Alessandra Lanot

Designer & Maker at Life After Breakfast

My creative work for Life After Breakfast features my watercolored pattern designs and handmade watercolors & art tools. Back in 2011, I created just as a personal project, to document my creative experiments and to push me to do something creative every day. A lot of people responded to it, and it became my platform for my creative work. A few of the things I encourage through LifeAfterBreakfast are real life connections, slow living, and creating with your hands. My 'offline' workshops were opportunities for people to take a break from the every day, and just do something creative. That's aside from that face that I loooove art supplies (who doesn't?!), and really enjoy curating kits for my workshops. Teaching about 50 watercolor and craft workshops in a year led me to creating my own line of handmade watercolors and art tools like ceramic palettes, brushes, and paper. My own watercolored illustrations I are mostly inspired by my travels, flowers, and plants, which I turn into repeat pattern designs, and license to brands for their merchandise and packaging.

Tell your own story. Take your work (but not yourself!) seriously. As creatives, we somehow have to feel the need to defend our career choice to family, spouses, partners, society. Aside from passion, what's important is dedication, being willing to take risks, and consistency. That's what will sustain your creative business.

Ayen Dela Torre & Rachel Halili Aquino

Rachel: In college, we were classmates in an Art Studies elective. We studied fine art photographers and journalists from the past until present. Their work deeply inspired us to start our own passion project. We wanted to organize an exhibit, create a story series, and maybe write a book together. We never got to start one in college but in 2014, Ayen sent me a message on Facebook asking if I was interested in making a travel planner to give as a gift to our friends. We finished this project in 10 days and initially had less than 50 copies printed. We decided to post it on Instagram to see if people would be interested. By the end of January, we sold 1000 copies. Through the years, we’ve evolved from selling products to collaborating with brands, organizing workshops, and spreading meaningful stories online.

Ayen: Some of our ideas don’t pan out, but whenever a new one pops up, we try to go back to our why. We still get nervous every time we launch a new idea but we learned that the only way to get rid of the nerves is to be brave enough to start.


Rach: There’s this line from one of my favorite songs that says “I'm filled to be emptied again, this seed I've received I will sow." This line reminds me to use my talent and make it overflow to encourage others. Like a seed, no talent is small enough. My creativity wasn’t given to me just to hide it and keep it for myself. But harvest doesn’t always come and sometimes work may feel like a desert. Through time, I’ve learned the value of seasons in life and how waiting is also part of the creative process. I think it’s important to embrace those downtimes as well.

Ayen: "In everything you do, it’s possible to be an artist.” I think it was Seth Godin who said that. Making art doesn’t always mean working with a canvas or a camera, it can mean making the most out of the time you are given. Putting in emotional labor. Practicing creativity. And making it personal. And this is what I intend to, with the words I write, the products I build, and the communities I get to help grow. I hope to hear more stories of people finding joy and purpose in their days.

Samantha Lee


I'm a female queer filmmaker from the Philippines who tries to make films that improve the representation of women and the LGBTQ+ community in local media. Growing up in the Philippines in the 90's, there wasn't really a lot of positive queer representation in local media. I kind of had to forge my own path and figure things out on my own. Work & life balance is always possible once you set your boundaries and really stick to them.

Don't be afraid to take up space and once you get a seat at the table make sure to pay it forward.

Roma Agsunod

Plushmaker/ Creative Entrepreneur/
Mother Hen to Common Room

I put up an online craft business, Popjunklove, with my sister Maan in 2007. We were both breadwinners so our monthly salaries from our 8-5 were not enough to cover for the needs of our big family of 7. After several years of doing it on the side, I finally quit my job to focus on our small home-based business. By then, we already had enough experience to know how to make the new set-up work, what opportunities to take, and when to take them. We saved up for our first brick-and-mortar home and invited other makers from the community who, at the time, have no permanent location to display their items. We called our first shared home, Common Room, and the rest is history. The shared retail space is now in several locations in Metro Manila. Last year, we put up Make Space Today with 6 other inspiring artists and creative entrepreneurs! The space aims to provide an incubator store for start-ups, a shared co-making space, and skills development programs to members of the community.

My advice to all aspiring creatives is to give their craft TIME. This is the most important ingredient in the success of any endeavor. Do not expect to get all of your dreams overnight. You need to give yourself time to be better creatives who make wiser decisions. Do not give up just because it didn’t happen quickly for you. It never does for anyone.

Cara Sumabat

Cara began halohalo back in 2011. It started out as pure curiosity with materials and their potential and capabilities to be more than what they are. Today, she fully focuses on halohalo, making bags, accessories, home pieces and cover-ups. She believes in making pieces with intention that make people’s lives more functional without losing the importance of beauty!

I think everyone is different and unique! So everyone has his or her own way of doing things, plus it's not always the same for me! My advice for aspiring creatives is for all of them to just go with it!


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