The inspiration for the establishment of Hippie Event Styling was a surprise birthday bash the founders threw for their mother in 2014. The hippie-themed party was a success, exhilarating the celebrant, the attendees and the organizers themselves.
“We realized that we could do something like this as a business,” said Camille Villaruel, the youngest of the seven siblings who set the celebration up. In the same year as their mother’s 60th birthday, the Villaruel siblings founded Hippie Event Styling.
The styling business caters to all types of events, Ms. Villaruel said. It has already styled a number of birthday parties and weddings since 2014. But no matter what the occasion is, the goal is always the same: make it as unique and personalized as possible.
Clients of Hippie are asked about the theme they want. There are times, however, when they give too broad answers or too many answers. “What we do is we ask for photo inspirations if they can provide them so it’s easier for us to imagine, to visualize what they really want,” Ms. Villaruel said. In several discussions, mostly face-to-face, the Hippie team helps clients narrow down the choices and clarify their thinking about their ultimate goals.
“It’s important for us and the client to meet halfway,” said Cristel Villaruel-Dialogo, the middle child. She said they are not the kind who say yes to every request. “We really make sure to be transparent and honest with them that this might not work. And we make sure they really understand and are not offended.”
Ms. Villaruel-Dialogo also noted that they do not usually take on projects that provide little lead time as personalization is not easy, and it takes a lot of time, attention and resources. That’s why in a given month, Hippie styles an average of two events. “We like to treat our clients’ events as our own,” Ms. Villaruel said. “We don’t want to overbook,” Ms. Villaruel-Dialogo added, otherwise, the quality of their work, which is to be valued above anything else, suffers.
Fee depends largely on the requirements of the clients, but since there is painstaking work involved in event styling, it is not cheap; one should expect to pay thousands of pesos. For full-event styling, which includes everything from decking out the entire venue to creating materials that are sometimes handcrafted, Hippie may charge around P65,000.
Every Villaruel sibling, along with several in-laws and other relatives, has a role to play in the conceptualization, production and execution phases of a project and in running of the business. For instance, Ms. Villaruel, who is also a make-up artist, manages the finances and ensures that every production is within budget. Ms. Villaruel-Dialogo, meanwhile, is in charge of Hippie’s marketing. She juggles her marketing duties with those of her position as a general manager at a private firm in Mandaluyong City.
The siblings see every project that they work on not merely as a money-making activity but as an opportunity to bond with each other, which, as every adult with a brother or sister knows, gets rarer with age. Even if times can be stressful, Ms. Villaruel-Dialogo said, “At the end of the day, hey, we got to spend more time together.”
It is their desire to grow Hippie, which has started to turn a profit this year, and give it a space of its own in the future. They also wish to expand into bigger events like corporate events. “For as long as we can do it, and because we enjoy doing it, we think that this will be a long-term venture,” Ms. Villaruel-Dialogo said.