An exploration of handmade crafting through macramé and clay accessories — the journey of a full-time statistician and her sister.
Amidst the relentless 24/5, here /6, there /7 rhythm of urban life in 21st-century Philippines, the pandemic's unexpected pause in early 2020 provided a chance to embrace a slower pace and rediscover passions beyond the daily grind.
This well-known narrative became the foundation for sisters Sarah and Pauline Aracid as they meticulously nurtured Nouee into existence, elevating it from a mere hobby to a thriving business. Their journey wasn't about compromise though; rather, it was a continuous evolution that deepened the essence and significance of their endeavor.
Completing both a bachelor's and master's degree in statistics, Sarah adeptly balanced her roles in the corporate and academic realms, even imparting knowledge at her alma mater. Amidst the turmoil of the pandemic, Sarah and Pauline embraced their creative spirits, delving into macramé art in 2020 and crafting clay pieces in 2021, adapting to the ever-changing lockdowns imposed by a relentless virus.
At that time, Sarah was casually exploring hobbies when she stumbled upon macramé, and its simplicity and minimal equipment requirements instantly captivated her. She decided to delve into it, and her fascination grew into a lasting commitment.
From that point onward, the duo embarked on the journey of launching Nouee, a distinctive brand specializing in small-batch, meticulously crafted earrings inspired by macramé and clay. Sarah reveals that the brand's name, "Nouee," stems from the French term for "knotted." In their creative process, Sarah takes the lead in designing, while Pauline breathes life into their creations, producing them in batches.
While their collection primarily consists of earrings, Nouee has plans to expand into fashion, phone, and men’s accessories, with many exciting creations in the pipeline.
In the present day, Sarah maintains her roles at a major telecommunications company and a university, while Pauline pursues a full-time law degree. Amidst these commitments, their relationship with art has transformed into a profound metamorphosis, shaping both their personal and creative lives.
"What started as a casual escape from boredom or a way to alleviate lockdown stress has now evolved as a means for us to express ourselves, our ideas, our boldness. Art is so vast, wide — and [much] can be done. It is where we feel like we have no boundaries."
Although Nouee's present portfolio predominantly features minimalist designs curated within a specific color palette, they refuse to be confined by these boundaries.
Venturing into sales in 2020 marked a pivotal step for Nouee. Sarah shares that, due to their demanding schedules, they hold time as a precious commodity. These moments offer them the chance to reflect, evaluate their ongoing creations, and embark on fresh avenues of expression and experimentation.
Their steadfast commitment to a deliberate pace and meticulous handcrafting aligns perfectly with their vision. They meticulously source and curate materials to ensure unwavering quality. Presently, Nouee has even extended its reach with a reseller in Malta, and Sarah occasionally receives special commissions from a university in Saudi Arabia, where she is currently located.
Despite this increase in demand, the sisters prefer to work slowly to not turn the project into another chore. Sarah shares that "our clients are very patient and kind so they don’t give us a hard time when they order especially for custom-made pieces."
Once, they were commissioned to make an art piece inspired by the Pisces Zodiac sign. Sarah then tried to scale down to produce earrings inspired by the original piece.
Ultimately, Sarah makes pieces she herself would wear, starting her process by asking, "what do I want to wear?" She also draws inspiration from other interests: nature and history.
As part of Likhaan, the Aracid sisters aspire to expand Nouee's reach beyond enthusiasts and patrons, welcoming fellow makers and creators into a vibrant community of creativity. Their vision aligns with the ethos of Slow Fashion, contributing to a burgeoning movement.
All in all, while Sarah and Pauline's professions deal with the measurable and concrete, their passion project intertwines diverse interests, propelling them towards boundless horizons and tangible outcomes that defy enumeration.