Based Out Of The UAE, Bianca Obrique's The Woven House Supports Artisans From The Philippines Obrique was driven to launch The Woven House after she herself found it hard to source such handcrafted home décor products -which are quite characteristic of the Philippines.

By Aby Sam Thomas

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

The Woven House

Bianca Obrique is the co-founder of The Woven House, an online home décor store based out of the UAE that sells a variety of exquisitely handcrafted products that have been sustainably made by weavers in the entrepreneur's native country of the Philippines. Weaving in the Philippines is a distinct expression of art, culture, and tradition, and from hanging planters to rattan shelfs, each item in The Woven House portfolio is a testament to the talent of the artisans that the company has empowered, whom Obrique proudly declares to be "the life force, sheer power, and vitality" of the company.

"Every woven piece is fabricated exclusively by one weaver, and marked with the maker's identity," Obrique explains. "By empowering the members of our local handicraft industry, we feel humbled and connected to our Filipino roots. It also shows our appreciation and recollection of our homeland's achievements and heritage... They are not only a product of hard work, but they are also developed with a lofty goal in mind, and that is to help mitigate the harmful effects people inflict on Mother Nature by making possible the production of similar commodities in the most environment-friendly manner."

Obrique was driven to launch The Woven House after she herself found it hard to source such handcrafted home décor products -which are quite characteristic of the Philippines- from her home in Dubai during the onset of the global COVID-19 crisis in 2020. "It was at the height of the pandemic, and most countries were on lockdown," she recalls. "Since I was mostly at home then, I remembered that I've always wanted to redecorate my place, make it cozier, more relaxing, and somehow bring the freshness of the outdoors, indoors. Also, since we all couldn't go home to our country, we wanted to bring some pieces of home here. That's when I realized the rarity and absence of these products here in the UAE."

Source: The Woven House

It is thus with a dream to introduce these Filipino works of art to a global audience that Obrique partnered with co-founder Roseller Enriquez to build The Woven House, and the first market they decided to target was the Middle East. "The Woven House is an affirmation of our belief in the Philippines's potential to differentiate itself from other similar industry-related products," Obrique says. "We believe it is high time for Filipino crafts to be known on a global level. In the coming years, we aim to see it thrive. Furthermore, we seek to change the way the public sees, buys, and thinks about local craftsmanship, while contributing to the uplifting of our local artisan's standard of living."

From a personal standpoint, Obrique is also hoping that her and Enriquez's efforts with The Woven House will also help reframe mindsets about what the Philippines has to offer the world at large. "My desire to keep changing the narrative for us Filipinos grows more and more each passing day," Obrique declares. "I believe that Filipino craftsmanship can surpass the stereotypical norm to remain local. I also do want everyone to realize that we, for that matter, can be as knowledgeable, skilled, and competent as our counterparts from other countries. That is why I commit to every step towards being a platform that will fulfill this kind of potential."

Related: In Good Taste: Mhon Lee, Founder, The Kakao Guy

Source: The Woven House

EUREKA! Bianca Obrique explains how to make an idea a great one

1. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step "To be honest, for me, trying new things was scary; it's hard. For a lot of reasons, I was gripped with potential fear of failure, paralyzed by the notion of inconsistency, and questions like, "What if I don't meet up to the level of those I admire?' In short, I was overwhelmed by the workload required to start. But in the end, I realized that trying is the only way we grow and learn. I had to gather the courage, put my nose to the grindstone, and crank it up to get started. I realized that the things required to define my new path were just a few more achievements off."

2. Stop undermining yourself, and start believing "Sometimes, it can be tricky to catch yourselves undermining yourself, but whenever you do, try to refocus your attention on something that inspires you, and go back to your why: why do I want this business to happen? Believe that you are capable of achieving greater things!

3. All the excuses need to go "Excuses are a sign you are starting to fall into the same trap of losing yourself again. It is okay to put off something when you are tired (your mental health matters), but you have to not let it become a constant habit. Know that you are worthy of anything. If you set your mind to it, you can achieve it."

4. Take action "It's really just about taking one baby step at a time- I really believe that every effort, big or small, goes a long way. It doesn't matter how simple it is, you have to start from somewhere. This will set the momentum of your overall entrepreneurial journey."

5. Surround yourself with a good support system "Having family and friends who support your dreams is great, since they will encourage and boost your confidence to continue what you've already started. Your loved ones might also give you some ideas or other inspirations that you can incorporate into your business. And of course, I just want to add that you are your biggest supporter. You have to motivate yourself, and do not let the challenges along the way impede your growth. Doing something new can be nerve-wracking, but if you don't try, you will always feel entrapped by the "what could have been' feeling. Do not wait for that "aha' moment- create it!"

The Woven House is one of the companies included in the 2022 edition of our annual 10 Great Ideas feature, which celebrates individuals and innovations that impress with their ingenuity. Check out the full list of 10 Great Ideas in our print issue here.

Related: Fizah Pasha's Inclusive Makeup Brand Brulée Beauty Aims To Celebrate Diverse Skin Tones

Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.  

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