We had the good fortune of connecting with Viel Catig and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Viel, what are you inspired by?
My brand has always reflected my own eclectic personality. Since childhood I have always liked the unconventional, the weird and the awkward yet it took me long into young adulthood till I came to accept that being eclectic is okay. I consider myself an old soul, so loving everything vintage was a given — Art Deco, the Roaring Twenties, motifs from Regency and Victorian eras. When I was in college, I became enamored with Asian street fashion, especially from Japan and South Korea… their bold and unapologetic approach to style was something I gravitated to. All of that fuels the creativity behind 23rd&Hare. Just me putting it out on to the universe… its alright to be unique, a little bit eccentric.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
23rd&Hare is a brand that highlights being uniquely eclectic in every aspect of your lifestyle. Everything is handmade and designed personally by myself using vintage findings, found objects, recycled materials and more. I started off without knowing much about the business side of things since my day job as a registered nurse was a far contrast from what I sought to start back up, what eventually became 23rd&Hare. Countless hours of researching and seeking advice from more experienced entrepreneurs was spent just so I could get an idea of how to successfully launch. I learned that we all have our own pace, and what might work for another small business owner might not necessarily work for me. Over the course of two years I learned to adapt strategies that I learned to what works better for my brand. Participating in craft festivals and markets for example encouraged me to think out of the box in terms of displays and customer service.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The arts and the food definitely. I think that is the inherent beauty of living in Southern California… access to so much within an hour drive. I definitely recommend going on an art trip around downtown LA — The Broad, MOCA and LACMA. Art Districts are such a fun exploration, my favorites being the Arts District in DTLA with its multiple art galleries like Hauser & Wirth. Its adjacent to Little Tokyo with its vibrant small shops and its a must to eat ramen at Daikokuya. Another great arts district is the Pomona Art Colony which has the best antique shops, boutiques, clothing stores like the Pomona Antique Mart, Vital Pomona. Here in the Inland Empire, I would recommend visiting Take Your Seat for their ridiculously good Filipino inspired brunch offerings and Cafe86 for their ube flan cupcakes and Tiger Tea.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Two of the most amazing women in my life — my Mom, Zilda Catig who always encouraged me to be myself. Her bravery in fighting her Type III Arteriovenous Malformation for six years was arduous yet she did so with such strength. She remained steadfast and found joy everyday even as her illness caused her to be bedbound until she passed in 2017. My Mom was just that, unapologetically herself and effortlessly championed her children. My older sister, Fides Catig is the logic behind 23rd&Hare. Our personalities are inherently contrasting… when I get overly emotional, stuck knee deep in a creative venture… my sister is always the voice of reason that gently scolds me about logistics and realistic expectations. Her sensibilities keep me grounded. Honestly I don’t think 23rd&Hare could have made it this far without her being the rational foil to my more wandering grandiose ideas.