Who Is Atoy Llave and Why Did Ikea Offer to Furnish His Tiny House?
Businessman and social media entrepreneur Atoy Llave of Atoy Customs is a pioneer of many things in the fickle-minded automotive aftermarket industry. In the 1990s, he became quickly known as the bodykit builder who customizes cars by modifying and adding fiberglass ground effects like side skirts and rear and front spoilers to make your car look like it can go faster. He has won every imaginable car show competition and, suffice to say, he’s been there, done that in the aftermarket trade. He takes his business mantra “You imagine, we create” to heart. He’s even gone as far as custom-building an amphibious vehicle capable of floating and moving on water, which he designed to be a rescue vehicle for LGUs.
In recent years, Llave began modifying and customizing medium to large-sized vans and even commercial vehicles and turning them into mobile offices and leisure vans. He has also become a customizer for celebrities who would need a large vehicle with folding tables, cabinetry and even a convertible folding bed inside their vans so they can rest or even work in between TV shoots.
Among the celebrities Atoy has customized include Kim Chiu’s van whose video has garnered over six million views. Actress Yassi Pressman was so happy with her custom van she was filmed dancing inside it when it was turned over to her. Multi-awarded actor John Arcilla best explains the benefits of having a custom van for celebrities who are constantly working in the field for film productions.
Llave also coined the word “Manila-proof,” a popular pre-pandemic term in the automotive trade, which means your vehicle is equipped with all the upgrades to keep you comfortable and be able to rest or even do some office work while on the go in Manila’s hellish traffic. One of the first “Manila Proof” builds he did was the van of celebrity host and influencer James Deakin, which was showcased at the 2019 Manila International Auto Show (MIAS).
Fast forward to 2022, Atoy Customs veered away from its larger-than-life Manila-proofing projects, to focus on making Manila “pandemic-proof” instead. Llave says that, through lockdown-induced YouTube binges, he was introduced to the Tiny House lifestyle seen in popular US TV shows. Intrigued by the simple yet intricate construction of the homes, he took an old trailer, and got to work.
At the 2022 Manila International Auto Show (MIAS), he unveiled the Tiny House Furnished by Ikea project. Llave saw another business opportunity in the leisure craft industry. This fully mobile trailer allows adventure-seeking customers the means to create memorable moments by going on road trips and unwind. It’s believed to be the first-ever Filipino-made Tiny House Trailer. This fully integrated home-on-wheels setup is a partnership with Ikea Philippines, which has always been focused on making better choices to build an affordable, quality, sustainable, beautiful and functional homes, even tiny ones.
Committed to bringing any space to life, Ikea’s Tiny Homes project was an opportunity for the Swedish furniture giant to support a local company, Atoy Customs, especially in showcasing how one can affordably furnish a small home. Alyana Hipe of Ikea Philippines design team says Ikea helped to select the products with the right features to support the objective of Atoy Customs for a meaningful and comfortable stay for those renting the van, even when on the move.
Atoy Customs’ Tiny Homes Furnished by Ikea project is essentially a fun and comfortable experience among campers or travelers. At the same, it serves as an inspiration and showcase to people who are living in small spaces.
Watch this video interview with Atoy Llave and a tour of his Tiny House Trailer by our friends at Top Gear Philippines: