“Very happy ako na i-announce na ang Flora Vida ay ma-e-extend sa Flora Vida Home. Ano ang laman ng Flora Vida Home? May mga lamps ako, pillowcases, nursery line, at meron akong mga furniture,” an excited and giddy Marian Rivera faced the press last December 7 for the media launch of her newest passion project.

Flora Vida CEO and Kapuso Primetime Queen Marian Rivera at the media launch | December 7, 2020
Screenshot from floravidabymarian.com

Three years ago, the Kapuso Primetime Queen launched her online flower shop Flora Vida by Marian. In case you missed it, read the feature HERE.

The power in flowers

Marian went on to share how the whole new line began, “Ikukuwento ko paano nangyari. Ito kasi ang mga panahon na vina-value ko ‘yung nag-ta-travel ako sa ibang bansa. Doon kasi ako nakakapag-explore. Kasi siyempre kapag andito sa Manila, ang ginagawa ko lang halos dito puro work-work-work, hindi ba? Kung meron mang gala, very minimal lang. At hindi talaga explore.” She shared how traveling to other countries sparked her interest in different products.

Photo courtesy of fashion stylist Melville Sy

Ito yung tumatak sakin, ‘yung mga fabric na ito na sinasabi ko sa sarili ko sana balang araw magkaroon ako ng mga ganito. So, itong mga fabric na ito ay mga linen [with] vintage rustic feel. Masasabi mo talagang timeless siya. So, ‘yun ang pinush ko. Parang gusto ko magkaroon,” Marian said. She had a sample done for her personal use and was very pleased with the output. Noong pinagawa ko siya, sobrang happy ako. Sabi ko, ay ang ganda! So dun ako nagka-idea, Bakit hindi ko siya i-extend as Flora Vida Home? Since ang fabric ko rito ay flower din. May connection sa Flora Vida so doon nagsimula yan.

In God’s perfect time

Ano ‘to, siguro two to three years na halos. Naghihintay lang ako ng perfect timing to launch it,” Marian revealed she asked the Lord to give her a sign. “Siguro sabi ni Lord, ‘O, anak, lahat nasa bahay na. It’s about time i-launch na.’ Kaya ni-launch ko na. And of course, ang pinili kong date, Mama Mary’s day. Devotee po ako ni Mama Mary kaya mahalaga din po ang December 8 na araw sakin.

Asked how she was able to finalize the concept for her project, the multislashie mom said, “Nagsimula ako from the standpoint of necessity. ‘Yung solving a problem. ‘Yung ano ba talaga ang kinakailangan sa space. Example ako, may hinahanap ako pero hindi ko sinasabi na ayaw ko yung mga andito or hindi ko nakikita ha. Pero parang meron akong gusto na ganitong klaseng fabric, texture, yung pinaka-design.” She made a business idea bloom by recognizing and addressing a specific need.

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Marian later explained how this business of hers is very much related to her acting craft in terms of the fulfillment it brings. She elaborated, “So, ngayon na ginagawa ko ‘tong Flora Vida as flower shop na na-extend sa Home, parang parehas din yung saya na nararamdaman ko habang nililikha ko siya. Ang gusto ko, sana sa lahat ng magkakarooon o bagong magmamay-ari ng mga items na’to, maipasa ko yung good vibes at saya habang ginagawa ko siya.”

She acknowledged the need to find joy at home especially during this health crisis. “Kumbaga ‘di ba, lalo na ngayon ang daming negative na nangyayari sa labas, sana kapag pumasok ka sa loob ng bahay mo, may certain spot ka na alam mong magiging tranquilo ka, na ma-e-enjoy mo ang space mo and at the same time, mare-relax ka talaga na good vibes lang talaga ang hatid.”

Getting personal-ized

The glow in Marian’s face was seen all throughtout the 48-minute interview. She excitedly volunteered the information that Flora Vida Home is open for customization of unique pieces and designs EXCLUSIVELY for an interested buyer. She said, “For example, si Ate Rose (writer Rose Garcia) meron siyang nasa isip at sasabihin niya,Ay, Flora Vida Home, gusto kong magpagawa ng vintage chair na ganito yung height, ganito yung hitsura.’ Puwede naming i-execute ‘yun para sa’yo. At ang maganda diyan, meron akong mga fabric na para sayo lang at ikaw lang ang mayroon.”

Global convergence Still proudly Pinoy

Marian is known to be a staunch supporter of Philippine products. Following her viral statement on giving up foreign brands and purely going local for her outfits is this effort to ensure that her products are also proudly Pinoy. She said, “Ang maganda niyan, ang fabrics ay from Europe pero ito ay gawang Pinoy. Ang base po nito ay gawa sa Paete (Laguna), ang mga rescued mango trees.”

