Our little shop at Cubao Expo, Kendo Creative, has grown and changed a lot since we opened more than a year and a half ago. And I’m happy to say that the way it has changed and evolved is pretty much how we envisioned this place to be from the very start. It makes me so thankful and excited to be part of it and witness it all.
Last summer, we were given the opportunity to expand and double our original size as we took over the space right behind us. It wasn’t exactly something we asked for or planned but it sort of just fell on our lap and was an offer we knew we had to take. Turns out, having all that extra space is great — more room to hold bigger workshops and events, more room for people to hang out.
The expansion pushed us to think bigger too and scale up. So after the construction and since we re-opened last June, we’ve taken in new partners and Kendo has become a four-man team from just me and Kayo (Hello Ynna and Gil!). We have also accepted more brands to consign with us (Do check out our shelves some time!) and installed bigger shelving. Thanks to our new espresso machine, we’ve added more items to our drinks menu, too, and from being an all black slow brew coffee bar, we now serve espresso based drinks with milk — yes, lattes!
We were honestly happy where we were before all this upgrade but seeing how things are now, I’m grateful because we do get to meet and work with even more people. Also, the space just allows for more creativity and collaboration. And this part is what I’m most excited about.
If you come to Kendo any time during the week, you will most likely catch a group of people sitting around a table busily drawing and sipping their coffees. This happens for hours at a time and these groups are usually composed of our regulars, people we also know from the art scene (plus their friends) who are simply taking off some steam and winding down after a long day at work. They’re quite good as you see on the images below! I really love how this has become a thing at the shop because it does encourage creativity and the freedom to explore one’s artistry and style, but also, they’re fun to watch! If by some chance you don’t catch them there, you will find some of their sketches and doodles on our wall.
Our Saturdays, the day of the week when we usually have events, have become more interesting and dynamic too. Once we started the day hosting a serene tea appreciation workshop for a small group of people then transitioned into a full house street arts double show opening in a matter of hours! Completely different cultures celebrating completely different art disciplines. These are days when we fully realise what an OPEN ARTS SPACE is and that is totally possible!
Just two weeks ago, we had another eventful Saturday, hosting a smoothie bowl making workshop with Juice Hut Plus in the morning then a Pop Up Event in the afternoon where we also held a free-for-all Art Swap activity in partnership with Hidden Space Co (the art studio on the second floor run by our friends). Days like these wear me out like crazy but it’s also one of my favourite days because of all the people I get to meet and work with, the energy all these creatives bring into our own little space and the opportunity to simply celebrate art in many varied forms. I love it. Even my children love it and I see it as a big blessing that they get to grow up in an environment like it.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — what Kendo is now (and is slowly evolving into) is something I’ve always dreamed of being part of. I’m really grateful that I get to make all sorts of art events and projects happen in this place and at the same time, have my own hub where my family and I can just chill out and work on our own personal art. We are thankful to the people who grace our doors day in and day out, people who have become friends, who spend time at the shop and make it their own art space too. They bring so much life to Kendo!
There are definitely many challenges running a shop and we’re learning that bit by bit. We still have so much to work on but we are working on it hard — showing up and getting things done, meeting people and keeping connections, sharing ideas and making them happen. We believe we have something good here and we’re doing our best to keep it good.
Don’t just take my word for it! Come visit and have a cup of coffee with us! We’re open Monday to Saturday, 3PM onwards.
If you’re interested in holding an event, do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s see how we can work together.