Trend-driven fashion consumers will remain the singular target of upscale department store Adora, as it relaunches—its new branding hewing to the slogan “Tasteful Experience.”
The relaunch comes after nearly a year and a half since the Rustan’s Group acquired the store, and is intended to highlight what distinguishes Adora from the Rustan’s brand.
Adora “focuses on a narrowed but also very specific and fashion-driven segment of the market that is astute and anticipating,” says Donnie V. Tantoco, president of Rustan Commercial Corp.
“Rustan’s, on the other hand, seeks to inspire customers to pursue and fulfill their finest lifestyles,” he adds. “Rustan’s caters to a broader segment of the upscale market and seeks to help customers dress themselves, furnish and decorate their homes, find beauty solutions that fit their lifestyle.”
Adora is known for curated shopping experience, says Tantoco—presenting shoppers a selection of brands that “makes perfect sense… based on [their] evolving needs and aspirations.”
“The integration of Adora into the Rustan’s Group strengthens Adora, but it also strengthens the Rustan’s Group and consolidates our dominance of upscale and fashion retailing in our country,” says Tantoco. “The two brands are complementary and yet unique.”
Tantoco, who has gone on sourcing trips abroad with his cousins, Adora founder Eman Tantoco Pineda and SSI Group president Anton Tantoco Huang, says Adora will focus on handbags and shoes, as well as clothes and accessories to go with them.
“Adora has a very good understanding of its customers’ highly developed and very specialized tastes—taste at functional, emotional, aesthetic and experiential levels,” says Tantoco. “Inside and outside the store, Adora seeks to connect with, fulfill and speak to that taste. Hence, our commitment to delivering tasteful experiences inside and outside the store.”
In addressing what some think as a rather un-shopper-friendly store layout, Tantoco says: “Admittedly, Adora is not for everyone. It has a unique brand identity that is reflected in its layout and architecture. For its customers, the store design and the experience it delivers is one of Adora’s key attractions.”
The company is not, however, ignoring such feedback.
Tantoco says they’re updating the lighting to better highlight the merchandise, design a simpler layout so customers have an easier time navigating through the store, and create a “more welcoming” feel overall.
“We also created a larger and more inviting entrance,” he adds.
Pineda, who founded Adora with his mom, Marilou Tantoco Pineda, in 2008, remains at the helm of the store, an arrangement that his aunt and Rustan’s CEO Zenaida Tantoco insisted on, as she believes Adora’s essence “can only be preserved by continuing to be run by the person who cofounded it.”
“Eman made the brand what it is,” says Tantoco. “He built his team, and he built a loyal base of customers. He continues to be the heart and soul of the Adora business. He is the steward and keeper of the brand; he is
Adora’s greatest advocate. With the support of Rustan’s, he is in a stronger position to fully realize the vision and potential of Adora.”
Even as the Tantoco cousins run each one’s individual enterprise, the past year has seen them working closely together, no doubt in concurrence with the wishes of their 95-year-old grandfather, Bienvenido Tantoco Sr., who founded Rustan’s with his wife Gliceria 65 years ago.
It was also at the patriarch’s behest that Adora be brought under Rustan’s Group’s management.
Donnie Tantoco, the eldest grandson of the retail clan, says it’s their passion for their jobs that he and his cousins Pineda and Huang have in common.
“We also respect more and more our differences. We each have our own perspective, our own retail craft, and our own beliefs of how we can lead and excite our marketplace in an environment that is becoming more competitive and more volatile,” he adds.
“While being true to the DNA of Rustan’s, the market forces us to change in both prudent and daring ways—humble and open on the one hand, but also confident and steadfast —extremely clear on who we are now, where we want to be, and what our roadmap is to get there.
“Our trips together and discussions help us build mutual trust, mutual respect. My respect for Anton and Eman has greatly increased since I started working with them. I have learned much from them.”