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by Lionel Emil Javier |

by: Lex Perry (@xelyrrep)


Photos taken by: Cris Ong (@cristutooo)


It’s really awesome to see how people from the local scene or local community continue to step up and really focus on what they are passionate about. Of all the destinations in the Philippines, we’ve noticed that a lot of creative minds hail from the first capital of the country; the Queen City of the South – Cebu.

Expanding our network and connecting with other spirited folks, we are blessed with the opportunity to meet some brilliant Cebuanos who are making their presence felt and leaving an exceptional mark to the younger generations before them.

For this feature, we got the privilege to hear how founder Willow Hoods put up The Good Neighborhood (@thegoodneighborhood)  a retail store carrying a variety of goods from a number of brands across the country, and we also get a glimpse of his story and how he was able to establish himself as a barber, consultant, brand owner and an overall creative. If you ever aspire to take on a similar path, I invite you guys to go and give the thread a read. Soak in all the lessons and information you can get.


Good day brother! What were you doing before answering this interview?

I’m here at the Barbershop , training our newly hired barbers.

Alright. Before anything else, please introduce yourself.

Im Willow Hoods, Co-Founder of TUF® Barbershop and also happen to be the Founder of The Good Neighborhood. 

Who or what gave you the idea to put up The Good Neighborhood? How did you start?

When i was a kid, I always wish to have a spot where i can go… Do whatever, and feel comfortable… so this is more like trying to build something that I wish I had when I was 14 you know… Cause you can come here in any given day and theres gonna be someone in here that you can make new friends with.

What’s the platform of the store and what do you aim to achieve with TGN?

I want it to be a home of independent band merch and brands from both local and foreign.

In the future, I see it not just being a retail store, but also a platform for magazines , making films, shooting photos a place that gives a voice.

How do you select and tap the brands and businesses you want to work with?

We select the brands the same way we have the store and its all quite considered based on our personal taste and what we like and appreciate.

Aside from TGN, you juggle being the Co-Founder of TUF Barbershop, having your own brand Original Sharp, and a consultant for hire. You got your hands in pretty interesting fields and that can be really demanding of your time; how do you manage to get the jobs done?

Yes, cause this is kinda something you do when you are young and you know… You got no responsibilities and you can just spend money and all that stuff… so in my case its definitely challenging cause you have a lot of things you miss out on family and other stuff. Its just a matter of how you handle your priorities and you really need to be good with time management.

The number of brands and retails stores across the country continue to increase in number. What’s your stand on ‘competition’ and what do you do differently compared to other specialty stores?

To be honest, I never believed in ‘competition’ im even stoked at what is happening right now… Its a very healthy sign.

You’re never competing against anyone but yourself cause if your focus is looking at your “competitor”, you’re limiting how fast and far you can go. You lose your way and you begin following theirs.

How do you combat adversities and keep your ideas + creativity flowing?

Hardcore music for sure put me on in every single thing I like… It taught me how to be human and how to treat people… and how people should operate… so as long i hear music… in general… my ideas and creativity will always be flowing.

Let’s talk relationship building. Tell us something about the local community in Cebu. Why is it essential to really connect with the people around you?

What do you give to people besides a t-shirt? What can you teach them? What can you show them? For us, they can come here and take away more than just a shirt. I can help them look for their preferred photographer or connect them to people who can help with what they are trying to do.

Cebu is the home of other great artists and early brand owners like Nick Automatic. It also serves as one of the popular destinations for special events apart from Sinulog. How has this help pave the way for the street culture in the Visayas region?

Ive known Nix before Nick Automatic – our bands get to play in the same production house together before. Anyway, in my opinion, Nix did not just pave the way for the culture locally; but he also placed a mark of our flag worldwide through his art.

I saw how the brand Nick Automatic inspired and enabled individuals pursue their passion, not just in building their own clothing brand but also in other crafts that they are good at.

With TGN, we’re certain that you are helping push the culture forward. Take it away with a special advice for others who want to pursue something similar to what you do. 

Steve Jobs once said :

“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful and not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.” 

I remember reading that and not really connecting the dots on what he meant. But looking back now at what we’re making here from being part of the corporate world for more than a decade then Barbering… TUF® Barbershop, Original Sharp, The Good Neighborhood  and some other stuffs I do on the side… It’s like, yeah, I think I get it now: just make the good stuff and keep on making them. I think when you’re younger you plant the seed and you sort of just sit there and wait for the plant to show itself. I get it. I was that kid once too. But I’ve come to realize you gotta keep planting the seeds. They all figure themselves out eventually and I’m still planting them.

––Willow Hoods (@willowhoods)

If you ever find yourselves in Cebu, make sure to drop by their store located at 91-C. Esmero St. Capitol Site, Cebu City for your daily essential goods and gears. Click HERE to stay updated with their drops and upcoming releases – while you’re at it, treat yourself with a fresh cut and fade over at TUF Barbershop. Check their schedule of availability and store branches by clicking HERE.

Since we’re talking about relationship building, you guys can expect a partnership and collaboration between The Good Neighborhood & DBTK. We’ll keep you guys posted, so keep your eyes peeled for now. We’ll see you guys soon around the Queen City!