A Conversation For Conservation: Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez Pushes For a Sustainable Purpose With Philux - LA Lives

Last June 5, 2022, Smart Infinity released the third episode of their Infinite Legacies documentary featuring Philux Creative Entrepreneur and Managing Director, Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez

“A changemaker is someone who lives a life of purpose—someone who can pay it forward and inspire others to do the same.” This was how Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez’s Infinite Legacies episode welcomed its viewers. For someone like Stephanie, having a certain advocacy in anything we do is necessary, especially if it’s for the betterment of our future, and the future of those who will come after us. There are countless ways on how to live a life with purpose, and speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves is one of them. In Stephanie’s case, it’s not exactly a person she’s fighting for, but a place—our place.

Sustainability is a massive factor in ensuring Mother Earth remains intact, which is why Stephanie has strived and is continually striving to source materials for Philux from sustainably managed forests. “We do our best to source ethically,” she said. And throughout her dedicated episode on Infinite Legacies, the new TV documentary produced by Smart Infinity, Smart Communications, Inc’s luxury postpaid brand, Stephanie opened her doors to give us a peek on how she and her team at Philux, including her younger sister Jessica Kienle Maxwell, do their best in creating beautiful pieces for different spaces, all while making the world a kinder place to be in.

Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez (middle) and the team behind Smart Infinity’s Infinite Legacies

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A family bond that started it all

Philux started out as a joint business venture by Stephanie’s parents wherein they only had two carpenters with them. As time went by, their team grew bigger and bigger, and both Stephanie and Jessica were welcomed into the family business. The older sister even mentioned what their father imparted onto her:

“[My father] always said, ‘Steph, to learn the business, you have to have your feet firmly planted on the ground, and you need to learn from everyone who’s a specialist in what they do.’”

Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez on the knowledge her father shared with her when she was starting out
Stephanie overlooking the operations at Philux’s warehouse

Her dad’s wise words were what helped Stephanie be the Managing Director she is today. She familiarized herself not only with the company, but also with those who make the company what it is. The kind of bond that she and her family had growing up was eventually passed on to Philux as she and the team collaborate closely with one another to achieve new designs they have in mind.

As Stephanie grew older and stepped into the real world, it wasn’t just her parents’ influence that inspired her to hop on board. She was immersed in various cultures, especially since she is half-Swiss, half-Filipina, and traveled to different countries around the globe. Stephanie was a witness to a staggering amount of art that simply made her see things in a different and more mature perspective. She shared, “The cultural sites, the architectural sites—they really wowed me, and I think [that was] when I truly started appreciating art and design.”

Stephanie and her company’s Infinite legacy

Green Antz initiative in partnership with PLDT, Smart, and Philux

“A good design is combining, in my opinion, appeal and purpose.” With Stephanie’s personal advocacy of fighting for sustainability, Philux remains one of the country’s furniture brands that continues to promote both beauty and resourcefulness. They have even partnered with Green Antz Builders, Inc., a circular economy and innovation group that develops and deploys solutions to address waste management, particularly single-use plastic.

As Stephanie was trying to figure out how Philux can decrease their carbon footprint by doing something with plastic packaging waste, she discovered that Green Antz repurposes plastic to become construction materials like eco-bricks to build schools.

“She has always been, and especially in recent years, more and more involved and active in conservation. Being in a business that uses wood as its main material, sustainability is a core value in the company, and this was something Stephanie felt very strongly about early on when she joined Philux.”

Jessica Kienle Maxwell on her sister Stephanie’s purpose as an advocate for conservation

Ever since she was a kid, Stephanie has always felt nourished by nature, which is why when she met Rommel Benig, the President and CEO of Green Antz, she knew it was a match made in sustainability heaven. Rommel shared that their partnership with Philux began with plastic waste collection and diverting them away from the environment, and that it’s still happening today. They have even managed to upcycle around 1,500 kilos of single-use plastic. Meanwhile, phase two of the partnership between Philux and Green Antz is for them to develop new products from the plastics being collected, thus creating and institutionalizing the circular economy model through collaboration and innovation.

From left to right: Philux artisan coordinating with sisters Jessica and Stephanie

Stephanie shared that her team over at Philux is excited about this collaboration to create and reintroduce chair gliders in the production line, but will now be made from the collected plastics with the help of Green Antz. According to her, “The circular economy model is a wonderful method to reduce business impact on our environment, and I find that very appealing for long-term sustainability goals.”

As a pro-active creative and entrepreneur, this is only the beginning for Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez and Philux as they strive to create not just beautiful, but also sustainably crafted pieces of furniture for the Filipino people.

Visit Smart Infinity’s website for more information about the other changemakers showcasing infinite possibilities. To stay updated on the next episode, follow them on Instagram.

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