Furniture maker makes it his business to help the community and its youth

Thirty-two-year-old Peej Tolentino could still vividly remember the knee-high water that entered the garage at his family’s small furniture workshop. He thought it was the end of their small business. But after picking up the (wood) pieces, literally, Peej continued to persevere and, with the help of his family and friends, Istrukturà has crossed the two-year milestone. 

“Istrukturà is a dream that started in our family’s garage. Even with limited resources and manpower, we decided to have this business as a way to give livelihood to our community and to give decent jobs to artisans,” says Peej, also the brand environment manager of Levi Strauss Philippines. “I enjoy managing my business while having a career at the same time.” 

Peej Tolentino

Aside from starting in a small garage, Istrukturà also started with a small team, composed of five members offering interior styling and as a finishing contractor. From five, it now has 20 team members, a majority of them young people, who are tasked to come up with furniture pieces, pottery, paintings, and even wire art bending projects.
“We want to develop young talents and help them improve their skills, especially in designing. I am hopeful that this business will grow so that I could help our community and provide livelihood. I know that people in my community in Calumpit, Bulacan are skilled in sewing, basic carpentry, and painting. These skills can be utilized to create Istrukturà’s one-of-a-kind pieces,” says Peej. 

After two years of smooth sailing, where the trajectory of Istrukturà is on the upswing, the pandemic hit, putting a lot of their projects on hold. 

“The start of the quarantine was a struggle not just for me but for everyone. While everyone is on pause mode, I was thinking of ways and ideas to keep the business going. We even underwent a trial-and-error process until we came up with the idea of providing modular furniture and decorations,” says Peej. “It’s important for me to keep the business going because there are families I need to help and I have a family to feed.”

One of the major challenges of the lockdown was the logistics, so deliveries to customers and deliveries of expected raw materials were delayed. Though there were problems, Peej instead focused on product development. “We also researched on how to improve the business, especially on how to further hone the skills of the people who work with us.”

DELIVERY CONTINUES Even with the pandemic, the furniture seller continues to do deliveries with strict observance of health protocols

As of the moment, Peej is feeling optimistic as there is a rising interest in Istrukturà’s products, especially the planters as indoor plants are filling up homes. 

“I noticed that as people are usually at home, there is a big demand for practical, aesthetically pleasing, and unique design pieces,” he says. “I also have a lot of plans for Istrukturà. I don’t want to just grow the business for the sake of profit, as I intend to help my community. As I ‘grow,’ I want them to grow as well. After all, I won’t be able to make it without their help.”

GREEN LIVING Semento Series includes different planters for indoor plants

In the future, when the pandemic is but a traumatic phase in all our lives, Peej aims to make Istrukturà a one-stop shop. “We want to cater everything, from providing design solutions to furniture, pottery, plants, anything you can think of to make your home functional and beautiful at the same time.”

Aside from planning to open a showroom in Quezon City, he also intends to give more opportunities to young talented individuals who exhibit the same passion and creativity that Istrukturà is known for. 

“I can see a future bright despite the pandemic. After all, we should bloom where we are planted, and we should find an opportunity in every crisis.” 

Elevate your interiors
The one-of-a-kind pieces produced by Istrukturà are now adorning the homes of a wide array of homeowners, elevating the interiors of the living area, the lanai, or the bedroom. Here are some of them worthy to be checked out:

  • Home office set up
    Embracing the new normal can be difficult since most people are now working from home. We want to help our customers by creating an elegant WFH space with our minimalist to modern office desk and decors.
  • Nordic planters
    Bringing nature inside our homes is important these days. It helps us reconnect to the outside world. It feels pleasing to the eyes and it relaxes our body. The brand is offering Nordic style of planters and pots, merging functionality with design. 
  • Wire arts 
    Istrukturà is proud to introduce its bestselling wire arts that can be hung on the wall. These pieces are made by manually bending the wires to slowly form an object. These are unique pieces that add character and personality to the home.
  • Customized furniture  
    Istrukturà specializes in customized furniture such as cabinets, dining table, and TV racks. It doesn’t just limit its products by creating ready-made items. It allows customers to choose their own designs, which the artisans can tailorfit for them.