Technically speaking, LGBT business Love is Love was established in January, when owners Alla Camacho and Michee Santos launched an e-store. However, it was really only in April when the first product (white shirts with the Love is Love logo printed) was sold. The offerings were diversified, with the second set of products launched (wood crafts).
“We’ve been together for almost five years, but it took a friend’s wedding for us to realize that there were no stores that offer products for LGBT couples. We were buying a gift and we wanted those couple-y stuff as well, but nothing represented us,” Santos said.
“When we were at the store searching for a gift for the soon to be newlyweds, both Michee and I we’re complaining why we could not find anything, not a single item for LGBT couples. And a thought crossed my mind that I had to pull Michee aside and tell her: ‘You know what, why don’t we do it ourselves?’” Camacho said.
However, while Love is Love started as “this singular thought of bringing LGBT-focused products, we became invested in it so much it has turned into part business and part advocacy. The advocacy being fighting for LGBT rights here and also educating people as much as we can about the LGBT community,” Santos said.
For Camacho, “it’s not a secret that LGBT love is still frowned upon. Actually ,who we are (the LGBT community) is still frowned upon by many. And we wanted to change how people see us LGBT couples and the entire LGBT community. We dream of one day seeing the Filipinos embracing the idea that love is love. Spreading the message of love, equality and acceptance is the core of our business. And yes we have got a lot of work to do, quite a challenge in our hands.”
There were challenges encountered in the opening of Love is Love.
“The very first challenge was putting ourselves out there. We had to ask ourselves: ‘Are we ready for scrutiny?’ And we know that it’s not just our products that would be scrutinized; it’s us. Do we really want this?” Camacho said.
However, “it’s easy to give in to fear and you just stay in our bubble… But my late grandmother used to tell me that everyone has a responsibility to make this world a better place. She told me that I should think about what I can do to contribute to society… So here we are, stepping up to the plate, spreading our message or love, acceptance and equality. We’re out here to tell people that you can make a difference and together we can create a better society, a more loving and accepting one,” Camacho said.
For Santos, another “huge challenge was keeping ourselves motivated. We have been told many, many times by friends and strangers alike that what we’re trying to accomplish is very difficult, a huge task and that it’s going to take years, decades and it may not even happen in our lifetime.”
However, “if it was that easy, then it should have been done already – this is what we tell ourselves,” Santos said.
As such, Love is Love works on the premise that “we are not doing this because there is a promise of a successful outcome. The odds may still be against us at the moment but if we want to see the change that we are seeking, we have to do something now. It’s a better option than not doing anything, waiting and delaying,” Santos added.
And so with Love is Love, Camacho and Santos have a business that hopes to offer products that will make people feel in the context of how he or she sees him/herself.
For more information about Love is Love, visit http://iamloveislove.wix.com/loveislove, https://www.facebook.com/iamloveislove, or https://twitter.com/iamloveislove.
To get in touch with Love is Love, call/SMS (+63) 9164322836; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.