The world inspired three ladies to start their businesses
Filipino fashion entrepreneurs have innate creativity and skills, and can showcase local products to the rest of the world. Among them are young business mavens Jackie Tan and Kaye Ong, the sole-duo of Suelas, and Anya Lim of Anthill Fabric Gallery. Traveling around the world did not only take these fab women into places, but also brought them to the ideas that led to their business triumphs.
Motivated by the hassle they experience when packing shoes into their luggage, Tan and Ong created Suelas, the country’s first brand of foldable shoes.
“It’s just difficult to pack several pairs of shoes into the luggage, and it’s a recurring problem every time I have to travel,” Ong said. “Also, even in the office, wearing heels can be quite hard on the feet.”
During their travels abroad, the duo would look at the latest trends and designs of shoes and incorporate them into their own brand.
“We get inspiration from a variety of things—landscapes and different cities, styles of people we look up to, and fashion trends that are in season. We gather ideas based on our individual style preferences and combine them to create collections and products that are stylish and compact for our customers to bring to their travels,” Ong said.
Traveling allows the duo to get a fresh perspective on how things are done and how ideas are executed in other parts of the country and the world. “When we see new things or even familiar concepts in different cities, it sparks our creativity, and challenges us to continue to improve our products,” Ong added.
Meanwhile, Lim of Anthill Fabric Gallery said, “When I founded Anthill or the Alternative Nest and Trading/Training Hub for Indigenous/Ingenious Little Livelihood, I applied what I learned from my trips. This is a space for artists, artisan, designers, and even students to create fashion products from indigenous fabrics that are sourced from all over the country,” Lim said. “Add to the mix the new ways of integrating different kinds of fabrics that we see abroad, we get really great products.”
Since her family is in the business of fabrics, Lim chose to use the material that others would just take for granted as the medium to advance her cause: local hand-woven fabrics.
“My trips abroad and around the country opened my eyes. Within the Philippines, I saw that there was a lack or a gap in the transmission of cultural identity. Weaving, for example, is a dying art form as the techniques and tradition that come with it are not passed on to the next generation. We wanted to be able to showcase our Filipino heritage and this is one way of helping to preserve it,” Lim added.
Suelas, with headquarters along Jupiter Street in Makati City, is available in major malls in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro. Anthill Fabric Gallery on the other hand, is located in Mariposa Street, Gorordo Avenue in Cebu City.
As proven by Suelas and Anthill Fabric Gallery, traveling can open up a whole new world of possibilities. Just like the young entrepreneurs behind these brands, budding Filipino business creatives can take inspiration from exploring their dream destinations with Cebu Pacific.
The country’s leading low-cost airline has the most extensive network to and from the Philippines, with over 90 routes on 64 destinations, spanning Asia, Australia, and the Middle East.