A good year to grow–and to give consumers more of what they wantBy Alex Y. Vergara, Anne A. Jambora, Cheche V. Moral, Raoul J. Chee Kee, Vangie Baga-Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Riding the wave of optimism that the start of 2013 is bringing, retailers in fashion, food and consumer products are all set to grow. Seems like the more forward-thinking entrepreneurs are consolidating the lessons learned from last year—especially about the habits and nuances of their respective core markets—and making sure that their loyal buyers keep buying.
As Plains & Prints’ Roxanne Farillas puts it, it’s about working to “understand the evolving needs of [our] segment and find ways to meet their ever-changing needs.”
Those who did exceptionally well have the luxury to further break down these markets, and toy with the idea of developing new ones, with new food or fashion concepts for a public with bigger buying power. All in all, a myriad of choices and big opportunities will make for what’s shaping up to be an exciting year in retail.
Ronald Pineda, owner and CEO, Folded and Hung
Folded and Hung has lined up a number of activities for 2013, designed to promote the brand as well as generate interest in the local fashion industry. This year, the brand has come up with quarterly events that will highlight each fashion season.
This summer, for instance, we will go to the country’s top summer destination, bringing in irresistible beats, hot bodies and good vibes. This year will also be highlighted by a first in fashion, as far as the local RTW industry is concerned. We’d rather not divulge it yet.
Furthermore, we remain true to our customers as we strive to deliver clothes that are fashionable, unique, and with impeccable fit. Folded and Hung’s Famous Salon will also open more branches in order to reach out to a bigger market.
Now on its first year, the salon is beginning to develop a loyal clientele in need of that salon experience unique to Folded and Hung. With these efforts, we hope Folded and Hung will become more than just a lifestyle brand this year, but also a habit among fashion-forward Filipinos.
Millie Dizon, VP for marketing, SM
We will be opening new malls and new stores in 2013, as well as renovating and expanding existing ones. Along with these will come new store and mall designs and exciting new retail concepts to serve our customers better.
We will have more tie-ups with government agencies like the DFA to enhance our services beyond shopping. We are also beginning the year with a joint venture with Waltermart, so we are looking forward to a dynamic 2013.
Jeff Bascon, brand director, Oxygen and For Me
For Oxygen, the plan has always been to be a brand for people with a strong sense of style. The year 2012 was an amazing one for Oxygen and we definitely intend to capitalize on sustainable growth for the brand.
With a global mindset, the new store design concept that was introduced to several stores like Trinoma, Shangri-La, and more last year will be applied to even more stores this 2013 through renovations and opening of new sites. As always, more than marketing, we really just want our products to speak for themselves.
This year, it’s about having that confidence that whatever we offer to our market has been well-researched, thought out and tweaked to what our market needs. This means that fashion trends in our stores will be on point. Oxygen is fashion dictation.
For Me will boast of a younger, more stylish and fashionable brand for women in 2012. It’s all about making sure that the lifestyle the brand is associated with reflects a modern take on femininity and boldness. Brand ambassador, TV personality and entrepreneur Patti Grandidge is a perfect example of this.
Last year, a very clean and sophisticated new store design concept was introduced in the likes of Megamall, Trinoma, and the flagship store in Shangri-La. This 2013, the new design concept will be visible in more stores.
And more importantly, it’s all about going beyond demographics. It’s more about focusing on psychographics. As long as you have the desire to feel stylish and confident, this brand is for you. So, expect to see a younger and fresher For Me this 2013.
Eman Pineda, founder and president, Adora
There are two things:
1. Focus on service, service and service! We are reviewing inside-out how we can better the already great service we have. 2. Focus on the development of Adora’s in-house brand named Harlan+Holden.
Roxanne Farillas, vice president, Plains & Prints
Our top priorities for 2013: Continue to strengthen our relationship with our core market; create affordable fashion for the working woman and provide more perks and deals for them; and continue to understand the evolving needs of this segment and find ways to meet their ever-changing needs.
Katsumi Kubota, chief operations officer, Fast Retailing Phils. (Uniqlo)
In 2013, Uniqlo will grow in the Philippines. We plan to open four stores in the first half of this year, and working to open more stores by year’s end. After the opening of the first store last year, we learned what kind of ingredients we need to add to Uniqlo products so that they taste even better for Filipino friends. Doing business in the Philippines has started to help us make our products even more truly “global.”
George Youssef, country head, Adidas Phils.
For Adidas Phils., 2013 will be the year of running. It will be our main focus to strengthen this category. But this is the market where basketball is really great, so some basketball celebrities will be here within the year. We will also open three of our own concept stores, besides our franchisees’ stores this year.
