Can you tell us a brief history of Ancán and how your own experiences led you to start the company?
Ancán started about 2 years ago, really as more of a passion project than anything else. My mom, sister, and I have always shared an affinity for native goods, which I think is something we got from my mom. When traveling, this is always something we seek out. It was always an idea we had to start some kind of store where we can put all our favorite finds; an idea we’ve had since I was in highschool but didn’t really come together until I had stumbled upon these handwoven bags I loved, and realized, “why is this not in the market?” and then I just went for it and decided to put up the store. That was the starting point, and the product line grew from there.
Can you tell us the most moving experience that you've had through Ancán?
Ancán still feels pretty new to me, and I have so much more to experience but the best one I can think of for now would be our trip to India. It is, if not the most, one of the most visually and culturally rich places I’ve been to, and that trip I think helped set the tone for Ancán. Seeing people dressed in their traditional clothes, listening to nothing but Indian music, eating only Indian food, it was not only visually beautiful, but amazing to see how much they have preserved their culture. Of course, the world is changing, and sometimes change is necessary, but I do believe there is merit in preserving a country’s history and culture.
In the Philippines, there seems to be a stronger movement towards the support for everything local and for preservation but I think we have a long way to go. There are still heritage houses being destroyed, local craftsmen moving to other means of livelihood for lack of support, etc. and still that possibility of everything being lost to westernisation. Overall, I think that experience in India, at the time when Abaca was just starting, made me feel more strongly about the values of the brand.
Where do you think the future lies for retail in general?
I think people are becoming more aware of the impact they have as consumers and the downsides of fast fashion. People are beginning to look for brands that are socially and environmentally conscious, and really seeing the value in slow goods even if they are slightly more expensive. Independent brands with strong core values are gaining more traction, and hopefully this consciousness and movement grows.
What was the last thing you bought?
A pair of sandals from Ebay that I could have done without, but it was $3 and who says no to that? =P
What is your favourite Ancán product and why?
Currently it’s a new release, the Cosita bag. It’s just the right size for me - it’s small but fits everything I actually need (I’m trying a small bag thing where I try not to lug around 10lbs worth of things I don’t really use). Also, I can wear it as a sling, a shoulder bag, or a handbag!
What do you think makes a good company?
I think a good company is people oriented, both externally and internally; valuing both their customers and the people that work for them.
What's your favourite thing to do away from Ancán?
Eat!!! I love food and dining out.
Where is your favourite place to visit?
Nothing specific at the moment, but wherever I am, I always love visiting local markets.
Can you describe your workplace?
My workplace is very start-up. I literally have a too-small desk in a small room I share with 3 other people. Due to the too-small desk, its kind of messy. My packing table is in a separate room, stocks are also in a separate room. I do wish it were more organised but this is what I have and thankfully it still works!
What is your life motto?
I’ve never thought about it until now.. I guess… “be kind.”? It sounds cliche but is super universal and true.
What's next for Ancán?
We have new things in the pipeline using different material and its pretty exciting.
Check out more of Ancán here - https://ancan.store/