Pinoy entrepreneurs find success in 'hugot' shirts


Posted at May 26 2016 10:15 PM | Updated as of Jul 25 2017 05:03 PM

MANILA - When writer Ali Sangalang posted witty "hugot lines" on his Facebook page, he didn't think the lines would one day end up on T-shirts.

But these statements are exactly what his booming clothing line, Linya-Linya, is banking on. 

Sangalang is co-owner with two of his friends, visual artist Panch Alvarez and entrepreneur Jim Bacarro.

Sangalang and Alvarez, who have been friends since college, are artists, but they ended up as regular employees in the corporate world. 

"Hindi na namin natuloy 'yung mga passion namin, ako sa pagtutula, si [Panch] naman sa pagdo-drawing. Since sumabay sa trabaho, nawalan kami ng oras para doon. Sabi namin, 'Bakit hindi natin balikan 'yung mga gusto natin gawin?'" Sangalang told "My Puhunan."

They used Linya-Linya as an outlet to express their creativity. Sangalang wrote clever wordplay and puns such as "Damndamin" and "Weight loss, wait lang" while Alvarez provided the art.

“Ginagamit ko ‘yung wordplay para i-communicate ‘yung sentiments ng common experience ng Pilipino,” Sangalang said.

As their social media presence grew, Linya-Linya started joining small bazaars in Metro Manila to sell their merchandise.

Business picked up in 2015, when they received a call from Bacarro, a childhood friend.

Bacarro, who had a background in marketing and accounting, had the vision to make the brand even bigger.

“Na-realize ko na sa Pinoy, ang humor ay commodity siya, it’s ever changing but it’s always present sa culture natin. Swerte nalang na ‘yung binuo namin, kumagat ang Pinoy,” he said.

The brand expanded from selling shirts to mugs to notebooks, carrying the same puns and illustrations that capture Filipino humor. 

The group sells about 200 shirts per month from their stores in UP Town Center and Market! Market! 

Bacarro, who has since quit his day job to focus on the business, said the company's goal is not only to come up with more witty sayings, but to be ingrained in Filipino culture.

"Hindi kami purely joke time, hindi kami puro wordplay. Gusto namin ‘yung lahat ng linya namin magiging kasama na sa kultura ng Pilipino in the future," he said.

Linya-Linya has branched out to sell more products, including mugs, bookmarks and tote bags.

“Kung naniniwala ka sa idea mo, kailangan mo lang talaga simulan siya eh, kahit gaano kaliit,” said Sangalang.