Being stuck at home has given us a surplus of time to work on personal projects—and to endlessly scroll through social media. For some of us, that’s led to forming groups with like-minded people sharing the same hobbies.
There’s A Support Group For That will introduce you to these niche social media groups for specific interests you may or may not have known existed. In this series, we talk to founders of the groups on how they formed, what has been keeping their groups alive, and all the things they and their members have budol-ed each other over.
“I think people realized na oh no, whoever promised us that it’s gonna be a month or so, it’s not true. We’re gonna be stuck here forever,” says Home Buddies founder Frances Cabatuando, on the surge of people getting into home improvement.
By now, the group and the name “Home Buddies” is no secret. What started as Cabatuando’s simple documentation of her new living space on Instagram @nobi.home evolved into a Facebook group of almost 3 million Filipinos—all with the same basic desire: to improve their homes for the long haul.
It was almost a year ago when people had started messaging her, asking where she’d gotten some of her items. “Common questions: Saan mo nabili yan? Paano mo ginawa yan? Can you help me decide which of the two should I buy? As in para akong naging consultant,” Cabatuando says, adding that part of the motivation to create the group was the desire to also connect other people looking for the same things.
Inspired by the big Facebook group forerunners like Coffee Home Brewers, Best of the Best, and Let’s Eat Pare, Cabatuando thought of ways to make the group engaging, and not just about posting photos of each other’s rooms. She started with a minimalism game, wherein participants had to declutter and get rid of at least one item per day to achieve the minimalist aesthetic in their spaces. And with more and more members coming in with questions, Home Buddies also began to have webinars where experts could chime in on whether to get a gas stove or an induction stove, or if it’s more cost-efficient to leave your air conditioning on 24/7.
But one of the things the group has become known for is where to buy things for your home. The group’s members have also teamed up following their own aesthetics—#TeamPuti and #TeamKahoy being the earliest ones. And while one of the group’s special features, Monday Market, initially started as a “budol” list, it has also come to serve as a space for small businesses to promote themselves.
“I realized it’s a two way thing. I’m not just helping myself or other people makahanap ng pagkakagastusan, I opened a platform for sellers to earn.”
And with around 2.6 million members (and counting!), the group can already be considered a sample size of the country’s population. A microcosm, if you will, as you’ll be able to see the variety of attitudes, aesthetics, and even states of life of the members as you scroll through.