METRO MANILA / FASHION / Shoes, Bags
Founder: Therinne Goyeneche
1. What got you started with this brand? What was your inspiration? What is the idea/concept behind it?
The idea of INNÉ started in late 2017 when I noticed that international fast-fashion brands were starting to use natural materials, such as jute and rattan, for their footwear and bags. I realized that the Philippines, being rich in these and other natural resources, had the potential for a homegrown brand to develop these products as well. Coupled with the age-old techniques and craftsmanship of Filipino artisans, I knew that creating a slow-fashion brand that gives importance to fair trade and sustainability would be something that is relevant to our time and would have an appeal to customers both locally and internationally.
I started to do some research, which led me to meet with artisans and communities, which I am happy to say that I still work with up to this day. The more I learned about their heritage and their craft, the more I wanted to help by providing them with sustainable livelihood and ultimately, preserving the quality and art of Filipino craftsmanship. I decided to do this by focusing on handcrafted accessories (bags and footwear).
What started out as a simple idea out of curiosity, turned into a passion project, which then turned into a viable business. After almost a year of sourcing and product development, INNÉ was launched in October 2018.
INNÉ’s design aesthetic is about incorporating natural materials and traditional techniques into contemporary, minimalist designs for everyday wear.
2. What is your personal favorite product from your brand?
One of my personal favorites is one of our first designs, the Sia Shopper Tote, which is made with handwoven rattan into a solihiya weave pattern. It was inspired by a lounge chair from my parent’s house, which I used to sit on growing up.
The solihiya weave is created by weaving thin strands of rattan into sunburst patterns (six-way weave). Most, if not all, Filipinos are familiar with solihiya, having at one point or another seen this weave used in furniture at home (or a grandparent’s house) growing up. It gives a warm feeling of nostalgia just seeing the solihiya weave nowadays. Incorporating this weave into our pieces is sort of like a way of carrying a part of your childhood or home with you wherever you go.
3. What do you want people to experience with your brand/product(s)?
More than just a brand, I perceive INNÉ to be a vehicle or platform to highlight and expand the reach of our local artisans’ craft. It’s being able to keep a part of our Filipino tradition alive, no matter how small. It’s collaborating with our partner artisans and communities to create designs that have meaning and value as Filipinos.
We create pieces that allow you to see, feel, and carry a part of a place and people. We choose to work with high quality materials such as genuine leather that last over time, natural and sustainable materials that continue over time, and traditional techniques that transcend time. We make every piece with a purpose for the stakeholders (customers, communities) and the environment.
4. What tips and advice can you give to entrepreneurs who are just starting out or are planning to start their own brand?
When starting a brand, choose to sell products/services that you are passionate about, that you believe in, that you yourself would use or buy.
There is a great local community of small business owners, build your network, and prioritize collaboration over competition.
5. What’s next for your brand?
We are continuously on the lookout for new natural and sustainable materials that we can work with, as well as communities that we can partner with. We will continue to be part of seasonal pop-ups (once it is safe to do so again) and we also hope to expand our international reach more.