Eighteen-year-old Mary Rae Therese Fernandez (“Thea” to her friends) was destined to do something great in her life.
At a young age, she was taught by her parents to give back to people without asking for anything in return. This is her philosophy in life. Radiating positive vibes and a happy-go-lucky attitude, she always wants to be of help.
Love for fashion
Describing herself as a “girly girl,” Thea also has a love for clothes, shoes and all things fashion. But she never thought she could combine this love with her passion for service.
For her 17th birthday last year, she received a gift of P20,000 from her ninong. Not wanting the money to go to waste, she set it aside and knew deep inside that it would one day be used for a greater cause.
That day came when her dad Ronnie suggested she start an online shop. She followed his advice and used the money to invest in the business that she called Tey’s Closet, after her family’s nickname for her.
With her father’s help, she found suppliers in Liliw, Laguna, that had the type of shoes that she loved. Starting with 10 pairs of sandals and espadrilles, she sold them to her friends from her alma mater, De La Salle Santiago Zobel.
As her market grew, so did her online shop. Today, Tey’s Closet has clients from different schools south of Manila.
“I’m still in the process of learning how to manage my time when it comes to school and the shop, but my mom’s always been so hands-on with me when it comes to time management,” she says when asked how she juggles her responsibilities.
“Sometimes when I catch myself taking down orders during class, I think about what my mom would say to me, which is to prioritize school first. I’m still getting used to putting 100-percent effort in both academics and the shop.
“Knowing what you need to prioritize first should definitely be one of the first steps into starting a business, especially if you’re still a student like me!”
Thea is now majoring in organizational communication at De La Salle University. During her free time, she visits Liliw to choose new styles and pick up supplies and orders. Her products, whose prices range from P450 to P900, also include shoes she designed herself.
Thea is proof that if you do good in life and continue to follow your passion, you will be rewarded in the end.