EXCLUSIVE: Blogger Camille Co Launches A Hip Scandinavian Furniture Store With Instagram Boyfriend Joni Koro
For fashion and travel inspiration, we love scrolling endlessly through Camille Co’s pastel-colored Instagram feed. But did you know that she recently launched an Instagram-worthy furniture and home accents brand?
To open Curio Cavern, the blogger and Metro Most Stylish woman teamed up with her sister Charlotte Co and her boyfriend of four years, Joni Koro. While Joni is the president of Nordik Concept, a distributor of Scandinavian office furniture, he is also known as one of the Blogger Jowas—a group of men who rose in popularity as they supported their social media-famous partners.
Camille Co and Joni Koro
Located in LRI Design Plaza in Makati, the Scandinavian-themed store provides chic and unique furniture and home decor. In this exclusive interview with Metro.Style, the couple talks about their latest project, their design aesthetic, their relationship, and their dynamics as business partners.
Curio Cavern in LRI Design Plaza, Makati City
Behind the name
Joni was already interested in bringing several Scandinavian brands to the Philippines back in 2016. However, the real work for Curio Cavern began less than a year ago, when the couple found and renovated a showroom, finalized their selection of brands, and placed their initial orders.
Somewhere along the way, they decided on the name Curio Cavern, which draws inspiration from the initials of Camille Co and her sister. The blogger, designer, and entrepreneur explains that since Charlotte Co is part of the business, she wanted to connect the brand and their names. Thus, the charming alliteration of Curio Cavern was born.
Inside Curio Cavern
The showroom offers a wide selection for the curious, providing a comfortable feel that reflects the “cavern” part of the name. Just outside, the brand’s arched logo implies the entrance to a cave, beckoning us to enter a cozy, secret world.
The couple shares, “We want Curio Cavern to be homey, not intimidating. We want Scandinavian design to be accessible, something people can bring into their homes. And at the end of the day, we want our store to be hip, casual, and Instagrammable.”
And even as we know how minimalism and functionality are at the core of the design movement that spread from Northern Europe to the rest of the world, the power couple promises that Scandinavian design is a whole lot more.
“Scandinavian design is clean, simple, and minimalist. It’s very in touch with nature,” Camille quips. “Even with brass and luxe accents, it still looks sophisticated, but never too much. I think that’s what makes a piece stand the test of time.” Joni agrees, highlighting how they made Curio Cavern all about beauty and functionality.
True enough, the showroom perfectly embodies their design core, incorporating earthy materials like wood, leather, and metal. And when we look around the teal and orange room, the absence of bulky items is noticeable. After all, the duo has an affinity for thin, light pieces. “I like simple designs that catch your attention, but don’t feel heavy. We have nice combinations of shades and different materials,” shares Joni.
Curio Cavern’s curated collection
What sets Curio Cavern apart? The couple believes it’s their well-curated collection of brands, linking it to their long-term goal of introducing great designs to the local market. “While the Philippines is a really global country, it didn’t have a lot of good Scandinavian options. This challenged us to bring more designs in,” shares Camille.
The store hopes to attract people who appreciate the Scandinavian style, from minimalistic-loving millennials to well-heeled society women who fawn over luxurious heritage. While Curio Cavern meets the demands of clients of all ages, Camille and Joni emphasized that they want to serve couples in their 30s and 40s who are creating their own homes.
Clients inclined towards minimalist pieces will enjoy Menu, a Danish brand that offers contemporary pieces. On the other hand, people looking for luxe pieces will love Gubi, a designer Danish label with original pieces from the 1940s onward, the golden age of Scandinavian design. One of our top picks is a gorgeous tan leather mirror—an original 1954 collaboration with Hermès.
Contemporary LED lamp from Menu
Leather mirror by Gubi x Hermès
AYTM, their third Danish label, offers bold yet elegant items—the couple immediately fell in love with its circular, tinted mirrors. The fourth and final brand is Rialheim, a South African gem Camille discovered while traipsing around Cape Town. The blogger related that she was short on time when she found the store, but her love for their designs spurred a return visit.
