The woman behind Chokmah’s candy-colored trays has had an equally colorful career

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Joyce Orollo, 35, has an interesting CV. A graduate of the LASALLE College of Arts, she worked as an interior decorator but on the advice of her mother, changed careers and became an air hostess. After doing this for a while, she decided to explore her faith by enrolling in a theology program with the intention of becoming a minister.

Today however, Orollo, though still spiritual, promotes sustainability through his company Chokmah (pronounced hok-mah, meaning “wisdom” in Hebrew). The company, which she started three years ago, produces homewares from jesmonite, a unique material that can be remelted endlessly. The company combines Orollo’s background in interior design, her experience working with people, and her passion for environmental responsibility. Customers can buy direct or sign up for its popular workshops, where they can learn how to make their own pieces.

HAVE CREATIVE PURSUITS BEEN ENCOURAGED IN YOUR HOME?

My creative influence comes mainly from my father, who is an architect. Growing up, I would always be around my dad while he worked at home. He passed me his old drafts and drawings, and I used them to draw and color. From an early age, I was already exposed to various design styles. I grew up playing with model homes and had the chance to see how a design that starts on paper becomes a real building.

On the days when my father didn’t use the computer for work, he let me use the Paint software. I could spend hours on it playing with colors. Unknowingly, I guess, I grew up in design and it encouraged me to pursue the arts during my high school years, which led me to LASALLE College of the Arts, where I earned a degree in interior design.

YOU HAVE TRIED IN A FEW VERY DIFFERENT INDUSTRIES BEFORE YOU STARTED CHOKMAH. HOW DID IT HAPPEN?

While working in the interior design industry, I really enjoyed interacting with people and designing their homes. It was very rewarding to see my creations come to life in this way. However, my mother encouraged me to pursue a career as a flight attendant. I wanted to respect his wishes, so I agreed to try.

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