MANILA -- Entertaining family and friends at home over lunch and dinner led chemist Pinky Pe Tobiano to one of her recent lifestyle ventures -- tablescaping.
Notwithstanding that she’s preoccupied with the challenges of this pandemic with her profession as a chemist, Tobiano still finds time to become a micro-influencer for home and lifestyle.
Through “Table Love by Pinky,” her 14-episode program on The Filipino Channel (TFC), that wrapped up its first season last September, Tobiano managed to reach out to a broader market.
“I’ve been working through a lot of brands to inspire more people” Tobiano told ABS-CBN News. “I work with global brands who approach me to include their items in my set up and I tablescape for them.”
“Table Love by Pinky” can now be viewed on YouTube. She is doing another season on TFC next year.
Tobiano has over 30,000 followers on Instagram alone for her tablescaping account. Just when the pandemic started, she became more active and visible on social media.
“If you’re selling a luxury plate, that market is very targeted,” Tobiano said. “There is a conversion matrix in micro-influencers, so the sales matrix is increasing. That’s the role of a micro-influencer.
“Macro-influencers are broad, but micro-influencers can do reviews. I want to inspire and encourage other people to become micro-influencers and do reviews for home, food, plate, even wine and plants.”
The high-end brands, however, are strictly not just on Tobiano’s plate. Interestingly, she can even do a dazzling tablescaping spread on a budget.
Not surprisingly, she visits Quiapo and Dangwa in Manila, where she gets amazing finds. “I support the vendors from Quiapo and Dangwa,” Tobiano proudly beamed. “I incorporate their items to my tablescapes.
“Normally, I do beautiful plates of the masters and I do local handicrafts to complement my table. There’s always a touch of local on my table.”
Tobiano loves to entertain through small dinners. During the pandemic, she learned to do it more digitally, that’s why everything became so visual.
She started working with brands like Rustan’s, Opulence, West Elm, Versace, Fornasetti, Pottery Barn and other global names that often collaborate with her.
“A lot of Filipinos can reinvent their space,” Tobiano said. “Through social media, they can be future micro-influencers. The brands will pay you to collaborate with them, once they see your talent and following.
“For Rustan’s, when I tablescape, the sales of the plates really go up, so we often collaborate. They can monetize on this. Brands pay me; It’s not free. Most are done through collaboration. They tap your talent.”
Tobiano insisted that tablescaping is for everyone, not just for the rich and famous. It’s recreating your dining experience to be a memorable occasion for your family and friends.
Recently, Tobino also did a budget friendly table, but mostly, she is being tapped by global brands, so she does lifestyle. The challenge is how to make every tablescaping unique and translate each one into a love language.
Each tablescaping is a “love language” for Tobiano. “What’s nice about this is it’s a passion hobby and I don’t do it as a business,” she pointed out. “The hobby started ever since. It’s not work. It’s something you love doing, so it’s exciting.
“I love to entertain at home and when I do that, I love to tablescape. But at that time, tablescaping is not yet too popular. It became popular during the pandemic. People are always at home. They love to create a beautiful space.”
In her home, her friends’ homes and even The Farm in San Benito, Tobiano has done tablescaping. “I can do an intimate table for two to seven. I have done the biggest, a table for sixty, for a friend. That was for a very special dinner.”
Behind the art of tablescaping, Tobiano managed to take viewers to the high-end homes of events specialist Tim Yap and fashion designer Francis Libiran, the warm abode of KC Concepcion and the Pangilinans.
Skin expert Vicki Belo went to Tobiano’s house where tablescaping was done. Belo was a guest on Tobiano’s YouTube channel when Belo went to Tobiano’s house.
“I also did tablescaping for the Tantocos of Rustan’s, for celebrity singers like Moira de la Torre and Yeng Constantino,” she said.
For Tobiano, tablescaping is reinventing the home and creating beautiful memories for the family. “It’s not just for special occasions,” she emphasized. “You don’t need an event to make your table meaningful for special occasions.”
Every Sunday brunch at home, Tobiano does tablescaping even without her show that’s now off season. “I do it very often for different groups, friends, sets of people close to me,” Tobiano said.
Her dream tablescaping figure is Queen Elizabeth. “I want to do an English afternoon tea for her. That’s my dream,” Tobiano said.
With her work as a chemist -- she is the president and CEO of Progressive Laboratories and Qualibet Testing Services -- Tobiano has a busy schedule working everyday.
“Even in my work, I’m trying to find innovation promoting Filipino products globally,” Tobiano insisted. “I guess time management is important.
“You’re not busy for something you love. As long as you consider it important, you’ll find time for it.”
Last January, Tobiano also started her online show, “Grateful Tuesdays,” helping those who have been affected by the pandemic and calamities. “It is always impossible not to get affected by these people,” said Tobiano.
Hard work is everything for Tobiano. “In my life, nothing came on a silver platter,” she pointed out. “Everything that I have, I worked so hard for.
“People tell me, ‘Don’t you ever get tired?’ I don’t get tired as long as I know my employees can eat three times a day. That gives me enough drive.”