The Mood House by TSC:
Where business and
The Mood House by TSC's store
For many people, there has been a long preconceived divide between business and art — they just don't mix! From a young age, we are often taught to choose one or the other.
And once you've chosen one (often when applying for college), you are expected to let go of any sort of attachment to the other.
How many times have you gone to the movies or watched a show only to see an artist stereotypically portrayed to have no care for logic or logistics, leading a poor
but exciting life, alongside a business-savvy friend who is more practical, uptight, and of course, leading the more successful life? Even online, people from business
backgrounds are often pitted against those from the arts, with people arguing why business is better than art and vice versa.
And yet for one Andrei Karoly Hernandez, this stereotype holds no ground. Also known as Amaya Han in the film industry, Amaya has made it her business to defy expectations. From a young age, she has been exposed to the world of retail through her family who owns multiple branches of thrift stores, even selling clothing imported from Taiwan. You would expect that growing up in such a background would push her into pursuing business as her main career. But in the end, she fell in love with the arts and became a film director, even owning her own small film production company.
Amaya Han breaks the mold by becoming a filmmaker. Source: Jon Tyson on Unsplash
Once you learn to ride a bicycle, you'll never forget
But alas, business is in her blood and it never disappeared. Instead, it simply took a back seat, only to resurface in full force during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the lockdowns started, Amaya's film projects have slowed down. However, she's not one to just sit idle. She knew she had to do something and make the most of the extra time she had, so she opened The Mood House by TSC. Going back to her roots, she began selling pre-loved items and designer items as a side-hustle. "I still go back to it. It's almost like it's embedded in my system," she says naturally, referring to her family's business and her choice of merchandise. Aside from pre-loved items, she also sells art such as paintings, mostly from local artists. Having been exposed to the arts during college, she has created a place where she can support artists and share their message through her platform.
I still go back to it. It's almost like it's embedded in my system.
Blurring the lines for a sharper focus
At The Mood House by TSC, the divide between business and artistry is blurred — and in a good way. It's run in a way that any good business should. Five people strong, it has experts manning every aspect of the business from logistics and creative work to marketing and management. It caters to customers offline through a pop-up store at an SM mall (a well-known shopping mall chain in the Philippines) and it targets online buyers through its online store, hosted on the top ecommerce platform in South Korea, Cafe24.
By bringing her business online, Amaya is able to reach a larger number of customers.
Source: Christin Hume on Unsplash
The Mood House by TSC is an art lover's dream. It offers various items ranging from fancy dresses to sporty jumpsuits and even comfortable loungewear, perfect for fashionistas. And if you're an art collector, then you'll be pleasantly surprised to see a line-up of beautiful paintings that feature both landscapes and portraits. It's through this careful curation of merchandise that you can see how Amaya is, and without a doubt, someone who knows what her store is all about — art and business merged effortlessly through her careful direction.
It's through this careful curation of merchandise that you can see how Amaya is, and without a doubt, someone who knows what her store is all about — art and business merged effortlessly through her careful direction.
Being such an interesting personality, as well as a successful filmmaker and business owner, we were thrilled that she chose Cafe24 for her brand — a compliment from someone who clearly knows what she wants and will do anything to get it. So when we booked an interview with Amaya, we took the opportunity to learn more about her and her brand. And we were certainly not disappointed with how much knowledge she was willing to share with us.
My name is Andrei Karoly Hernandez, but I'm also known as Amaya Han in the film world.
I'm actually an independent filmmaker that does freelance and contractual projects. I have my own small film production company that offers services in creative
film consultation, script development, post-production development, and logistical solutions for shoots in local areas.
Along with my other side hustles, I also run an online store called The Mood House by TSC on Cafe24. I actually started the online store during the early months of the pandemic. There were so many limitations in terms of people's mobility and a lot of my film projects were postponed so I starting focusing on my side hustles. I'm still involved in filmmaking but more on the development side like scriptwriting and production as on-site shoots are still on hold.
The Mood House is an online store where we sell various pre-loved items like clothes and books. The brand is just one of a number of sub-affiliations under
The Secret Company (TSC), which is the mother company. TSC also runs
The Secret Gallery where we feature and sell artworks of local artists from Cebu
and General Santos City.
We started selling online in September of 2019 via Instagram but we were not very active as I was still busy with my filmmaking career. We started focusing on selling online just last March of 2021 when we decided to reset, rebrand, and restrategize our marketing efforts. We opened a physical pop-up store in an SM mall and we also opened an online store for people who do not want to shop outside and for those who are living elsewhere but want buy stuff for their loved ones here [in General Santos].
... last March of 2021 when we decided to reset,
rebrand, and restrategize...
As of now, we use Cafe24 for The Mood House. While it's mainly our store for selling pre-loved items, we also use it to display items from previous exhibits held at
The Secret Gallery to attract more local artists and convince them to use our platform for displaying their designs and works in the future.
We have five people working full time for the company and two part-timers. Myself and another partner are focused on creatives and social media-related work, while we have a trade marketer who contacts designers and suppliers to negotiate products and prices, and a general manager who handles logistical concerns like shipping.
