Faces of Cebu

FACES OF CEBU: Willow, 35, man behind Molave Community Marketplace



CEBU CITY, Philippines—A barber and entrepreneur from Cebu has a very interesting take on paying it forward.

Meet Willow, 35, the man behind the booming community in Cebu City known as the Molave Community Marketplace (MCM).

MCM is a community of pop-up shops along Molave Street in barangay Kamputhaw, Cebu City.

For two years now, MCM has grown from having just a handful of pop-ups to having 30 to 40 shops.

READ MORE: Molave Community Marketplace: Reviving a ‘dead street’ in Cebu

A budding barber and entrepreneur then, Willow had nothing but a couple of bucks with him. But he had the will to pursue what he loves.

“Nine years ago, I embarked on my journey as a barber, establishing pop-up barbershops on the streets and at events. Finding an affordable space proved to be quite a challenge, especially in the early stages,” he recalled.

He remembered how he got to the point where he would have to cover the costs of the booth rentals to travel outside of Cebu to give free haircuts.

“During that time, I introduced a new haircutting style to the market, using free haircuts as a means to test and refine my skills,” he added.

Fast forward to when the pandemic happened, Willow thought of starting a pop-up community that would help starting entrepreneurs like him before.

“Reflecting on those times, I held onto the idea that if I ever reached a position where I could help others, I would ensure to create a space for individuals eager to kickstart their passion projects without the financial burden. My vision was for them to pursue their dreams with nothing but sheer “will” and “love” for what they do,’” said Willow.

Today, Willow has proudly launched and managed approximately 30-40 pop-up brands.

Currently, MCM is fielding over 200 inquiries, a testament to the excitement our venture has generated.

While the journey has been overwhelming, it has also been very fulfilling for Willow and all those who helped him manage the community well.

Who can join MCM?

MCM is an inclusive and welcoming space for a wide range of community members. We take pride in our openness to various individuals and businesses who wish to join or host pop-ups.

MCM offers three weekly slots for guest pop-ups, and versatile spaces for various businesses or creative ventures, such as ticket booths, fashion showcases, and more.

The goal for this year’s MCM:

“I have successfully attained my goal for MCM, exceeding my initial expectations. It’s important to underscore that MCM draws inspiration from the punk and hardcore ethos, embodying principles like anti-capitalism, anti-establishment sentiments, a Do-it-Yourself culture, inclusivity, and voluntarism. Additionally, I’ve had the opportunity to employ individuals experiencing homelessness as street security and cleaners. This initiative is funded through contributions from our regular traders at MCM,” he said.

If you want to get to experience this growing community, pop-ups are open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 3pm to 7pm.




TAGS: Cebu, community, FACES OF CEBU, people
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