She was also thrilled to share that livelihood is given to her partner-makers in Paete. “Binibigyan natin ng pagkakataon ang mga kababayan natin sa Paete na magkaroon sila ng oportunidad na makapagtrabaho ulit. After ng pandemya, medyo hindi naging maganda ng takbo [ang negosyo nila]. Marian reinforced the fact that her products are truly Philippine-made. “Sa pagkakataong ito, hitting two birds with one stone ako. Gustung-gusto ko ang fabric from Europe pero at the same time, nilikha pa rin ng Pinoy. Pinagsama ko siya. Very happy ako sa kinalabasan kasi may touch of Pinoy pa rin siya. Masasabi kong gawang Pinoy pa rin,” she ended her statement with a smile.

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Dingdong-and-Zia-approved

While she was hands-on from selection to final release, Marian admitted she sought a little help from family and friends. “Ako lahat pumili. Siguro may approval lang ni Zia atsaka ni Dong. Minsan tinatanong ko silang dalawa, ‘Okay ba ‘tong design na ‘to? Sa tingin niyo ba ganito? Aba, siyempre, kapag may approval na ng asawa ko at ng anak ko, kampante na ‘ko,” she said. Those closest to Marian like her glam team and friends also had the chance to give their feedback but the final say is hers.Ang final decision at pag-so-source, ako lahat. From scratch talaga, ako lahat.

The Kapuso celebrity girl boss is careful about not claiming credit for the designs. She just emphasized her involvement in putting things together. “Hindi ko masasabing ako ang nag-design. Sinource ko ang fabric at ako ang pumili. Kasi napakaraming fabric sa buong Europe. Ako ang pumili ng design and texture,” Marian explained. She emphasized how hands-on she was with all the designs and smallest details. “Kung makikita nila ang bawat furniture, nakaukit dun ang bulaklak at logo ko.”

Marian detailed how she micromanages things from sanitizing to packaging the products. She also shared the good news that deliveries will be handled by her husband Dingdong Dantes‘ new delivery business, dingdong.ph.

Dingdong delivers

Alam naman nating lahat na si Dong ang aking greatest cheerleader. Diyos ko, nakita niyo, nagpi-picture sa ‘kin, nag-vi-videographer,” Marian’s eyes lit up and she was all-smiles when her husband was brought up in the discussion. She shared how Dingdong must have seen how passionate she is about this endeavor and how happy she becomes because of it. “Sabi nya, ‘Sobrang happy ako para sa’yo. Sobrang proud na proud ako.’ Sobrang tuwang-tuwa siya para sa ‘kin kasi alam niyang sobrang saya (ko) at matagal ko na kasi itong pinagplanuhan at ginagawa.

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DongYan fans will surely be thrilled to know that Dingdong is so supportive. Marian revealed her husband is even willing to deliver some items to some lucky clients.

Blooming and booming

See all her floral dresses? Photos courtesy of Marian’s Instagram posts

Parang ang hirap mamili. Sabi ko nga, kahit ano. Basta binibigyan ako ng bulaklak. Minsan nga kahit makakita lang ako ng gumamela sa labas, tumitigil pa ‘ko para picture-an o sampaguita or roses. Anything about flowers talaga, love na love ko ‘yan!,” Marian said after finding it difficult to pick a favorite flower. She emphasized how flowers are really a big deal for her.

When it was time for her to pick the kind of flower she could liken herself to, she jokingly said, “Sige na nga, rose! Ang rose kasi napakabango. Pero bago mo mahawakan, kailangan mo muna matinik. Bago mo maabot ang rurok ng tagumpay, kailangan mo munang matuto at pag-aralan ang mga bagay-bagay.”

Marian reiterated her love for blooms and the hope to pass on joy to her clients, “‘Yung flower talaga na element, isa talaga sa nagpapasaya sa akin. Sana ma-extend ko yan sa bagong magmamay-ari.”

The real reason behind the passion

When I asked if she remembers the time when her fascination for florals began, Marian said she has been obsessed with blooms as far as she can remember. “Bata pa lang ako, naka-engrave na sa ‘kin ‘yung flower. The flower element is always present in my life,” she explained. “Naiiba lang through expressions. Siguro sa pananamit ko or brooch ko. Pero ‘yung flower talaga, nasa daloy na ng dugo ko. Since day one sobrang love ko siya.”

Flowers present in Marian’s different life stages

She quickly added a theory in mind, “Hindi ko alam baka malaking influence din ang lola ko. Dahil ang lola ko mahilig sa bulaklak at siya ang nagpalaki sakin. Ang damit nun, palaging bulaklakan. Di ba ganun noong araw? Pati ang daster niya, bulaklak. So, feeling ko, malaking factor din ang lola ko sa ‘kin.” True enough, I saw proofs of the origin:

If you wish to check out the items in the Flora Vida Home collection, visit FLORA VIDA by MARIAN‘s official website HERE.