Quarkus Designs Merging Eco-Friendliness Social Sustainability and the Human-Centered Approach

For Quarkus Designs founders Rebie Ramoso and Kristine Calleja, creating businesses that promote social advocacies is second nature. They’ve founded several ventures together, each with a certain advocacy these women want to promote. They’ve also always been involved in the arts – Rebie in particular, who is usually the product designer while Christine manages the business end.

This time around, their advocacy in creating and developing Quarkus is helping the environment. For every product on their line, whether retail or made-to-order, they take special care to use materials that don’t harm the environment and are sustainable. They have a broad target, but generally they want to cater to a market that is concerned or aware of the trend of sustainability, such that this clientele can appreciate the need for eco-friendliness in their everyday lives.

Quarkus Designs Merges Eco-Friendliness and Social Sustainability

Another advocacy they uphold is a standard of social sustainability, wherein they consider the artisans they work with as partners, not subcontractors, and see them as valuable participants in the creative process. In this regard, they protect the rights of people who create their products and conceptualize, create and refine every product with them.

There’s something else that’s special about Quarkus’ products: the company utilizes a wholly human-centered approach in the creation of all their made-to-order and retail products.

Effectively explaining the concept of the human-centered approach, Rebie says, “When [you] create products […] you have to consider that the center of your design process or everything that you create is the person that you’re trying to serve. So it comes naturally that [in] a design company, the designer would have to have that responsibility to get to know the needs of the consumer or the person that you’re trying to serve in order to come up with things or with products that would necessarily address their needs.”

Basically, the foundations of all Quarkus’ creative processes are the needs of its clients or intended customers. Rebie, Kristine and their team realize these needs by interviewing some people, but more often by observing their everyday habits. In the case of made-to-order products, the creative process usually starts by talking to the client – getting to know them, understanding what they want out of a product – and then conceptualizing with the artisans on how to best fit the customer’s specifications. There’s a lot of back and forth that comes after, as they discuss with both sides and revise the design over and over again until all parties (the customer, the artisans and the designers themselves) are satisfied.

It’s a communication system that’s made easier by technology, as the Quarkus team doesn’t always have to meet their customers or artisans in order to discuss designs.  Instead, they can chat online or through mobile call and text.  They can also stay connected anytime and anywhere with mobile data, which lets them answer customer concerns instantly and efficiently.  Finalizing designs is a process that admittedly does take a while, but Rebie says the end results are definitely worth the wait.

It’s a communication system that’s made easier by technology, as the Quarkus team doesn’t always have to meet their customers or artisans in order to discuss designs. Instead, they can chat online or through mobile call and text. They can also stay connected anytime and anywhere with mobile data, which lets them answer customer concerns instantly and efficiently. Finalizing designs is a process that admittedly does take a while, but Rebie says the end results are definitely worth the wait.

Their clients are well aware and understanding of the time it takes to perfect each design, and are grateful and eager to pitch in their ideas. In line with this, Rebie also says that the advantage in using this approach is, “You automatically get the insight of your client. At the onset, you already know what you are creating is something your client needs, [so] in regard to marketing, you hit it immediately.”

So why should a business adopt the human-centered approach? Rebie answers, “At the end of the day, you know that the products that you are creating are going to be effective for a particular market as compared to, for example, when you design without having enough insight as to what your consumer needs.”

Moreover, this approach is a rising global trend that may very soon take over various industries, and starting early gives your company an edge.

“Even non-design studios are applying it because they see the value of getting insight from their consumers or from their market, so I think this is something that companies realize – that the very core of their business is really the client,” Rebie says.

It may take a while to get used to it, however. Rebie understands this well – as the business’ founder and the products’ designer, she always has her own perspective on how to run the business and how she wants the designs to look.

But in regard to that, she says, “At the end of the day we have to consider that whatever it is that we do, whatever business that we run, what we are doing is we are actually serving a particular market. It becomes intrinsic to all of us to become more open to [our customers’] insights and to consider that what they want, what they need – their input – are valuable in our conducts of business.”