Back in 2019 when there were a lot of film projects coming in, I found it difficult juggling between the online store and my filmmaking career.
But now I can say that the work [between the two] is a lot more balanced as everything has transitioned online including my film production meetings.
We use Zoom for our meetings now. I just set my appointments and tasks ahead of time so I can better organize my time and responsibilities for both jobs.
At the moment we're making an effort to revive our online store together with our physical store. For our product release strategy, I've replicated a similar strategy that's used by one of my favorite online stores based in Singapore where they only post products once a month. I like it because it gives the products a "limited edition" vibe. For me, it's also more sustainable than actively posting every day, especially now that the team has a very limited number of people.
My family has been running a thrift store business for about 20 years now. We have multiple branches with ready-to-wear garments sourced from Taiwan. I think I've just gotten used to this kind of business so even though I'm deeply entrenched in filmmaking, I still go back to it. It's almost like it's embedded in my system. As for the art, I decided to delve into it because I was immersed in the art world during my college days when I was studying fine arts in cinema. I also became aware of the business side of it so I started to build connections with some artists, some of whom I am still in contact with as of today.
Paintings like the "Great White" and "Majestic" are available for sale on The Mood House by TSC. Source: The Mood House by TSC
Since we are based in General Santos City, most of our pre-loved items are sourced there. But the majority of our designer items are from Cebu since I have more connections located there when it comes to designers who produce streetwear and casual wear.
I don't remember it specifically because, at that time, we were not really focused on
selling online yet. But I do remember it was through Instagram.
As for our first sale through Cafe24, we already had customers visiting and buying as soon as we had launched the online store. We were really glad and excited when we received our first order (through guest checkout). It was very convenient. I think it helped that we had already established our presence through our pop-up store beforehand. We also became more active on Facebook as part of our marketing strategy. Since March 2021, we started to notice that our sales have become more consistent with Cafe24.
As for our first sale through Cafe24, we already had customers visiting and buying as soon as we had launched the online store.
I really wanted a website where I could upload products with multiple photos and present them professionally, just like Instagram.
I also wanted to target customers in Manila and other parts of the Philippines aside from those in GenSan. Moreover, I hoped to attract more suppliers too.
Currently, the suppliers we work with are those we know personally but in the future I want our store to speak for itself so that art suppliers themselves will contact us like,
"Hey, I want to display my works on your store."
I spent a lot of time researching website builders and I noticed that a lot of the popular ones had to be set up manually so it would take too much of my time. I tried using one but when I did, I was disappointed with how much work was needed to set everything up. It was a hassle for someone like me who has a lot of other responsibilities and because of this, I initially thought that our launch would be delayed.
Then I found Cafe24. I soon learned that Cafe24 is the top website builder in Korea and it had just released its platform in the Philippines. I tried it and was shocked at how easy it was to navigate through everything. I found Cafe24 to be the most convenient when compared to other website builders. I am not the most tech-savvy person but Cafe24 is very easy and straightforward especially with the details. I can organize my products, do sitewide sales, and use banners. I really like its overall features so I decided to set up my online business on there.
I found Cafe24 to be the most convenient when compared to other website builders. I am not the most tech-savvy person but Cafe24 is very easy and straightforward especially with the details.
We use editing software like Premier and Premier Pro. Sometimes, my assistant will use Photoshop. I personally like Canva since it is very easy to use. As for our store records, we use G Suite. We use applications like Google Drive and Google Sheets for the inventory of the store itself, suppliers, sales, ROIs, computations for commissions, and even tracking documentation for deliveries. It makes sharing information much easier since everyone on the team can access them.
I'm happy that Cafe24 has been able to meet all the standards I have set for choosing a platform. I really love the inventory feature, the keyword tags for SEO, the available incentives and promotions that allows me do sitewide sales, and the promo banners. Overall, I am really happy with the platform and I look forward to future developments.
I'm happy that Cafe24 has been able to meet all the standards I have set...
The fact that it is also the top website builder in Korea made me so excited about it because it's really hard to find merchant-focused website builders right now.
I'm also happy about the available payment methods that allow me to easily connect my bank accounts and PayPal account to the store, as well as the omnichannel feature.
I actually made a Shopee and Lazada account just to see how it works. I'm excited to use it.
I think what surprised me the most is the fact that Cafe24 is free. When I compare it to other website builders, the features provided for free on Cafe24 are usually paid elsewhere. This very fact was an epiphany as to why it's number one in Korea.
Our sales have been very consistent ever since we started selling on Cafe24. In addition, some suppliers have started approaching us, so we'll be having a big release for those collections soon. What's surprising is it's not just clothing and art suppliers that are reaching out, but also several local food chains as well.
The Mood House by TSC offers beautiful pre-loved dresses at affordable prices for Filipino fashionistas. Source: The Mood House by TSC
Cafe24 has everything that I need and it's free. It is a very convenient platform for merchants, especially when compared to other website builders where everything has a price and is not even beginner-friendly. I choose platforms that are up to my standards. I needed a website that looks professional and Cafe24 really gave that to me.