For Adora, it’s shoes and bags for now | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Instead of brand corners and racks like a traditional department store, Adora highlights the striking detail that sets each piece apart. —ROMYHOMILLADA
Instead of brand corners and racks like a traditional department store, Adora highlights the striking detail that sets each piece apart. —ROMYHOMILLADA
Instead of brand corners and racks like a traditional department store, Adora highlights the striking detail that sets each piece apart. —ROMY HOMILLADA


Adora, the chic concept store in Greenbelt 5, repositions itself as a mecca for stylish shoes and bags.


“It’s not just a destination; Adora is almost a temple to shoes and bags, enveloped by beautiful clothing and accessories,” said Donnie V. Tantoco, president of the Rustan’s Group of Companies (RGOC).


To celebrate its repositioning, the store hosted a dinner prepared by Cibo while singer Nicole Laurel Asensio sang jazz songs accompanied by a band. The table was laden with white lilies and foliage arrangements by Moss and Adora’s trademark pistachio gift boxes.


For dessert, male models came carrying pillows with blue Harlan + Holden flats for the women to slip on.


Adora carries brands such as Valentino, Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, Jimmy Choo, Schultz, Stella Luna and Pretty Ballerina for the footwear, and Chloe, Givenchy, Proenza Schoeler, Anya Hindmarch and Loewe for bags, to name a few.


“In other stores, branding is very strong. Adora’s customers look for a beautiful environment with wonderful shoes that have been curated for their lifestyle and for different occasions. It’s not about the brand, it’s about looking at the product —function, aesthetics and styling,” said Tantoco.


He attributed Adora’s reengineering to the thrust of the general manager and his younger cousin, Eman Pineda. “Strategy is about win, lose and time. This is the beginning of the redevelopment of Adora. At this stage, Eman is choosing to win in shoes and bags,” he said.


Independent until 2008


Adora was established in 2008 by retail scion Merle Tantoco-Pineda and her son Eman. It ran independently from the family business until it was acquired by RGOC last year.


AntonHuang, Solenn Heussaff
AntonHuang, Solenn Heussaff

Tantoco said Adora has been well run since its inception.  “Still, there was a recognition that even if the business was doing well, it had to be taken to the next level.”


RGOC chair and CEO Zenaida “Nedy” Tantoco appointed the younger Tantoco to support Pineda. “Adora is special, and we like the customer base. She said to give them our IT, our supply chain, help them with our brands, marketing and merchandising, while the operations remain under Eman,” he said.


Adora has been known for its judicious selection of menswear and womenswear, fragrances, cosmetics such as Becca, travel accessories such as Rimowa, gift items such as Diptyque candles, fine jewelry, eyewear such as the quirky Belgian brand Theo, and watches.


Harry Winston jewelry was a top seller in Adora’s portfolio until the brand was pulled from the Philippines to focus on selling in larger, affluent cities.


Pineda then saw the opportunity to focus on the Filipinos’ other penchant—shoes and bags.


“This is what Adora is about for now—shoes, bags, accessories and tasteful experiences,” Tantoco reiterated.


Nedy commended Pineda for being single-minded in his approach. “He knows where he’s going and he’s going for it. He has a definite customer in mind,” she said.


Younger market


Comparing Rustans department store to Adora’s clientele, Nedy said, “Adora is hitting the  millennials, the influencers. Rustans is a family-oriented market. Although we are not as strong with the younger market, we get them when they get married and start their families.”


Adora combines the service tradition of Rustan’s and Eman’s vision. “It has been ingrained in our DNA by my mother (Rustans founder

Lovi Poe and Donnie Tantoco
Lovi Poe and Donnie Tantoco

Gliceria Tantoco) that we want to please our customers and have everything at their beck and call. We want to see Adora and SSI (Stores Specialists Inc) share the same service DNA,” said Nedy.


Tantoco likened Pineda to an orchestra conductor who keeps the  different departments in tempo. “He trained his people how to interact and  to bring the brand to the customer at every stage. He wove in the Rustans service into his training program. You will trust the people who work here for their product knowledge, their literacy in fashion and styling.”


In spite of rise of e-commerce, luxury stores still thrive. Tantoco pointed out that while Adora’s website is attractive enough, nothing beats the visit.


“You can interact with us 24/7 through the website, but you can’t get experiences. When you come here, everything is seamlessly prepared for you,” said Tantoco.