Retail in Asia


Filipino brand Halo Halo gives ethnic crafts a modern revamp

Among the next generation of creatives reimagining ethnic crafts into contemporary pieces, Halo Halo, a Filipino accessories label founded in 2013 by siblings Cara Sumabat Limjap and Rocco Sumabat, has steadily evolved into a lifestyle brand in the span of a decade.

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Founder and creative director Cara Limjap. Source: Halo Halo

It all started with the banig, a traditional handwoven mat typically made from native recycled materials such as palm leaves, which, arguably until the rise of Halo Halo, did not have a sizeable audience among the young and upwardly mobile.

“The business came about very organically. I simply wanted to make things out of pure curiosity,” says Cara Limjap, who worked in fashion and merchandising before creating the brand.

Halo Halo launched with a small range of handbags in various sizes, all made with recycled banig. Today it is comprised of three verticals: handbags and accessories, and furniture and homeware, as well as a casual clothing line called Good Times.

Source: Halo Halo

While the brand serves its customers mainly through its e-commerce website, Limjap discovered a base through pop-ups, which she says “felt like a breakthrough moment for us. We found an audience that understood the pieces we were making.”

Part of the fun for Halo Halo customers is the surprise that comes with the announcement of their next physical appearance. Limjap continues, “We always try to mix it up to make the experience enjoyable. There are people who enjoy real life shopping while there are those who enjoy the ease of online, so we just keep that in mind.”

Source: Halo Halo

A furniture and homeware collection was “a natural progression,” says Limjap. “Everything we do has to feel it comes from a place of true expression.” The home collection offers an evolving range of products designed for indoor and outdoor use, including lounge chairs, stools, bars, and umbrellas.

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Recently, Halo Halo also forayed into the metaverse, launching “the ultimate internet VIP experience” for subscribers.

Limjap says the brand’s current goal is to expand distribution across Asia. “We are trying to making shipping rates accessible regionally, at the same time finding the right partners to stock our pieces,” she says.