They say “life is what you make of it,” and for Marites Allen, this famous quote rings true.
In fact, she says while some aspects of our lives are “pre-determined,” there are still a number of ways to help chart the course of one’s destiny.
And while there is really no substitute to setting goals and working hard to achieve them, Allen says sometimes, it is better to know how to live in harmony with the natural elements in our environment, simply because “it is by achieving balance in the natural elements around us that we become successful and truly happy.”
Allen is an international feng shui master, and is the first and only Filipino to be awarded the title “Master in Feng Shui” by the International Feng Shui Association. She is also the founder and CEO of House of Allen Ltd., a fairly new fashion company registered in London, England, which is also found in 27 European countries, and more recently, the Philippines
The company has both an online website under the name www.frigga.co.uk and physical stores under the brand Frigga Charmed Life. It was originally launched in August 2012 and then later in March 2014 through its London website.
In the Philippines, the company first opened Frigga at the SM Mall of Asia in November 2014, followed closely by other branch openings in The Block in Quezon City, SM Megamall, Glorietta IV, and another branch opening in SM Seaside Cebu this month.
Allen describes the brand as a fashion house “rooted in the concept of feng shui’s prosperity and luck.
She explains, “We need to live in harmony with natural elements in our environment, and the most personal and intimate aspects of the environment are the clothes and accessories we wear.”
Allen adds that she decided on the brand name Frigga as taken from the name of a Nordic goddess, whom she describes as “the goddess of all goddesses, who possessed the power to read destiny. According to tales and legends, she is also the wife of King Odin and the mother of Thor.”
Presently, one can find in her stores fashion lines for women, ranging from auspiciously designed blouses and shirts; to accessories like scarves, bags, wallets and even necklaces and bracelets, adorned with charms and mantra symbols specifically designed for each animal sign in Chinese astrology. She also offers a limited line for men, as well as books and calendars where one can consult one’s feng shui for the current year.
The inspiration behind the concept, she says came after she and her family moved from the Philippines to England in 2010. She was then at a crossroads in her life. Having been fascinated with fashion, Allen decided to go back to school and went to the UAL- London College of Fashion and took several courses on starting one’s own fashion business, fashion styling and other similar courses.
Determined to start her own business fully entwined with her firm belief in the power of feng shui, Allen shares, “I formed a great team, [which had]my professor at the university, who helped with research and branding, until we were able to do a soft launch in the second half of 2012.”
When asked to describe the House of Allen as a company today, the seemingly tireless and charming CEO replies, “It is still a very lean start up company for now. I started it solely by myself and my eldest son, and there are currently two entities in London and Amsterdam that want to venture into Frigga. I am still thinking about it, but yes certainly having more hands, brains and capital into the business is always a good welcome option.”
Allen also reveals that she is very much excited to explore the huge Asian market. She feels it is even easier to do so now with digital technology, where the traditional brick and mortar set up is no longer the only option. Allen is also confident that her team designing the fashion lines can compete with the best global designers.
“I have a design team spearheaded by one of UK’s top fashion business consultants Toby Meadows, and Alice Shreeve and Hannah Coniam, the accomplished duo behind the Belle and Bunty brand.”
As for future plans, Allen says they are now in the process of developing the Frigga home line. She describes her latest venture as auspicious symbols which can be displayed in various parts of the house, to perfectly match one’s dining table, living room and bedrooms. This expansion in the home line will be unveiled in due time, she says, and is incorporated in her company’s medium term plans.
For now, Allen says she is busy shuttling back and forth London and Manila, with side trips for possible business ventures in between. She also actively shares her feng shui knowledge, through private consultations with her clients and public speaking engagements.
She envisions her own place someday, where she can welcome people on a private basis for feng shui consultations, conduct trainings, and wellness pursuits in general. She wants the place to be a serene and calm destination, so she deems it should be by the sea.
Allen says according to the principles of feng shui, our destiny can be subdivided into three: luck from the heavens, luck from the earth, and luck that you bring upon yourself through your actions. She explains that while some have been given more luck from the heavens than the others, the other two aspects can be enhanced and modified to boost one’s success.
After all, she says it only takes two thirds of the all three sources to be successful in life. And enhancing these two remaining aspects is where she would gladly help anyone who envisions a charmed life.