EXCLUSIVE: Entrepreneur And Tablescape Designer Ginger King Villavicencio Is This Holiday Season's Hostess With The Mostest
She's the rising queen—or rather, king—of the emerging tablescape design scene. Ginger King Villavencio, founder, creative director, and hands-on owner of Casa Luxia, has finally arrived in the metro's thriving events arena, and she's more than ready to bring her signature polished looks to this season's celebrations.
Before Ginger had Casa Luxia, she had dreams.
She had dreams of becoming a moving force in Manila's vibrant events industry, of creating memorable occasions and tablescapes her clients would fondly remember for years to come. Having mastered the art of throwing parties in her home and for close friends and family, Ginger has always known that she was equipped with the creativity and penchant for elegant get-togethers needed to make it in this business.
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Only, like most individuals longing to transform their hobbies into income-generating opportunities, Ginger was held back by life's responsibilities. In particular, she had a day job in the petroleum industry that saw her working alongside her husband Rami that she couldn't simply give up for a passion project.
"I handled everything under the sun [there], from admin, to finance, to HR, aside from operations. That’s why I also wanted to find an outlet," she begins.
Though the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde graduate was grateful for the security the job offered, it was doing little to fulfill her heart's deepest desire for artistic expression. (Supplying fuel to airlines was in no way tantamount to putting together a table setup as pretty as can be). For too long, she continued to balance her corporate stint and event design sidelining, until a chance conversation with her architect proved to be the final push.
With a sentimental smile, Ginger recalls, "In the process of constructing our house, our architect was asking us what the requirements of the house were. I told him I needed to have three pantries because I needed storage for all of my party things. He was saying that almost all of his clients request for that, [and also] why can’t there be a supplier for party stuff and people will just rent them. That got me thinking!"
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Discussions about where to go from there with her friends and husband soon ensued, and before Ginger knew it, she was setting up Casa Luxia's Instagram account while placing her orders for her very first collections of dinnerware that would make Casa Luxia Manila's first luxury dinnerware rental business. A storm of excitement was brewing, and Ginger could feel it about to make landfall.
And then, faster than she could say "event stylist," a variety of plates, glassware, cutlery, trays, cake stands, napkins, napkin rings, tablecloths and runners, marble accessories, centerpieces and other table necessities arrived at her doorstep. The artist was finally handed her tools of the trade, and she was more than ready to go from 0 to 200 in a wink. (It's safe to say that her multiple pantries were put to good use since!).
Come August 4 of this year, her project became a done deal, and there was no turning back. Not that Ginger would ever even consider turning back; her dreams had become reality, and for the first time, she was feeling like she was where she was supposed to be.
"Casa Luxia is a fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Before I started working with my husband, I was working for my parents. It took so much courage and a leap of faith to get into it, because as a working mom and wife, you don’t want to say no to your husband and to cut short on the expectations as a mother," she shares.
To date, Ginger has designed dinnerware setups for baby showers and weddings (including that of celebrity stylist Kim Yap), and intimate get-togethers. The amount of inquiries and bookings Ginger has received is both surprising and validating; her gut was right—this was the direction she was meant to take.
In her tablescapes, stunning collections from Hermès, Megan Hess, Christian Lacroix Sol, Piero Fornasetti, Euro Hammered Flatware, Mario Luca Giusti are often at front and center, while personalized elements (like menus, placecards, and trinkets that guests can take home), choice of music and lighting, and even seating arrangement make up the Casa Luxia experience.
Lest new clients mistake Casa Luxia for a caterer or run-of-the-mill event stylist, be informed:
"Some people are comparing me to caterers or rental companies. But I don’t think there are rental companies that solely rent dinnerware, so I think that Casa Luxia is the first in the market. We’re actually in the business of adding up more sparkle to your table. I realized that with events, you keep raising up the bar. You always keep on finding ways to make your event different, unique," Ginger clarifies.
When it comes to design inspiration, one will see anything from European touches to quirky safari-themed pieces and girly touches. That's because Casa Luxia doesn't operate on a single aesthetic; more than a city, palette, or setting, what inspires Ginger's tablescapes is family and the home itself.
She was influenced by the best of the best—her mother-in-law who happily prepared meals for her family of 10 kids for years. Coming from a much smaller household, seeing her husband dine with his brood and share some of life's best moments at the dinner table was utter culture shock—but one that Ginger happily embraced.
In her own words, "I realized how hosting for his family alone is a production. It’s a party. Every Sunday, it’s 50 people... It’s the feeling of home, the feeling of entertaining with family. My mother-in-law is a great homemaker and she inspires me to create something that even if you’re entertaining, it still feels like dinner at home where there’s no pretentiousness."
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Now that Christmas is right around the corner, Ginger is feeling the demands of her new venture more than ever. Weddings and holiday celebrations are aplenty, but it's the kind of preoccupation that she's been more than ready to face for a long time.
Yet even as Ginger moves forward in her passion, her husband and her beginnings as his professional partner have not been forgotten. In fact, she's realized how much of a crucial role they've played in training her now that she's managing her own business; having a creative eye is one thing, but knowing the ins and outs of running a business requires a totally different skillset.
As a business owner who is more involved in the creative process of things, it definitely helps that she knows to secure deposits, how to manage and train staff, analyze balance sheets, and of course, set profit targets alongside artistic pursuits.
As it seems, everything has fallen into place for Ginger; the stars of past, present, and future have all aligned, and she continues to reach new heights day after day.
As of this writing, Ginger and Casa Luxia are concentrating on building their luxe dinnerware rentals line by bolstering existing collections in time for the sunnier seasons to come. Currently, many of her tablescape setups and dinnerware are holiday-perfect; festive hues of deep maroon, royalty-themed items, subdued metallics as well as black and white statement pieces are getting tons of air time, but expect to see more pieces in tranquil blues and greens and lighter neutrals to come summertime.
No matter what Ginger has up her sleeve, you can be sure it will be just the right balance of eye-catching and functional—a polished look, overall.
Once that's in order, Ginger has plans on expanding the events arm of the business, so those with weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, or baby and bridal showers coming up, make sure to touch base with Ginger before her calendar becomes fully-booked.
Looking back at how much progress she's made in such a short span of time, Ginger says, "I’m amazed because it’s only been three months and I wasn’t expecting this much feedback from clients.
"I’m just starting up the business and as I said, I still have a day job. I’m just doing this on the side. I just started hiring staff and training them, but I’m really surprised because I already had my first wedding [and I have more coming]. I was surprised that I would take off this fast."
Clearly, Ginger must be on the right path—one where the only way to go is up and forward.
If her early success is any barometer of what's to come, she and Casa Luxia are in for the big league. In time, Ginger won't only be a talented tablescape designer; she'll be a trendsetter, advice-giver, and groundbreaker, and yes—the hostess with the mostest, too.
Produced by Grace Libero-Cruz
Photography by Paola Aseron
Creative direction by Joan Ko
Table centerpieces by A-List Manila
Hair and makeup by Albert Kurniawan
Jewelry from JJ Jiao