Quarantine may have ruined your beach trip plans but that doesn’t mean you have to give up the tropicalē lifestyle!
When you hear the word “Tropicalē”, you might think of the bright sun, sandy toes, the crashing of the water as it meets the rocky jetties. It’s a relaxing experience we all miss. Although the pandemic put our summer trips on hold, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go for the dream beach house look!
Having a little beach-themed corner in your house could help cure cabin fever. Not only that, it gives you a sense of Filipino pride in having something that’s made locally. We had a chat with Audrey Pastelero, founder Tropicalē, to find out more about the brand and the inspiration behind it.
Meet Audrey Pastelero: Tropicalē’s Mastermind
Mommy Audrey Pastelero, the owner of Fun Nest PH, started with the desire to make something “fun” and “Filipino” for her son in 2018-2019. Because of their love for pretend play, she came up with her debut piece: the Kalabaw Rocker. Made entirely out of natural rattan, the Kalabaw Rocker today comes in different colors from natural to black and white.
But she didn’t just stop there. Tropicalē’s products became bigger as her son grew. One of her pieces, a 2-in-1 toy Airplane Rocker was inspired by her son’s obsession with airplanes. She also created the Sensory Shelf which comes with two boxes that mommies and daddies can fill with anything their kids want to play with. One of her bigger projects included a basketball arcade which was to help her son enjoy the outdoors more.
“I wanted sustainable playthings that didn’t necessarily look like playthings,” she said when asked about her motivation in creating rattan-woven toys. “Most toys are eventually discarded to live in a landfill for a couple of hundred years and I didn’t want to be part of that problem. I also wanted to play things that disguised themselves well as accent pieces in the living room.”
More than toys
But she didn’t just stop at toys. After studying with expert Solihiya weavers, she branched out into creating furniture and fashion pieces. Some of these fashion pieces include a Peacock Chair (inspired by her wish to have one), shelves, and her signature Solihiya Baskets. When asked about what made her get into Solihiya weaving, it was because she wanted to make affordable pieces.
“For Tropicalē, I wanted to showcase timeless, sustainable, and affordable pieces. Something made purely from the Philippines,” says Audrey.
What’s next for the Solihiya Weave line?
“Sustainable furniture and fashion are making a comeback. Especially now that people are becoming more conscious of the needs of Mother Earth,” Audrey said.
Tropicalē aims to show parents that it is possible to live sustainably even when it comes to buying toys. During a time when kids are more inclined to play with gadgets, finding quality toys that encourage open-ended play, don’t hurt the Earth, AND look good are much welcomed.
Even Fashion is starting to go sustainable! Using leather and Egyptian cotton, Tropicalē has created solihiya cellphone pouches, tote bags and woven visors, they also have matching hats and face masks! Nothing beats going fashionable, natural, and practical all at the same time!