Meet the Maker: Melanie Dianne Aquino Manso of Habibi Gift Shop

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in Meet the Makers, News | No Comments


What do you make? How did you get into it?
Habibi Gift Shop provides perfect gifts for any occasion. I create designs for shirts and mugs, make dreamcatchers, handstamped pouches and so much more!

I started Habibi Gift Shop because of my passion for both creating handmade goodies and giving gifts. It all started when I was in second grade. I sold pineapple hair clips and grated crayons for decoration purposes to my classmates. A few years later, someone taught me how to make bracelets and necklaces. I was hooked! She ended up giving me her entire collection of beads. In high school, I preserved flowers and leaves for different art projects. When I finally reached college, I hand-stitched felt cases and sold them online.

I realized that throughout my entire life, there are two things that interest me the most: creating and selling. I always get so excited whenever an occasion is fast approaching because it gives me a chance to make and give something special to someone close to my heart. Habibi is an Arabic word that means “my beloved.” This is how my Lola address me and my cousins. I thought it would be an awesome name for my gift shop since choose and give gifts to our habibis.


Ceramic mugs Melanie designed.


Are you a full-time crafter? If not, what is your day job?
I’m not yet a full-time crafter. I’m working from home as a graphics designer and website developer.


Meet Melanie Manso, the woman behind Habibi Gift Shop.

What motivates you in pursuing this business?
It’s definitely my great love for handmade products and giving gifts!

What are some of the challenges of maintaining a craft business?
There are quite a number of challenges

  • Lack of supplies available in our country
  • Reaching out to like-minded individuals
  • Marketing and advertising

Oh! There’s so much to learn but I’m loving the whole process.

Handmade dream catchers!

Handmade dream catchers!

What’s a new skill–craft or business–that you’d like to learn?
Calligraphy, screenprinting, making resin jewelry, bookbinding, weaving – ah! The list is endless.

What’s your most recent craft business milestone?
Being one of the concessionaires at the Mini Maker’s Market in Cebu. Yay!

Awesome locally designed graphic shirts!

Awesome locally designed graphic shirts!

What is your favorite lesson in your experience of your business?
Stop making excuses and just do things. There are so many things you can do, if you just start on trying. One more thing – minimize your time on pinning! Haha

What craft business advice can you share with other aspiring entrepreneurs?

  • Do what you love to do
  • Sell what you want to use
  • Maintain good quality of products
  • Always remember to provide excellent customer service
  • Take some time off to get inspired

If you were a craft tool, what would you be? And why?
Definitely, strings! There are just so much you can do with them.

What can we expect to see from you guys at the upcoming Maker’s Market?
I’ll be selling an assortment of gift items like dreamcatchers, mugs, shirts, handstamped pouches, bead buffet in a jar, paper frames, DIY kits, framed artwork, and keychains.

Habibi Gift Shop's Bead Buffet is a gift of creativity!

Habibi Gift Shop’s Bead Buffet is a gift of creativity!

Where else can we find your work?
If you’re interested with DIY projects and reading my personal adventures, head over to my blog at For the products I’m selling, it’s all posted at Habibi Gift Shop’s Facebook page.

• Facebook
• Instagram

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