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People: Creativity at Play—The Deliberate Measures Labor of Love Takes To Nurture Talent in a Healthy Environment

There are a multitude of creative agencies within Makati City alone, and among those quickly making a name for themselves is a small group of creatives called Labor of Love Talent and Content Co., an agency known for their flexible approach to manpower and ability to produce effective work. Although they attribute their success to the ingenuity of their members and freelancers, the warm environment they were able to nurture within their space no doubt has aided in encouraging creativity. 

To reach Labor of Love’s creative space, one must go through the Cosmic Jungle, a mural created by Auggie Fontanilla that brings you into an isolated sphere tucked away within the concrete jungle of Guijo Street. The mural, which depicts the various creatives who work at Labor of Love as different kinds of animals, serves as a preview of what’s in store for their visitors and clients

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The office itself is enveloped by the light coming through their windows. The white walls, pale-colored flooring, and even their tables and chairs may look clinical and cold, but various artworks, flowers and plants, and different kinds of figurines scattered across the room give a vibrant and warm splash of colors, as if inviting and welcoming you in a place you can easily call a second home.

Tami Acena, the CEO of Labor of Love, explained that everything inside their current office is second hand—a testament to the team’s love for sustainable objects. Most of them are actually hand-picked by the team, while some are brought in as housewarming gifts by clients and visitors. There’s a story behind almost every object you see inside. The books on their shelves, for example, showcase names like Nick Joaquin and Vicente Rafael. According to Acena, they are meant to represent the agency’s Filipino influence, which also ties into their goal of becoming champions of Philippine creative culture.

Labor of Love’s current space is a lot different from their previous one—the most glaring difference is that their past office had no windows. However, they transformed the old space into an experimental area for shoots, exhibitions, and workshops. 

Celine Buendia, the COO of Labor of Love, shared: “We’ve converted our initial office space downstairs into a creative hub where you can practically do anything… It’s just a space where we can go crazy and do whatever we want.”

Aside from building a space for their team, Labor of Love also opens its doors to creatives who just wants to come in and brainstorm with them. This welcoming concept eventually turned into workshops held by the team. In the first one, they invited a psychologist to talk about mental health. They’ve also been exploring activities outside their own space, the most recent one being a football game held to teach newbies how to play the sport.

“Hopefully, we can bring a new voice where people can learn. Nerds, geeks, anyone who actually loves to think — thinkers, philosophers, anyone. Hopefully, we bring in people like that into this space and make the most out of the human mind and the human capacity to be creative,” Acena said. 

Ran by two women who want to veer away from how traditional ad agencies are run, Labor of Love Talent & Content Co. is a company where creatives can do the work they love in an environment that nurtures growth. The founders, Tami Acena and Celine Buendia, both hail from the same multinational agency. Discovering their love for advertising but wanting to create a different environment for creatives, the two teamed up to build their own network of creative professionals. 

According to Acena: “We didn’t want to change advertising or anything, like it’s going to be what it is. But I hope that what we’re trying to do is build an alternative where people who don’t feel like they fit in in the old world or the traditional world can find a space where it’s like: Okay. I’m not lost. There’s actually a destination for a person like me.” 

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