When Heima opened its first branch in 2009, at the indie hub Cubao X, it was apparent to at least its early fans that the power couple behind it was on to something.
Pinterest-worthy and Instagrammable were yet to be added to the social media lexicon, but Heima had already distilled the terms’ essence in its maiden collection of pastel-hued, patterned furniture and decor. Flat lays and stylized pre-nuptial shots were yet to become millennial obsessions, but Heima’s interiors and offerings were long before ready for such concepts.
Not even a decade into the game, the brand and its interior design firm arm, Heim Interiors, have gained cultish following and high-profile clients. And it’s not mere coincidence—not when the aforementioned power couple happens to be Bong Rojales and Rossy Yabut Rojales. The two are husband and wife and business partners with enviable complementary roles that work.
Shared love for design
“We are married to our brands as well as to each other. I guess we have evolved and continue to evolve in our roles. We learn from each other and adopt the good things we have. You can look at it as one, though, as our titles say Rossy is the Creative Director and I’m the Marketing Director. We both have client-facing as well as back-end roles and we back each other up,” says Bong.
Bong and Rossy are bound by their shared love for design and all other things related to it such as music, culture and the local art scene. (They are known to collaborate with young artists like Kris Abrigo and Valerie Chua and to invite interesting indie bands to their launch parties.) This has also allowed them to successfully pursue their passion of establishing a lifestyle brand and design firm.
All those eight years thus far were not without hiccups though. Bong cites people as their main challenge: “It will always be people. Finding like-minded individuals, good team players and those that are designers by heart is a challenge. Keeping them is another. Aligning them to deliver our brands’ promise is next. Managing people while balancing business objectives is always something we see as a challenge and [avenue to] learn from. Creating and continuously improving our process is a constant challenge that we have learned to love and have allowed us to accomplish what we have now.”
A growing industry
Both Heima and Heim Interiors are mostly made up of young designers. Interns are also regularly sought. It is safe to assume they have a penchant for working with and developing new talents. Bong’s advice for greenhorns? “Have a lot of heart and drive to learn, to have the core skills in place and continuously improve. Learn to sacrifice, be patient as being a good designer takes time, a lot of hard work… Learn to communicate well and learn to work with different people and teams.”
Rossy and Bong have grown their team to its largest size yet and they’ve been “getting the right kind of clients,” but they’re far from being complacent. The industry is growing. Visual inspiration and design know-how are much more accessible than before, thus resulting to a more discerning market who may be harder to please. The couple has several reasons to want to step up their game.
“We strive for excellence and face issues head on. We, of course, try to keep updated on trends, innovations and how design and business are evolving. We continue to learn from our customers, from our suppliers and partners, and even competitors. We stay competitive by continuously looking for ways to improve. We enjoy what we do…that’s very important.”
Heima is located at Unit 103, The Brixton Building, Brixton Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig. Open Tuesdays-Saturdays, 9 am to 6 pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org;Instagram: @heimastore and @heiminteriors. All photos are from IG: @rrojales, @heimastore and @heiminteriors