Pinky Yee, marketing director, Goldilocks
Our plan for 2013 is to continue to find new ways for our products to reach our customers, to make their overall experience better, and to ensure close interaction with them. Our stores are ever improving in terms of aesthetics and functionality, making the customer journey even more delightful and efficient. This year also opens a world of engagement—possibilities in social media. Thus we are enhancing our presence there.
Sandee Siytangco-Masigan, restaurateur, X/O 46 Bistro Filipino
My top plan personally is to eat healthier and cook healthier food for my family. For XO, we’re moving into catering and churning out more Pinoy favorites.
Margarita ‘Gaita’ Fores, chef and restaurateur, Cibo, Lusso
My top plan is to get Grace Park up and running. It’s a farm-to-table, seed-to-plate concept celebrating organic farmers and artisan producers from our shores and all over the world. It will showcase going back to basics, making pasta or pesto by hand the Artusi way, as well as celebrating the “slow food” philosophy. A perfectly matched concept to build, as Casa Artusi Philippines is also being born to share its philosophy with others in this part of the world—lots to do on my 25th year!
Philip Moran, Amici general manager
For 2013 we plan to launch Cara Mia in a bigger way by opening Cara Mia standalone cafés. We will continue to launch new gelatos and gelato cake flavors throughout the year. For Amici, we plan to launch many new initiatives like a discount club card, new menu promos in May and October, and a drink cocktail menu to enhance night activities in certain locations.
Rikki Dee, businessman and restaurateur, Mesa, Kai
It was indeed a good year for us. We are looking at continuous growth for our company this year amidst challenges and tougher competition. We launched two community/neighborhood malls (Central Mall) last year, which perform above our expectations. With that, we are launching two more centers this year.
In our food business, 2013 will see our entry into global brands licensing as we open a series of foreign concepts to please the palate of our ever-demanding market. Mesa will debut in Mindanao with the opening of its franchise stores in Cagayan de Oro and Davao City.
Robby Goco, chef and restaurateur, Cyma, Charlie’s Grind and Grill, Achiote, Le Monet
We plan to expand Charlie’s as a national brand. Our objective is to serve more varieties of burger. For Cyma, we plan to strengthen the brand and open three more stores this year. For our hotel, Le Monet, we hope to open two city hotels in the Ilocos region.
The year 2013 will also see the opening of a new healthy and organic restaurant called Green Pastures in March. We will be serving all organic food. Let’s face it, we are not getting any younger. We need to go for organic and healthy stuff without compromising the taste and
flavor of the dish.
Michelle Co, The Creamery Restaurant and Ice Cream Bar
We are known for our in-house kiddie parties, but this year we are ready to cater to other clientele outside of The Creamery. We intend to do some minor renovations for The Creamery this year. We are relocating, if not downsizing the ice cream truck which stands as our ice cream and beverage station. This would enable us to give our guests more comfort and space so they can have a better experience especially during a party.
Hubert U. Young, Philippine franchise holder, UCC Café
For UCC: Bring the level of coffee appreciation to a higher level through sharing knowledge with everyone about what coffee truly is all about. We will be launching a new UCC coffee concept store to showcase this new project. It’s a first in the Philippines. Another plan for 2013 is to educate people about Japanese ramen. We also have the Japanese bakery-café Yamato. We showcase Japanese pastries and bread.
VicVic Villavicencio, businessman and restaurateur, Kamayan, Saisaki, Sambokojin
For 2013, we plan to expand the business. This time, it’s not buffet restaurant anymore. It’s more a la carte and we’re going back to our roots, preparing and serving dishes the way our grandmothers used to cook and prepare our food. We are going to build the best Filipino restaurant in the Philippines, bringing in the best ingredients in one place. We plan to open the restaurant third quarter of this year. There’s no name yet for the restaurant. We’d like to use Kamayan, but it is already associated with buffet food.
Tonyboy Escalante, chef and restaurateur, Antonio’s
It’s always about our guests. We at Antonio’s are always trying to improve the dining experience—personalizing it and making it better even in the smallest detail. That commitment will continue in 2013. We are also working toward giving our guests the chance to bring home the Antonio’s experience, such as jams, sauces, breads and even deli meats—all freshly made, ready to be taken home, shared and enjoyed.
Michael Dargani, president, Red Kimono Restaurants
We are expanding Red Kimono selectively this year and focusing more on improving our existing restaurants. We’re completely renovating all our older branches. On the business side, we’ve received a lot of investor interest in both the Red Kimono and Geisha brands so we are also exploring some of those options. Apart from the restaurants, I’m working on two exciting new projects, so it certainly looks like it will be an action-packed 2013!
Andrej Wisniewski, Raintree Restaurants
We are very excited to bring in an authentic tonkatsu house from Ginza, Tokyo, to the Philippines with the opening of the first Saboten in Serendra in April. Saboten is the most popular tonkatsu (pork cutlet) company in Japan.
