Saturday, May 31, 2014

Nude On The Bed: A First Love Is An Ember That Sits Right In Your Heart

During my college days I used to paint a lot and this is one of the few paintings in soft pastel that I have done entitled “Nude On The Bed”. I’ve always used watercolour as my primary medium and I’ve always painted nude figures... naturally because the female form has the most graceful lines. 

I didn’t pursue my interest in painting because it was not allowed by my father, saying that a medical career is a more lucrative one (this is really a classic story) and I was a good girl, too. I did as what my father told me, I finished my studies but I realized that my undying love for creating and the arts can never be forgotten, it can only be set aside. 

Now I have a career that is totally unlike to that which I studied at school, because a first love is an ember that sits right in your heart...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Not Your Basic Leather Flatties

Ever wonder where to get comfy, elegant, leather ballet flats these days?

It’s hard.  For one thing, local stores doesn’t want to sell them anymore because the price point for their SRP is already too high for their clients so they tend to get more synthetic slip-ons because more end consumers tend to buy cheaper shoes. It’s sad, but that is the fact.

Sometimes it is good for the business, but it doesn't serve the market segment that wants more than these synthetic, poor quality flats and most of the time China produced items with bad fitting that one tend to throw away after a couple of months (if you’re lucky) which retailers have been feeding the market.

What if you want more value for your money? What if you want a pair of ballet flats that you want to wear for a few years, create memories with it because it’s durable and only requires a little polishing and you’re good to go? Something basic yet elegant to look at your feet, something that is so comfy and priced just right? What if you want ballet flats in black patent leather? Or even color flashing ones?

I had a client who wanted something classic, elegant, comfortable and made in kid leather, which has a beautiful fine grain. But the kid leather in the Marikina open market is steep at php130/sq ft, so we gave her something like these beautiful soft Napa cow leather flatties, and she launched her line successfully, too.

You’ll be proud to wear these to the office or school, or just cruising because it’s versatile. You’d surely get glimpses your way together with a pair of shorts, pants, jeans, skirts... you get the picture :).

I would say that this is a premium item, not because we produce it but because we used soft Nappa cow leather, interlining for super comfort & used leather for the insole.  Everything is leather except for the outsole. It is also unbelievably lightweight (no more tired and aching feet).

Interested to order? We continuously produce this staple, sizes currently available are  6, 7, 8, 9 while available colors  are Tomato (red), Coal (black), Syrup (beige), Eggshell (tan), Silver. We’ve marked this item down, at 50% off selling price is now only php900.00 plus parcel delivery. Send me a message at Who knows,  you might get lucky and get a much bigger discount :)

This is also the perfect partner for the leather wallet on sale. (link)

I’d like to know what you want for a ballet flat. Send me your thoughts, ladies. I’d really appreciate it.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

No Ordinary School Shoes Here

The school season is one of the busiest and most advertised seasons for the footwear industry either in the manufacturing side or the retail side of the business.  On the design and product development end, designs has to be ready by the fourth quarter of the previous year and samples has to be done before the year ends. On the retailer’s end, stock for the school shoes has to be in as early as March, and launching of new products by the first week of April, with a second wave of incoming deliveries between April and May. This involves countless meetings for specifications, approval and coordination with manufacturers which drives my merchandisers crazy which also drives me crazy while continuously planning for product line up. The sales force has to be oriented with the new collections and monitoring of sales is paramount to check if my collections were effective. Footwear manufacturers should be busy from January to February with full swing productions by March which may last till the month of May and tapering off to a slow pace. 

I always have a very different view of school shoes because I’ve always believed that it doesn’t have to be boring, it doesn’t have to be so utilitarian.

Shoes, for me is all about sexiness, so I always find a way to incorporate this principle to an everyday wear such as the school shoes. Even when I was still working with Disney’s footwear brands for kids such as Minnie, Mickey, Pooh, HSM or Pirates of the Caribbean (the license is owned by Office Depot), one of the top selling ones in the local market (because I never got Barbie out of the number one spot).

During my one year stay with Office Depot, heading their R&D department, me and my team of artists laid down a new trend for the kid’s shoes by adding prints and emboss on the upper lining and the insole lining making it really attractive even if the upper material were all back. Producing great contrast with the black uppers (sorry, I wasn’t able to keep paictures). It was a hit. The Barbie brand of Ritchwell caught on fast, joined by other brands such as Hello Kitty, Disney Princess, etc. 

Two years ago, this was the school shoes collection I launched for Effegi, which is a footwear line for ladies category available at SM department stores. Still sticking to my principle, I used the red lining for the upper and toned it down with gray insole lining that was metallic matte; basic black on the outside and eye-popping color on the inside which does not come across as trying too hard, unlike the school shoes of other brands.

Still not your ordinary looking school shoes, a sporty look with great choices from a simple slip-on to Mary Janes and slip-on with ankle strap. And of course comfort and fitting is a priority as much as the design. The sales forecast exceeded our stock appropriations that I computed for the sales projection, the owner was too conservative to approve such quantity, which was a sad thing because then we missed some sales by not stocking up.

