Cyndi Fernandez Beltran On How She Chose To Adapt During The Pandemic
About ten months ago, you would see Moss Design House’s principal and design director Cyndi Fernandez Beltran hopping from one event to another, taking the lead in executing and styling some of Manila’s poshest events. “Our mixed-scale events would be about 20 in a month. It can go as high as 35 to 40 on peak season,” Cyndi recalls how tight and hectic those days were at Moss Design House. “[It] can be quite overwhelming. The work hours were very long and unpredictable, and nights turn into days,” she says, reminiscing how her team’s typical days then were. On top of that, they also did interior design projects, popups and installations. This was what her life was for the past 12 years until COVID-19, which paralysed the events industry. “I was a bit prepared,” the pro-active leader says, armed with her contingency plan. “But what I did not expect was that it will stretch until the end of the year and quite possibly until the whole of 2021,” she says. “When [we started receiving] cancellations as many as five in a day, I had to brace myself and the team for what was about to come.”
She bravely faced these challenges and looked at the pandemic as a catalyst for change. “I had to re-calibrate myself to think of ways to navigate this change. Events is a direct hit but because Moss is a multi-disciplinary firm, it allowed us to focus and tap into our other design disciplines like interior design and retail,” Cyndi explains how she was able to re-boot the company. “What has come as a silver lining is that this time allowed us to be as collaborative and as creative as we can be to churn out the best business pivots.”
The pandemic and its effects on business, career and life made Cyndi realise that “yesterday’s success does not guarantee today’s survival”. With this in mind, she re-ignited her entrepreneurial side and her creativity. “It taught me to make tougher business calls and be mindful that what I do each day is not only for my survival but mostly for my people.”
Today, things have changed a lot for Cyndi. While she and her team still do hybrid, virtual and intimate events, as well as installations for brands here and there, Moss rebranded after 11 years, shifting to bringing design into people’s homes—something Cyndi has deep in her roots being a licenced interior designer. She, along with her team, also launched a design-oriented Youtube channel, titled, Mr & Mrs B of Moss Design House. “We have teamed up with award-winning producer Michael Carandang to produce a quality show that aims to inspire, educate and give insights to the real practice of interior design through home transformations,” she reveals. Five new service platforms were also launched at Moss such as Design on Demand, an online interior design platform; thematic curated tablescape and backdrop rentals; curated gift boxes for seeding; Moss Manila Home Fluffing for fuss-free home makeovers; and Virch, a service that creates customised digital backgrounds. Just recently, Cyndi collaborated with Filipino designer, Mark Bumgarner, for a limited-edition collection for Moss Home.
At the height of the pandemic, Cyndi asked herself: “Is there life after events?” To which she replied, “Yes, there is. I learnt to open my eyes and create opportunities even when there’s none; to explore unchartered territories and take calculated risks; to just go for it and not wait for the perfect time because there will never be a perfect time. There is so much more to life than your career. I came from being excessively busy to slowing down overnight and that came as a shock to my system. But I learnt to appreciate the time given to me and my family and I started taking notice of the things I needed to be grateful for. I learnt to count my blessings because blessings do come in different forms.”