Raintree Restaurants is also opening two new great eating places—Laza Food Park and Teraz Meetings and Bistro in March. Both will be located at the new Zuellig Building in Makati.
We are creating a new restaurant concept in Aura in Bonifacio Global City later this year, launching a catering company, and renovating certain stores, including Chelsea at Serendra.
Junjie Abella, Chili Peppers restaurant, Harvest Bar
This year, we’re reopening Chili Peppers in Naga. Chili Peppers was my very first restaurant. It was open in 2000-2005. It comes back to Naga this February to give Bicolanos the same good food and good times that made it one of the most popular, most loved restaurants in Bicol.
We are planning to open two more Harvest Bars, both in Makati City. (The first two Harvest Bars are located at The Fort and in Ortigas.) We’re sticking to CBDs for Harvest because it is primarily a neighborhood pub. It’s really a place where people can be comfortable after work or if there’s nothing do at home.
Being well, being happy
The year’s personal goals for healthy celebs
Lisa Macuja Elizalde, artistic director and prima ballerina, Ballet Manila
I intend to retire very soon. I just don’t really know when. It could have already happened in 2012 for all I know. But in my plans for 2013 is Swan Song Series Year 3—“La Bayadere,” “Le Corsaire,” and “The Nutcracker.” Whether or not this Swan Song Series will actually happen depends on how my ankles are healing right now.
If I need to really choose carefully what I will dance in 2013, it would be a repeat of “The Legends & The Classics” with Lea Salonga and Cecile Licad. And “The Nutcracker” with my daughter Missy as Little Masha.
For Ballet Manila, our 2013 plans include an upcoming “Ballet & Ballads with the West End Mamas” run on Feb. 15-17 and 23 in Aliw Theater that will be a heady mix of Broadway and ballet. I will be teaching rather extensively in the Lisa Macuja Pre-Professional Intensive Training Program this March. I will also be teaching in our BM School Summer Workshop April 10-May 26.
I am organizing a Stars of Philippine Ballet Gala on June 1 in Aliw Theater that will feature performances of Filipino dancers who are performing abroad, such as Christine Rocas of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and Marcelino Libao of Hamburg Ballet.
Our 19th season will open with a sequel to our ballet trilogy “Tatlong Kuwento Ni Lola Basyang” with “Tatlo Pang Kuwento Ni Lola Basyang” in August, “Swan Song Series” in October, “The Nutcracker” in December. All of these classical ballets will be performed to live orchestra by the MSO.
At the moment, we are very busy preparing for our “Duo” concert series with South Korea’s Yewon Dance Company on Jan. 26-27—our first big production of the year.
Maritoni Rufino Tordesillas, founder/director, Danspace Ballet School; instructor and partner, Yoga Manila
This year I want to be a better wife, a better mother, a better daughter, a better sister, a better teacher.
Now on our 17th year of marriage, I don’t want to have a good marriage; I want to have a great marriage. A recent trip together made me realize what fun it is to be married to the one you love, and though raising children and having a career can take up a lot of time and energy, it is treasuring the bond with your partner that will sustain the family. It is a work in progress that needs conscious effort and prayer because it can wither with the demands of daily life.
I aim to not only be a hands-on mother, but one who can inspire and mold my children into the persons they are truly meant to be. To accept them for what they are, to rejoice in their successes and to prod them along when they are astray. To be grateful for what they are and not wish for what they are not.
Over the holidays I realized the joy of Christmas through my family. I prayed that Jesus would come into our home and I truly felt the spirit by being with each and every one in my family. Each one of them is a blessing, and I only hope that I can be a blessing to them, too.
I would like to be a teacher that inspires. Hopefully my students see the value of the lessons learned in class long after the class is over; why it is so important to be early, not just on time, to be neat in their uniform and appearance, and to know that when you push yourself beyond what you think you can do, you not only get better; you get stronger.
Rio dela Cruz, running coach and head of RunRio
My top personal plans are: 1. Get married this year. 2. Live a healthy lifestyle and start training and running competitively again. I’ll be getting ready for the NY marathon this year. 3. I want to start a Runrio running club in three locations. I’ve been planning it since last year, before my store, Riovana, opened. I want to encourage newbies and veteran runners to continue running and training.
For Runrio: 1. Since we are already an established company for running in the Philippines, we’d like to sustain the running community and introduce new concepts. 2. We are now looking to expand to staging running events in Singapore and Australia. This plan has been in the making for two years now.
3. We have partnered with Safeguard and 2XU for a new race concept this year, the Safeguard 2XU Sole Racing International Marathon. It will have three legs and it’s a totally new concept. First leg will be April 21. We will also have our first ever Safeguard 2XU 50km ultra-marathon this year.
4. To improve the company and encourage more runners to join our races.