How I Started: Polly

Know the story behind this fresh and cheeky brand.
by Janelle Yau   |  Oct 16, 2016
Image: Polly | Art: Clare Magno
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These days, there are so many ways to jazz up your OOTDs. You can throw in a huge headband ala Blair Waldorf for a preppy, feminine look, or you can tie a neckerchief around your neck for a gritty Western-inspired outfit for the day. But if you're wondering how you can make an outfit fun, sassy, but still one hundred percent fashionable, you know you can never go wrong with a patch or two! Read on as Camille Tolentino of Polly shares with us how she and her friends started their biz, and how they plan on taking the patch world by storm with their freshh and cheeky brand.

How it started. "Polly started when my bestfriend Dyam and I were tweeting about the same business ideas. One thing led to another and we decided to put up a brand that promotes DIY and our love for the arts."

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Why Polly? "We were tweeting about making cool products that are still not available in the country. At that time, we already had our eyes set on our favorite local artists and designers who sell their artworks in forms of pins and patches and we thought, why not promote art in a fashionable way through patches?"


Young entrepreneur. "Being a young entrepreneur, we definitely did not have it easy, but I can say that we had a good start because we are artists and designers ourselves. Because of that, we knew where to get our resources and how we're going to strategically play with what we have. We applied to Polly the things we learned in college and the brand became our experimental sideline and playground. Turns out that the things we considered as mere hobbies became our passion, and ultimately our careers in life."


Entrepreneurial philosophy. "Most people are usually scared of problems, but we realized that in order for one to grow, one must be brave enough to take risks and face problems head on. So, whenever we have a problem to fix, instead of getting rattled we try to remind ourselves that these challenges will help us grow."

So our entrepreneurial philosophy is to constantly chase growth and seek new challenges that are bigger than ourselves.

Drawing inspiration. "As artists, we get our inspiration from our childhood memoies, favorite films, pop culture, '90s aesthetic, and Bauhaus design."


Team effort. "When Polly started out, it was only Dyam and I. Now, we're a happy bunch of four. Dyam, Pau, and I are designers and illustrators while Gino is our exhibiting artist. Most people would think that working in a group is hard, but for us it's all about collaboration. Sharing a business is not really hard—especially when you're working with people you know you can trust."


Little challenges. "We basically started with nothing, but just our allowances and the internet. Despite that big roadblock, we knew we wanted to make Polly happen and we thought that if we could save a little portion of our allowances, we will be able to create a unique brand that will identify and solidify our friendship even more. So, we went for it."


Staying original. "When it comes to our standards, we always think globally. As artists, all four of us have different styles, but when we combine our different aesthetics together, we are able to create a style that is uniquely Polly."

What's next? "It's still all in the works and we want to keep it as a surprise, but for now we're collaborating with brilliant and aspiring young artists for a bi-monthly zine showcasing their artworks that are Polly-inspired."


To young budding entrepreneurs. "Don't underestimate the power of playtime! Most of our ideas actually came up while we were joking around. Also, always arm yourself with the resilience to commit and push through with ideas no matter how crazy, or impossible they might seem. But most of all, always value your relationship with your partners because achieving things together is way more fulfilling than getting things done alone."


Know any young entrepreneurs? Leave a comment below and you just might see them on the site next week! 

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About the author
Janelle Yau
Fashion and Beauty Assistant
The Rebecca Bloomwood of Manila. I spend half of my time obsessing about the latest fashion craze, and the other half overthinking and over-analyzing just about anything under the sun. When I’m not busy as a bee playing with fifty shades of pink lippies, you can probably catch me swiping my plastic for yet another pair of shiny, pointed gold flats.
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