SINGAPORE—The expat life may sound exciting to most, but to trailing spouses, the thought of giving up one’s career and comfort zone is daunting. There are those, however, who have managed this life change well—and one of those is cross-border “wife-trepreneur” Valerie Villar Zayco.
To her friends in Singapore and Hong Kong, Valerie is banker Paco Zayco’s fun, friendly and, in my husband’s words, “hubba hubba” wife.
To her students at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, she is their pretty and yet, pretty tough, Catechism teacher who makes sure all her class of international students are disciplined the old-fashioned Pinoy-Catholic-school way. But not many here know that she is the young self-starter who brought Rosa Clara, one of the first ready-to-wear Spanish bridal brands to the Philippine market.
Bridal wear, Spanish style
“When I was planning my wedding, I was on the lookout for a ready-to-wear gown, but…I knew I would have to fly abroad more than once to purchase a gown. I also knew some friends in the same predicament,” Zayco said. “And so, I decided it was time to give Filipino brides the same options that their counterparts in Europe and America had—that is, to be able to try on as many gowns as they want.”
“Choosing Rosa Clara came very naturally,” Zayco said. “First of all, we believe that the styles of the gowns are similar to the Filipino aesthetic. This is why Spanish brands have been successful in the local market. Their gowns year in and year out are always timeless and classic, yet stylish and sophisticated, that they appeal to even the most particular of Filipino women. Most important, though, is that we saw how superior the quality of Rosa Clara gowns were to other ready-to-wear brands. They’re just in a class all their own.”
The process of choosing a Rosa Clara gown is actually more personalized than having one done by a designer, mainly because the choices are entirely the bride’s own.
“We also offer a range of possible accessories that can help the bride add her own trademark to the look. We have brooches, beaded options, belts, removable lace or tulle boleros. There is certainly no cookie-cutter look at Rosa Clara,” Zayco said.
Customers become friends
But the service doesn’t end once the gown is purchased, since Zayco and her team ensure that the gowns arrive well before the wedding day, provide free alterations by their own skilled team, and are even present during the day to help the bride wear the dress correctly.
“There’s really nothing like the Rosa Clara service,” Zayco said. “We love our brides and we want only the best for them. They become our friends, besides our customers, which may be why they keep coming back to the store long after their weddings are over!”
Zayco runs Rosa Clara out of her home office in Singapore. Armed with Skype and a host of other technological tools, she is able to do the brand’s buying, marketing, publicity and social media, as well as manage her Manila-based team—composed of a business development staffer, Rosa Clara’s store management and a team of bridal consultants.
“Working from home can be a bit challenging, as you never really ‘leave the office.’ It’s also easy to get distracted by work, even during our downtime, so I have to constantly remind myself that, when my husband is home, I have to shift my focus to the more important role of being his wife,” Zayco says of the challenge of prioritization.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about priority,” she added.
For an up-close and personal look at what could be your wedding gown, set aside an afternoon with your mom, aunts, girlfriends, or all of the above, at Rosa Clara, Retail #2, The Residences at Greenbelt Tower 3, Esperanza St. cor. Greenbelt Drive, Ayala Center, Makati City.