Overall, these Scandinavian brands bridge the gap between contemporary and luxe, modern and chic, unique and classic, young and old.
Circular mirrors by AYTM
Cow skull napkin holder by Rialheim
The couples’ personal aesthetic
And even as she moved into her 30s, Camille learned to appreciate cleaner lines not just in fashion, but also in interior design. Today, she envisions her future home full of pieces they carry. “My aesthetic has definitely evolved, and a huge part of it is because of Joni. He kept showing me all these different brands from Scandinavia, and I completely fell in love.”
But for the Finnish entrepreneur, Scandinavian isn’t just an aesthetic, but a way of life. “I grew up with this look and feel. It’s very homey, and it’s getting in touch with my roots.”
From strangers to lovers
Speaking of personal life, the two shared that they first met in one of the most unconventional places—30,000 feet up in the air.
It was a plane ride to Bacolod, where Joni was going for leisure and Camille for work. Originally, the blogger got bumped off her flight—but the brand she was working with specifically wanted her to arrive on time. After much persuasion, Camille finally got to board the plane. “I was having such a bad day, so it slipped my mind that we were seated far from each other,” she recalled. As Camille looked for her friend, she shouted, “Pat! Pat! 18F?” To her surprise, an unfamiliar voice replied, “Here!” Soon after she settled down next to him, Joni chatted her up for the next hour.
“She was so cold,” he exclaims, laughing at the memory. But by the end of the flight, he successfully asked Camille how he could get in touch. She eventually gave him her spare number. “Malay ko ba if he was a rapist or something?” Camille explains, “I can’t be fooled by his blue eyes. I was raised by a Chinese mother!”
A partnership in love and work
Defying conventional wisdom, the two set out to launch their store together, despite several generations of admonishments to never get into a business with a future partner. When asked how they work as a couple, Camille jokingly replies, “We haven’t killed each other yet—so far so good!”
She proceeds to highlight how they love the same brands, and hold the same values and work ethic—a solid foundation not just for the relationship, but also for their business. While Joni handles the back end, communicating with brands, importation, and logistics, Camille takes the driver’s seat in branding, marketing, and realizing the overall look and feel of Curio Cavern.
The store was also the perfect opportunity for the couple to explore their personal what-ifs. For Joni, the business was not only an offshoot of his office furniture brand, but also a way to explore how he might have done as an architect. Meanwhile, Camille, a self-described frustrated interior designer, realized what she wanted as she designed her family’s new home. That single action rekindled the spark for her to go into home decor.
The tandem also explained that since they were both appreciative of the Scandinavian aesthetic, and passionate about making interiors visually appealing, the business was almost a natural progression. Camille shares that Joni also has a good eye for workmanship and is very meticulous with quality—he can walk into a room, and right off the bat say whether a piece of furniture is aligned or not. “He’s made for this,” she praises.
Joni, on the other hand, emphasizes that their strengths complement each other, adding that while he is not a visual person, Camille is a natural at putting together an aesthetically pleasing look. Together, they are complementary opposites, ebony and ivory, light and dark.
But of course, just like with any other couple, misunderstandings are inevitable. The duo shares that when things don’t go as planned, they still argue. However, Camille relates, “My friend said that we fight effectively because we don’t shout—we just discuss things and remain calm.”
For partners planning to do business together
How is it possible for couples to work together? For Camille and Joni, it’s all about starting with clear roles, evading arguments on who’s responsible. And it goes without saying, mutual respect is crucial for any relationship. Both partners must keep communication lines open and be free to voice out their opinions.
Finally, they add that before engaging in a business, couples must assess whether or not they will become good work partners. Because while a couple might be a perfect match in love, they could have completely different work ethics. “Trust your instincts, because you know each other’s personalities,” Camille quips. Joni concludes, “When you’re in business together, you’re together 24/7.”
Produced by Grace Libero-Cruz and Hershey Neri
Photographs by Daniel Soriano