We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristoffer Leandro L. Legarde and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kristoffer, how did you come up with the idea for your business?

It started years ago when I was in the corporate world. I felt like I needed a venue that would allow me to create something, an outlet where I can really do what I want to do and what I am passionate about.  I worked in different advertising agencies and events companies in Manila, and I neither felt complete nor fulfilled. I was not totally happy with my career as a Creative Director.

With 10 years of experience working in the creative industry, I started my own events company called Stoque Production and Events Co in 2017. I only had myself and my best friend Philip as employees. However, I managed to outsource freelance production staff, vendors, and suppliers to help me put up a working team per project. I had a good two-year run of pitching, directing, styling, and overall mounting social and corporate events. Alongside building the company, my other best friend Cookie and I started to work together and make use of our love for men’s fashion and opened an online shop called Stoque Wear. It didn’t last that long because I had to leave Manila and move to Los Angeles in 2019.

2020 was the year that my thirst to rebuild my business heightened and it was incubated during the pandemic. During the 2nd quarter of that year, I first sold Copper Mask face masks which was distributed in the Philippines by JC Premier Company. I thought that by riding the wave of demands that the pandemic brought along was the perfect way for me to introduce my brand “Stoque”.  I  created a website and named my online shop Stoque Boutique— a one stop shop that will cater to lifestyle needs. Hence, six categories under Stoque Boutique were established: Stoque Wear, Stoque Interiors, Stoque Decor, Stoque Kitchen, Stoque Creatives, and Stoque Art.

My love for food, specifically cheesecake, gave me the idea to open Stoque Kitchen. I got in touch with my good friend Jill in Manila who bakes cheesecakes with her husband Jonathan, and sells them in their own restaurant. They shared their recipe and thus a collaboration for the first three Basque (Burnt) cheesecake flavors made its debut on the Stoque Kitchen menu. Having the privilege of a grandmother who loved to cook and bake, my mother Lucille shared my grandmother’s heirloom cheesecake recipe with me. I experimented on it and added nine different flavors to the menu. Two of the flavors are popular in the Philippines called Ube and Buko Pandan. Stoque Kitchen’s concept is to eventually provide a complete set menu for catering service that would offer a fusion of Filipino dishes. In the future, Stoque Kitchen will have its own physical restaurant.

Stoque Interiors started when a good friend of mine Ian asked my help to design his one bedroom apartment. I was excited to do it but I was having doubts on how I am going to deliver. After finishing the project, he expressed his excitement and gratitude by posting photos of his new apartment on his Instagram. I had inquiries right away and had the opportunity to design and revamp more homes. Since October of 2020, I have completed six projects by myself—from design to execution, all with different interior design style, concept, and vibe.

It wasn’t long after I decided to continue my men’s wear line— Stoque Wear. I launched my first collection in February of 2021. The main idea for my clothing line is wearing comfort in style. I partnered with my friend Madonna who manufactures clothes in Manila. I design and she produces. Most of the designs are inspired by my own fashion style, and of course in consultation with my best friend Cookie who provides advice on quality and functionality.

I have always loved to create something out of the ordinary, whether a painting or a sculpture. However I couldn’t find the right time and space for me to make my own art pieces since i moved to LA. Instead, I launched Stoque Art to introduce and recognize local Filipino artists who have the same passion as I do and have special and unique stories behind their art works. I opened Stoque Art featuring the mother of my friend, Ellen. I was moved at how she started to love painting and how painting touched her life. As I do believe, art is a reflection of oneself and one’s soul—something that you cannot simply put into words.

Last but not the least, the section where I can conceptualize, plan, and execute events—Stoque Creatives. This will not operate as an advertising agency, but soon it will have a team of creative minds who can conceptualize and produce one of a kind events that are entertaining, captivating, and memorable. Stoque Creatives also offers web designing and digital concept design for brands.

All of what Stoque Boutique have become in just a year is a result of hard work, dedication, perseverance, and non-stop dreaming. Doing everything on my own is challenging, but my unwavering passion has surely found its way to gather a formidable work force. I personally have a vision to build an empire that can provide employment as well as a venue for talented individuals to shine creatively in their own respective roles. I choose to team up with friends who I can trust with my personal life, who shares my creative vision, and have professionalism and game when it comes to business relationship because they are the people who I want to create, work, and enjoy the fruits of our labor with. They say money can buy you everything, and I can agree, but only to a certain extent. In my opinion, the true meaning of happiness is not only acquiring wealth, but in giving back to my community as well.

Stoque was taken from the word “Stoked”. I played with the word and the spelling to make it truly my own and to align its meaning with my own motto which is “live with the waves”.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?

I channeled my passion for design and the arts into a full fledged lifestyle start-up in my online business. Building my brand wasn’t an easy breezy ride but because everything in it is aligned with my passion, I never stopped creating and developing new products and professional services which is what keeps me fulfilled and grounded. Everything just fell into place.

There had been many bumps and challenges that I have encountered but my motivation to materialize my vision and dream in making Stoque an empire was my driving force. Not to forget, my buyers’ and clients’ satisfaction is my fuel to thrive and gives me the push to exceed my limits.

My design philosophy is that I make sure that I create unique experiences for my clients; each interior space, clothing, and decor that I design must have a story and a purpose. Even the taste of my cheesecakes have to be a memorable experience. I see to it that all my design and product outputs are functional, timeless, and cost efficient— nothing over the top. Especially for my interior designing, I make spaces more meaningful through design storytelling by carefully curating the elements I put together.

My unique and multi-disciplinary background has proven advantageous as I strive to bend the boundaries between art, sensory experience, and design. I want the world to know that with patience, grit, and by believing in yourself, it will take you to your dreams. You have to work hard and know how to play the cards of life. Most of all, be around people who celebrates your success and who never leaves you in defeat.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

• My Family #teamlegarde
• My life partner James
• My Manila based friends/business partners Philip, Cookie, Madonna, Jill and Jonathan
• My friend Rowell who helped me set up my business LLC
• My friend Ian who opened the opportunity for Stoque Interiors
• My friend Jimmy who is my film maker in all my Stoque Promotional Ads
• My friends who modeled for Stoque Wear: Brandon, Johnathan, Steve, Patrick, Jimmy and Mark
• My USA based relatives and friends who showed their support

Website: www.stoqueboutique.com

Instagram: @Krisleandro

Linkedin: Kristoffer L. Legarde

Facebook: Kristoffer Leandro Ledesma Legarde

Other: Business IG Handles: @StoqueKitchen @StoqueInteriors @StoqurWear @StoqueDecor @StoqueArt

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