Patch Dulay of The Spark Project Shows Us the Power of Positivity in Community
Have you ever had that feeling that you have, in you, the power to do amazing things when in Manila? You can’t exactly pinpoint where this feeling will lead you, but you know that it is there inside you. It even knocks hard on you, once in a while, as if to remind you of a need or a calling that craves for attention.
Unfortunately, a lot of us don’t get past this point for the reason that we are afraid. Opening that door would bring us to a heightened level of awareness that could possibly change our lives. Sometimes, this change could mean putting ourselves out there and holding ourselves vulnerable to other people’s criticisms. To do this requires a great amount of bravery. Sadly, while many of us possess this trait in the beginning, some fall into the trap of negativity and let doubt reign over.
What if I tell you that there exists a community that holds positivity at its core, supports YOUR growth, and can turn YOUR feeling into action?
This is what The Spark Project is all about: empowering aspiring entrepreneurs to give birth to businesses, bringing their business ideas to life. Not only do they help out with providing an avenue to gather money for your business via crowd funding; they also participate in the business development process by helping you plan, conceptualize, and carry your ideas out. Through my friends Louie Poco and Ann Enriquez, Charlie and I had the chance to meet and converse with The Spark Project’s founder: Patch Dulay.
“How did it all start?” After college, Patch worked as an IT guy. He happened to stumble upon a crowdfunding site originating from the U.S., called Kickstarter, and became so amused with the platform that he wished it also existed in Manila. He would check the site every so often, in simple admiration.
In 2009, he found himself in France studying Global E-Business, thirsty for self-growth. There, he became exposed to different cultures, allowing him to develop a global sense of thinking. Being far away from home and feeling homesick, he also had the chance to converse with a lot of Filipino workers. Through conversations with his kababayans, he had a glimpse of their ways of life. Knowing more about what common Filipinos have to go through in order to earn a sustainable living awakened a strong sense of desire to uplift the Filipino spirit. However, he realized, “I can’t serve my purpose here. Life here in France is comfortable for me, but staying here will not allow me to fulfill what gives me meaning.” That is why, after finishing his studies, he decided to come back home to Manila in 2012.
Like any dream, the road to reaching Patch’s wasn’t easy. He and his team had to hurdle several bumps here and there to establish and evolve the Spark Project into what it is today. As of now, it has already reached out to 18 projects, and they’re still counting. One of these is Gouache.
Born out of Louie’s desire to find a good quality stylish camera bag, Gouache now offers 7 product lines and produces an average of 200 units per month, despite only being established in the latter part of 2013. No wonder Gouache has been able to attract various media channels (online blogs, print magazines, and TV shows) to feature its brand. The Common Thread (store) also carries their products.
“What I love about The Spark Project is that it provides a healthy environment for aspiring entrepreneurs. You can really feel that the community wants you to grow. It doesn’t thrive in competition but in the understanding that each of us are learning,” shares Ann.
Patch explains further, “It’s not about the money, really. Although we recognize that money is needed in order to make a business happen, it is the positivity and the teamwork that make the difference altogether. We are very hands-on at The Spark Project. One entrepreneur’s success is our success, in the same way that their failure is also ours too.”
In the end, we all agreed that positivity is sadly underrated. Disillusioned to think that what only matters is the measurable, we sometimes chase after the standards by hook and by crook. We make little room for optimism, thinking that we’re robots just going through the motions. We forget to maintain this certain level of positivity because we are too busy participating in our “battles,” instead of starting the “journeys” which we have always been meant to take.
“It is important to be with like-minded people to preserve that positive energy. It is what keeps people going,” Patch said.
When in Manila, pay attention to that feeling tugging at your sleeve. Listen to that voice. Heed that call. Should you need an energy boost or a little courage, Patch Dulay and The Spark Project community will be there by your side.
Founder, The Spark Project
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sparkprojectHQ
Photo credits: Charlie Ledesma, The Spark Project, First Harvest Peanut Spread, Gugu Handwoven Bags, Gouache, Kawil Tours, and Risque Designs by Tal