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The LGBTQIA community wants the same rights and respect as everybody else, it shouldn't be that hard

Hatch + Hoolman Studio in the Philippines is your friendly neighbourhood cafe that doubles up as a versatile (and pet-friendly) studio and event space for art, culture, music, and food. Their goal is to create a community where anyone can enjoy themselves and surround themselves with beauty and good vibrations. We chatted with founders Andie Lasco (she/they/any) and Iya Poon (she/her) about their multifaceted studio, adapting to their customers' needs, and the LGBTQIA community.

NN: How did it all start for you?

Andie & Iya: We started as a private design studio with no idea that we would become a part of the F&B industry. It was tough to start as we didn't really plan to have a coffee shop business, but it was also a humbling experience to go through it day by day with the help of our small team.

NN: What is the biggest challenge you face?

Andie & Iya: The biggest challenge currently is trying to pivot back into designing and creating. The Studio was built to create however since we did not have any business plan to begin with, we had to make do with the operations as we go along. From having zero knowledge about the field, we knew we had to take some lessons to keep the business healthy.

NN: What do you like/enjoy about what you do?

Andie & Iya: What we enjoy the most is having a space to basically do anything we want. The best part about the studio is that it's not a restaurant, so we don't have that kind of pressure. We have a very versatile space that we can play with, transform, and design, and a place to meet new people and build a community with. We learn a lot from the different perspectives and personalities we meet on a daily basis. As creatives, we value work-life balance. Having that balance gives us the headspace to conceptualize and create things that have meaning.

NN: What is needed in order to bring about systemic change for the LGBTQIA community?

Andie & Iya: As the generations slowly progress into acceptance of not only themselves but of the LGBTQIA community as well, what is needed is proper education about the topic that most reserved people find "taboo". Pride is political. We need proper representation and leaders who can reach out to certain communities that have little to no access to queer love and acceptance. We can only "be ourselves" too much. We only want the same rights and respect as everybody, it shouldn't be that hard.

NN: What is your motivation? What keeps you going?

Andie & Iya: The business just started and so far it’s been great. We love creating a safe space for the community. Every day we look forward to the people we meet, to the brands we can help, and to the community we’ll serve our homemade recipes. It’s always exciting to see what the space will turn into next.

(Hatch + Hoolman Studio is currently focusing on hosting workshops and events, and opening their space to those who would like to inquire and collaborate with them. Follow/contact them on Instagram @hatchandhoolman for more information)

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