cross border sales, they trust FedEx to provide logistics solutions and tools

“Fedexenables us to easily manage our deliveries and determine the right shipping rates for our customers through the FedEx Ship Manager and Billing Online.”

FedEx has a network built for what’s next and is able to support SMEs to go global even in shifting global trade patterns. Visit the FedEx LinkedIn page  to get inspired by the success stories of entrepreneurs and enterprises across the Asia Pacific region.

Experience the legacy of world-class craftsmanship and witness how Cebu’s Ferangeli explores new genres, and more on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube

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