This Site Is a Treasure Trove of Cool Homegrown Brands
Check out Tavin for uncommon totes, versatile dresses, cool local shoes, and more!
(SPOT.ph) With the crazy traffic these days, it just makes sense to do everything online whenever possible—and that includes shopping. If you're always on the hunt for affordable finds from a fresh crop of homegrown brands, check out Tavin.
For visionary creator Krista Rodriguez, Tavin is more than just a shopping website. “Tavin is the ultimate entrepreneurial platform that houses the best local independent fashion and lifestyle brands.” With a name that is a play on vinta, the vibrant traditional boats from Mindanao used to transport goods and people between islands, Tavin aims to gather cool local finds in one online hub in order to share them more easily with the world.
“It all started when I was on the hunt for a new swimsuit to bring to a weekend beach trip. As a new Instagram-business owner myself at that time, my instinct was to scroll through my feed in hopes of finding that swimsuit. I tried searching for hashtags like #swimsuitph, #swimsuitmnl. Then I tried looking through the Instagram shops I knew of. But the swimsuit was still nowhere to be found,” shares Rodriguez.
She had just started her own online business called Braveries, which featured her collaborations with local silversmiths in Bulacan for affordable pretty jewelry. “Braveries means brave stories—because each piece represents our big and small stories of bravery. I had a lot of product photos already up on my Instagram and Facebook page, and I’d been getting likes and followers here and there, but the orders and sales were still not doing good,” she shares “I couldn’t help but wish that there was somewhere I could easily see all my local shopping options and I could also sell my products to a bigger audience that would really find my brand,” she continues “And that’s how the idea of Tavin came about.”
With a degree in business administration, a deep love for fashion, styling exposure (Rodriguez was a student contributor for Philippine Daily Inquirer as well as styling assistant for Liz Uy), and encouragement from friends giving her the push she needed, she finally decided to launch Tavin.
“Essentially, Tavin is a curated marketplace for local independent fashion and lifestyle brands,” shares Rodriguez. The site hosts over 60 handpicked brands, with items ranging from cute hair clips, apparel, statement accessories, and footwear, to bath and body products, home fragrances, art, and even plants, all at very accessible prices.
Today's mindful shoppers who opt for local finds will be happy to find handmade linen pieces by La Oceann, streamlined chic totes by Badass Tote Girl, OOTD-worthy coordinates from Sora The Label, playfully pretty apparel by Binkydoodles, and pastel wardrobe staples by Artisanat Handmade, and so much more. For pieces with a distinctly Filipino touch, Ilha's whimsical clutches made in Marikina uses locally sourced natural fibers and fabrics and Masa's contemporary denim jackets incorporate traditional inabel weaves.
“One of the most inspiring brands is Aesca. It was started by painter Anna Escalona who decided to put her artwork on shoes. Their designs are painted by hand so when you wear them, you’re literally wearing a work of art. Also, Aesca helps promote local artists and artisans and celebrates Filipina beauty through their designs,” shares Rodriguez.
At the moment, there are just a handful of brands that offer men's items—cool ties, minimalist wooden watches, funky men's polos, duffel bags—but there's room for more. “The process basically starts with the Tavin team reaching out to brands we’ve handpicked, but brands can apply as a Tavin seller, too. Once approved, they can start uploading their products on the seller dashboard to get their own shop page up and running.”
Rodriguez believes that it’s high time we put a spotlight on local brands and entrepreneurs. “There is so much talent in homegrown brands, but they do not get the attention they deserve. The focus has been on fast-fashion brands for way too long,” she shares. “I’ve always believed that homegrown Filipino brands deserve a platform dedicated just for them and I’m proud that Tavin is here to do just that—I get goosebumps just thinking about this,” Rodriguez enthuses. “In Tavin, likes and followers don’t dictate how ‘cool’ or ‘legit’ a brand is. The quality of products do.”
The most fulfilling part about running Tavin? “Seeing the brands grow and seeing them get more customers even from other countries. It’s also very rewarding to know that there are more and more people who support and shop local,” Rodriguez shares. “My dream for Filipino enterprises is for them to be more collaborative and less competitive.”
Curious about certain brands but want to see them in person? You can visit Tavin's first IRL shopping event this weekend, from September 27 to 29, at the Upper Ground Floor of Central Square Mall, Bonifacio Global City. Apart from brands on the website, the event will also feature other homegrown favorites, from accessories and food to eco-friendly lifestyle labels, all locally sourced or made in the Philippines.
Pierra Calasanz-Labrador is a former magazine editor turned freelance writer, stylist, and author of two poetry books (The Heartbreak Diaries and Dear Universe). A staunch advocate of pretty, Filipino finds, follow her local treasure hunt on Instagram.