Where are you from? How long have you been in Shanghai?
I was born and raised in the Philippines. I moved to Shanghai in 2010. Now I am a full-time travel geek at an international travel company, an eco-warrior, and a mum to a beautiful 3-year-old girl.
Tell us about your business ESTILO and where the idea came from
The idea came about when I was planning my daughter’s 2nd birthday party. I had ordered six massive balloons and was going to order more when this article on zero-waste living popped up on my screen. The first suggestion on their list was – ‘say no to balloons’. And it just occurred to me I was not only wasting money on the unnecessary, I was also contributing to the deterioration of the necessary, which is the very same environment my daughter will be living in for a lot longer than me. I looked back at the number of parties I had attended and helped organize where all the decorations were ordered on a whim and just left behind as trash.
In this Taobao generation, society has moulded us to think that whatever is quick, easy, cheap, and convenient is the best option. I had been toying with different business ideas and thought to myself, this is it! Why not offer a sustainable solution? So ESTILO was born.
ESTILO is a Spanish-inherited Filipino word that means style. It is a styling service that involves mindful planning and sustainable execution of a certain look or experience.
When it was first launched, the focus was to provide sustainable styling services for small gatherings, for example birthday parties, baby showers and farewells. In less than six months the brand evolved into space, product and interior styling as well as event planning. We only source materials that are reusable and eco-friendly. The first option is to borrow or rent, and if we have to purchase anything the items have to be ones we will definitely use again.
ESTILO’s mission is to influence the way people think and act towards the environment. It aims to influence people to switch to mindful celebrations. It aims to influence people to think that sustainability is not just a trend, it is a way of life.
Our philosophy is 0% waste, 100% style.
What barriers did you have to overcome to start ESTILO? And how did you overcome them?
I had and still have this fear of turning out to be a big failure. I have zero entrepreneurial skills. I am still learning as I go, trying to expand my network and surround myself with people who are nothing but supportive of what I do. To be honest I was not sure what sort of reception I would get when I launched ESTILO. I just took a leap of faith. Success does not happen overnight, so I bought myself a bit more courage and patience.
What type of events do you enjoy styling the most?
What I find most interesting is putting together a sustainable look for children’s parties. I have heard some say that a party is not complete without balloons. Well I have tried and confirmed the notion of 'out of sight, out of mind'. Kids don’t need them. They are an unnecessary expense and only act as fillers. There are so many creative and sustainable ways to make one’s party stylish, fun, and unforgettable. With resourcefulness and careful planning the possibilities are endless.
What has been your biggest take away from starting your own business?
I will reference a personal branding workshop I attended before I launched the brand – ‘Not everyone will love you, but treasure those who do.’
Do you have any productivity hacks you can share with us?
What’s your idea of what it means to be successful?
Success for ESTILO is repeat business and referrals. This I believe is a true indication that we are doing something right.
Personal success for me is being happy and content with what I do and with the people I surround myself with.
If you would like to find out more about ESTILO you can find them at: