Alexis Ventura is the artist and entrepreneur behind the Ink Scribbler brand and the online store, Craft Central, which just opened its first mall shop at Greenbelt 5 last September 17. Aside from The Craft Central product offerings, the store now carries a number of independent brands and handmade goods—including DesignHatch.
In this second part of our interview series with Alexis, she shares how The Craft Central started and what's in store for everyone at the new shop.
Tell us about The Craft Central. How did the business start?
The Craft Central started on a whim about 2 years ago. Ink Scribbler was holding regular workshops, and students always ask where to buy the products. We weren’t able to find a retail partner despite contacting several online stores who were active at that time. So we decided to make The Craft Central, originally offering nibs, holders and other calligraphy related products. The journey has been amazing since.
The Craft Central just opened its first brick-and-mortar shop at Greenbelt 5 last weekend. How has the journey been to this important milestone?
The name "The Craft Central” was deliberately chosen. Though we started with calligraphy, we used “craft” to give it the potential to cover other arts, and “central” because we wanted to share the market opportunity with other artists. This was the distant vision at the onset, and I’m really surprised on how fast things progressed! With minimal investment, we started with an online store and just a couple of items. Now that we cooked up the courage to invest in a mall shop, we can finally take on the challenge of being a craft hub. The past few weeks has been crazy! A mix of tears of frustration and overwhelming gratitude for daily miracles. So this is what if feels like to give birth.
What do you have in store for us at your new shop?
Apart from our products currently available at The Craft Central, we’ve also partnered with other online art supplies shop to give the best of all worlds. We did an open call for home crafters and artists as well, and we will have products made by 70+ crafters. There’s also a small space for workshops, and we plan to host events every now and then. It is pretty exciting!
Describe your typical day. Do you have a daily ritual to keep you productive and motivated?
I really relate to the quote “I want to do it all. I also want to do absolutely nothing.” By instinct, I’m a type A go-getter, but at the same time I want to fight this urge and just be chill. Sometimes, I want to stop myself from thinking because once an idea is formed, I cannot ignore it. And that’s where the struggle starts. It’s difficult to be my own boss, haha!
I typically arrive at the office at 10am and I work until about 5:30pm. It’s very different from my previous freelance life where I work late into the night. Because I work in a team now, I only supervise projects and spend more on business and strategy. When I get home, I either vegetate until it’s time to sleep, or work on a passion project. No daily rituals, I don’t even have the discipline the maintain a planner despite several attempts.
How do you balance being an artist and your roles at Ink Scribbler and The Craft Central?
Good people are very hard to find. We are very blessed to have an awesomely talented team! :) Right now, my role as an “artist” takes a backseat in work. I just direct and supervise art projects right now, and spend more time in managing big projects like the store launch and the Art Exchange in Cebu. As for my own art, I do this during my free time when the day isn’t so busy, at night or on weekends.
At DesignHatch, we believe in the life well-crafted—living intentionally to achieve an authentic life that’s entirely your own. Can you share one important decision you made that completely changed your life or led you closer to where you are now?
Mind criticism less. A couple months into my freelance life, I encountered a basher who made a post questioning my being a so-called “calligrapher”. Nowadays, people can just throw around hurtful thoughts and opinions. Don’t mind them so much. These should be taken as a challenge to learn and improve, but not to cripple and stop creating.
What are you excited about today? Any upcoming projects/events you want to share?
As crazy as it sounds, I’m exciting to look for the next store location of The Craft Central. Haha! But on a short-term horizon, we’re having the "Art Exchange” in Cebu this October! The team is flying there to have a day full of workshops in Henry Hotel. On top of the capsule classes, we will also have a bazaar in collaboration with CraftCEB’s Maker’s Market and intensive classes by prominent local artists. It’s another one of our big dreams that’s about to become a reality!