Xandra Ramos-Padilla was born into the family that established National Book Store, the largest chain of bookstores in the country.
Struggling to establish a business in the ’40s, her grandparents, Jose and Socorro Ramos, encountered hardships in both the pre- and post-war era. As they worked through those challenges, they exercised and guarded what mattered most to them—the value of simplicity.
Xandra looks back with pride on how her grandmother “trained” her as a book merchandiser after she graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University. This training drove her to do more, and so she pursued her MBA at Kellogg School at Northwestern University.
New York City became her favorite place to spend the school breaks. There she enjoyed the SoHo, Nolita, and theater districts. Such an environment inspired her. Her strength and talent were manifested as she worked as fashion merchandiser at Walmart.
Anyone and everyone in retail business knew that founder Sam Walton’s stores dominate the US retail business. To Xandra, this opportunity to work at Walmart simply meant that she had to work doubly hard to put something on the Walmart tables.
Meanwhile, as the Ramos family started to venture into specialty outlets such as Power Books and Music One, they asked Xandra to return to the fold. They enticed her with a carte blanche offer to head their specialty store, Crossings. Armed with cosmopolitan style, she promptly returned to take over Crossings and quickly established The Ramp, a fashion section.
Xandra gushes with excitement whenever she talks about her fervent belief in Filipino talent. The Ramp showcases “fashion-forward” designers who are starting to develop their unique brands.
She is always on the lookout for the young, spirited people she nurtures and treats as true partners.
Walking through the Ramp’s sections of little boutiques, one gets the feel of Le Bon Marche, a Parisian store of unique brands. Over 30 consigned labels assure The Ramp shoppers of an array of creative choices. Each customer can confidently build a wardrobe in this one-stop store. As Xandra also weaves her taste for home furnishings, the vibe of Collette concept store comes to mind.
She approaches her merchandising for the home section in the same manner she decks out her collections—thematically. Style should be worth living in, she believes.
Xandra’s sense of style in business is carried on to her personal entertainment. She throws parties with motifs such as Black and White or a Spring Bamboo theme. She believes in providing her clientele with such extended services for the total experience in style.
Xandra’s in-house brand, also called The Ramp, focuses on the “mixology” theory of dressing up. With her belief in the power of personal style, the apparel carried in the little boutiques allows customers a variety of endless combinations, depending of the occasion.
Providing the women with multifunctional pieces allows them to shift from day to night with ease. Breaking from the traditional mold, women can wear the unusual pieces together, to result in a unique look. With the right accessories, sets can be mixed and matched twice or thrice over, and can be worn for different occasions. Many styles at The Ramp build on classic clothes with a hint of mod, which can be carried from one season to the next.
Day to night
Xandra is a woman who characterizes The Ramp look. The woman wearing more than one hat can change her look from feminine to masculine or classy to sexy, and weave from day to night.
She can be serious at work yet fun at home, being a mother. She enjoys wearing cutting-edge jackets by Alexander Wang, Balenciaga, and Sarah Burton, which she mixes with the clothes she makes. Marni, Lanvin, and Marchesa are staple evening numbers.
Her accent is her bag, be it Prada, Celine, or Chanel. But her unobtrusive, nonchalant nature will tell you that she has the eye for spotting the trend, and choosing wearable keepers that are spontaneously hip and statement-making. The Vogue Diaries and The Bonde Salad, Glamourai, and Karla’s Closet are blogs that fascinate her.
Maintaining her position as head buyer for Crossings and of specialty lifestyle books for National, this mother of two manages her busy schedule by taking her kids wherever she goes. She is also very well-read and multidimensional. Xandra applies the theory of “mixology” at work and at home with ease and flair.