Power of V

Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza (The Philippine Star) - September 5, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The world brims with immense, diverse beauty. From the flower that blooms in the wild to the imaginative and intricate handiwork crafted by an artist, each form of creation  —both born from nature and the mind — has the power to captivate. Yet, due to the quiet and shy nature of beautiful things — they never do wish to grab attention — these treasures are easily left undiscovered and underappreciated.

Thus, there is a need for people like Kai Lim, Nicole Whisenhunt, Trisha Calma, Emi Jorge and Camille Ongpauco, the creative force behind the lifestyle concept boutique, Cura V.

Artists, designers, creators and lovers of all types and forms of beauty, these five women have made it their passion --— and business — to discover and curate the most beautiful pieces from around the world and in the Philippines. They tirelessly scour cities and discover the hidden gems, which they believe deserve a place in the homes of their discerning clientele. In this sense, they are, indeed, “treasure hunters.”

 Cura V, which means “curated by five” in Latin, is a lifestyle concept store, but aptly looks like  an artist’s studio, a treasure trove filled with  an eclectic mix of cultural objets d’ art, travel curios, exquisite jewels and accessories, and other luxury products.

 But unlike any other boutique of its kind, Cura V does more than just bring together stylish pieces from established names in the industry, it trains the spotlight on under-the-radar brands and up-and-coming talents in the world of fashion and design. 

“We offer unique and inspiring finds — from bags to jewelry and home scents — for women who want to bring a little beauty and luxury into their lives,” shares Nicole Whisenhunt, a multi-awarded local jewelry designer, and the catalyst that brought together the group of friends some four years ago.

“It all started with Nicole!” laugh the ladies, recalling the beginnings of Cura V. They each had known Nicole through some degree of association — as a neighbor, schoolmate, barkada, acquaintance, etc. And when Nicole proposed establishing a lifestyle boutique that would bring together their love of fashion, art and style, the kindred spirits immediately jumped on board.

It has been four years since that first meeting, and Cura V, which resides in the posh Power Plant Mall in Rockwell, has blossomed into a well-received boutique with a growing loyal clientele.

When the women were considering where to build Cura V’s first home, Rockwell was their unanimous choice. “Rockwell has become home, and it’s perfect because everything is within reach. Even if we didn’t have a store, we’d always be here!” chorus the ladies, adding that Rockwell reflects their passion for the good life. Like Cura V, Rockwell provides a “holistic experience of lifestyle and luxury.”

 Marrying art and business, and balancing all the duties of a small but demanding operation among friends, is a tricky ordeal. But their friendship has not only endured, it has flourished, strengthened by the creative and professional undertaking.

“The best thing about working with four strong women is learning from each other,” shares Kai Lim, who serves as president of Cura V. “We are all strong individuals with our own set of ideals and strategies in business. At times, it can be challenging to merge our ideas, but we share the same vision, integrity and principles, and this ensures synergy among the team.”

When it comes to managing the different aspects of the business, each has their respective role — Nicole heads marketing, Trisha manages finance, Camille handles PR, while Emi serves as the creative director. 

With complete trust and confidence in each other, the partners have found the perfect balance of freedom and to succeed in their respective positions.  

But as a lifestyle brand that is still dependent on trends, the greater task that the women have to undertake now is how to remain relevant.

Here lies the secret to their success. While the industry may change, Cura V remains loyal to its vision, and competes by keeping an eye out for fresh, new talent and being attuned to the movements in the world, especially in realm of style and fashion. 

Emi Jorge, a renowned bag and accessories designer, shares, “The important thing (as buyers and designers) is being observant. Apart from travelling, one of the ways we find inspiration (and gain a better understanding of our consumers) is by simply observing the world around us. When I’m abroad, I watch how people move, how they eat, how they interact on the street. From there, you catch a glimpse of their inner aspirations.”

“Cura V is continually growing as a brand, and we always try to find new products to keep Cura V current and interesting. We have big plans, and as a group we are very excited with what the future holds for our store and for us as friends,” shares interior designer Trisha Calma.

One can never own too many beautiful things, and Cura V ensures that we all have the chance to take home a little bit of that luxury.

Photography by RITA MARIE • Creative direction and overall styling by Luis Espiritu Jr. • Makeup by PIA REYES for MAC Cosmetics, RIA AQUINO for MAC Cosmetics and BABA PARMA

• Hairstyling by DAVE LOPEZ, AVRIL SEGUIN and RONNIE TUMAMAK • Associate styling by TARA SUBALDOShot on location at CURA V, POWER PLANT MALL


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