UP CLOSE & PERSONAL WITH AYA OF PRIVATE STOREY
Get to know Aya Limbo, the Proud Owner and Founder of Private Storey!
As we celebrate our sixth anniversary, we’re coming at you with a blog post dedicated to the always fab and amazing Anna (Aya) Limbo. Aya is the owner and founder of Private Storey, a brand that was established in 2016 with a passion to design and create sleepwear and loungewear products lovingly produced by our own Filipino sewers. We asked Aya a few questions about herself, her passions, and her career—get to know her by reading her responses below!
What’s your name? What do your friends and family like to call you?
My real full name is Anna Maria Lucia C. Limbo. My friends call me “Aya” from “Anna Maria” or Anna. My family calls me Anna most of the time. I’ve always wished to have my own business since I was young but didn’t know what it was. I wished to be like a strong and independent businesswoman like my Mama.
It all boils down to my own personal needs. I wanted to look nice before going to bed and when I woke up in the morning. Back in 2015, there wasn’t any nice sleepwear sold in sets like the ones on the shows I would watch…like Friends, Will & Grace, Gilmore Girls, etc. I wanted to look effortlessly nice when I Skyped with my long-term partner in Germany/UK. We had an 8-hour time difference at that time so we usually talked when I was about to go to bed or in the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t like to wear outside clothes, and my “pambahay” clothes at that time were just old shirts and rag shorts. Those video calls were technically our dates already; thus, I wanted to look nice for him but not appear trying so hard since I’d be going to bed anyway.
I struggled to find nice and affordable sleepwear sets everywhere, even in big department stores. So I hired someone to make me one. I only had it made for myself. I got inspiration from Pinterest and took screenshots from shows and movies. The sewer I had hired successfully sewn them with such a nice pattern and in the colour I really liked which complimented my skin. After wearing them for some time, my then-boyfriend and now fiancé took notice and told me how nice they look. My friends and cousins showered it with compliments as well when they saw it during sleepovers or on late night or early morning visits. They would ask me where I got it, and I would say I designed it and had it made. They told me they wanted to purchase and are willing to pay for a design and pattern like mine. From that moment on, I got butterflies in my stomach, and I told them, “It will be out for sale soon.” Six years later (with two years of lockdown from a deadly virus), our business is still here and growing. We’re glad we’re surviving despite the challenges of new competition with competitive pricing and designs. I am very proud to say that Private Storey pioneered in creating Philippine-made sleepwear and loungewear sets for women with very high standards of craftsmanship and dedication to patterns and materials.
How would you describe your company’s workplace culture?
We’re a very small and humble team, which includes our sewer, cutters, pattern-maker, quality control, dispatch ladies, and executive assistant. As a small business, we have to streamline our operations and make sure that everyone in the team is efficient and effective. And since we’re a very small group of people, we treat each other like family. Our sewers are very happy people; they always have music playing in the background, and they’re not shy to show off their dance moves anytime. We’re a very happy and close-knit team.
What are your top 3 favourite Private Storey Essentials?
- Maxine Sleepwear Set - The very first sleepwear set I designed. Whenever I travel and no matter the destination, this will be the first thing I pack in my bag.
- Skinny Scrunchies - I always have 1-2 Skinny Scrunchies in my bag and especially when I need to keep my hair out of my face.
- Aurora Parfum - I love smelling fresh and feeling fresh all day, so I need this in my life!
- My family and dogs
- Providing jobs and helping my fellow Filipinos uplift their lives
My greatest strength is my optimism. Whatever happens, there is a reason for it. Always look at the bright side or ask yourself, “What did you learn from this?” I believe in “Amor Fati,” which translates to “love of fate” or “love of one’s fate.”
“Amor Fati is the practice of accepting and embracing everything that has happened, is happening, and is yet to happen. It is understanding that the nature of the universe is change, and that without change we would not exist, our relationships would not exist, we wouldn’t laugh, cry, love, create, or grow. We would not experience any of this.”
What is something you struggle with?
I struggle to let go. I get attached easily and emotionally to things, people, and places. Life goes on and sometimes, adulting means letting go of material things, ending toxic friendships, and going away from places that have become too comfortable, stifling your growth. Adulting is very challenging but as I grow older and wiser, I try to manage my emotions more by reminding myself of “Amor Fati” and letting go of the negative whereabouts of my life. It’s true—life is too short to sulk.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Creating a business and providing jobs from a very young age of 22. My parents and brother have their own businesses as well, and I very much looked up to them because of how much they helped uplift the lives of people. Now that I am 28 years old, I am also involved in a custom wallpaper business with my brother, called The Printerie.
What do you treasure the most?
My family, including my fiancé and my dogs. I won’t be who I am today without them. The love, care, thoughtfulness, and happiness they bring are all priceless. Now that I am in Melbourne, Australia with my fiancé, I miss them every second of the day. It’s the longest time I’ve been away from family and The Philippines, I can’t wait to go home.
What’s next for Private Storey?
With the pandemic and the increase in competition as a brand, we’ve been very much challenged with what to do next and keep up with the trends. We’re very blessed to still be surviving as a small business because our customers trust the quality and fit of our products. We will also:
- Create new products with new patterns, designs, and fabrics.
- Look into collaborating with bigger brands out there and tap influencers who align with our passions.
- Come out with new essentials you can add to your bedroom and night-time routine.
- Create more designs inspired by my Filipino heritage.
- See Private Storey in physical retail stores again as our economy recovers.
- Come out with more affordable products.
- Delight our customers with more Make Your Own (MYO) Designs.
- Provide more jobs to Filipinos without shortchanging them. We’ll continue to honour our sewers.