Look out for my next features on the basic school and office heeled and wedge pumps.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Not to be Missed Leather Wallet Sale

Are you in need of a new fashion accessory to polish your ensemble?

Here’s a collection of genuine leather wallets that I have with on hand stocks. These wallets range in size and use.  They are made from luxurious pebbled cow leather with fabric lining, hand crafted and proudly produced here in Quezon City, Philippines. What’s more they’re On Sale with a whopping 60% off from the original price!

Price is exclusive of local and international shipping costs.

At these prices, these accessories are a real steal! Wholesalers are also welcome.

Interested about these great looking leather wallets? Contact me at

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Battle of the Flip-flops

Rainy days is starting, though it is still impossibly hot. But what better way to wear in both hot and rainy weather than a pair of flip-flops?

I started designing the Fiona flip-flops line back in 2008 right before I went to China to work for an Australian company. I was designing for Hoc Yan on a freelance basis, which allowed me to travel monthly from HK to Manila and back.

Fiona flip-flops was Hoc Yan’s best seller product, it had really soft & comfy EVA soles & rubber thong straps which made it ultra comfy, plus the price was so much cheaper for its superior quality compared to other local brands. But Fiona flip-flop’s best feature was our prints. 

As the Creative Director for Unitop, I guided my team well for the designs of Fiona flip-flops which has set some trends in the great print designs battle for the flip-flop’s footbed. Manila's craze for flip-flops was just beginning at the time I started the Fiona line, so I was able to anticipate and correctly predict market trends.  

Within months of coming back to Manila and finally joining Hoc Yan officially, flip-flops became the hottest item on the market shelves. It was a real gold rush. Great efforts were made to capture the attention of shoppers with the designs alone. Local brands scurried up to this gold mine and international brands joined in as well. New brands were coming out of nowhere. Even the banketas were filled with local or imitation flip-flops.

I remember, we used to have at least 3 shipments of 40 footer containers monthly from Fujian China just for the flip-flops alone, which would roughly contain 70,000 pairs per container. Although we also had other flip-flops brands such as Journey, Footspot and Snoopy.

Amusingly, at least for me, SM supermalls immediately caught up with this fever (it really wasn't a surprise, hello! this is a money-maker). The footwear section of SM department stores, had an immediate face-lift: The installation of the flip-flops wall! It was almost as if they had a magic wand in hand.

Uncannily enough, I called it "The Battle of the Flip-Flops".

From the ladies, men's and kids, rows and rows of rubber flip-flops for everyone to choose with pretty good exposure, presentation and a lot of floor area, which is a far cry from the past.

And for the first time ever, the Philippine shoppers actually saw boutiques dedicated just for flip-flops. And oh yes, billboards, too!

We got Ms. Christine Reyes as our endorser for the Fiona Footwear line and this was our billboard along EDSA right across from Mega Mall.

These are some of my earlier works and bestselling ones. 

"Culture Clash"


"Midsummer Night's Dream"




"Flower Power"



Have you worn a pair of Fiona or Footspot flip-flips, too? Let me know what you think. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Cruise Collection: Sexy Summer Sandals

I designed this sophisticated collection of flat sandals for Carmina Villaroel, a local celebrity for her online footwear store, Muniz which sold fast that she repeated the orders only a few weeks after we delivered the items. 

Although she didn’t like to use the leather materials as per original samples due to the fact that this will increase the selling price of these sandals ceiling high and will understandably be difficult to sell to her market. 

Which was fine because I found great synthetic materials from the Marikina open market that I matched to produce these georgeousness. I also used a more formal type of outsole to make them elegant and not casual, though the sole made the sandals just a tad heavier, which is a slight trade off if you ask me.

This number is a real show stealer.  I personally have this both in gold and cobalt colors, there's actually three colors, the third is the gray and silver combi. 

It's been more than a year since I've been wearing my pairs and they're still intact. Even now, I still catch women staring at my feet whenever I wear them. Which makes me feel so smug and flaunt my sandals more. I know, naughty me! But that is exactly the essence of the ecstasy that we feel when we know that we're wearing shoes that are sexy!

While this pair seems to be so flat, don't let it deceive you. They're very comfy and can make your ankle really sexy because of the wide ankle strap, not for ladies with thick ankles, though.

My pattern maker, Cindy had quite a challenge when she engineered the patterns because this pattern type is basically a boot and this was only her second time she derived the master for a boot pattern since her intensive training was still on-going under the expertise of footwear technical consultant, Mr. Noel Box. 

This one has an ultimate summer feel to it, with the multicolored striped fabric contrasting with the aqua blue synthetic material. Admittedly there's a lot of color in this design, but I pulled it off beautifully :).

This is another nautical inspired number, also very sexy due to its ankle strap, making it an almost gladiator type of sandals.

What are your thoughts on these designs? I'd like to know.