Upbeat Sales at Shoe Bazaar Encourage Style Global to Do More Retail

PIO Department


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Style Global used to do mainly wholesale business, selling shoes by the bulk to department stores and other retailers. The shoemaker recently decided to go into retail, selling shoes directly to individual consumers through the Marikina City Government’s Shoe Bazaar, where Marikina-based manufacturers are selling their footwear, bags and other leather goods at affordable prices.

Opened on November 12 and will last until January 6, 2019, the Shoe Bazaar is part of the celebration of the Shoe Festival, Marikina’s way of paying tribute to the industry that contributed so much to its economy, culture, heritage and way of life.

Known as the Shoe Capital of the Philippines, Marikina is the only city in the country that has a shoe museum and where skilled shoemakers, some practicing their craft the old way, that is, by hand, can still be found.

Style Global is one of the 48 manufacturers selling their products at a huge tent set up at the Freedom Park, right across the Marikina City Hall. These manufacturers are enjoying a healthy turnover from customers, some of whom come from provinces outside of Metro Manila, attracted by the high quality, durability, skilled craftsmanship and affordability of the leather goods on sale.

“Maganda ang benta sa retail surprisingly. Overwhelming.  We are happy about it. Kasi sanay kami sa wholesale,” said Enzo Torres, whose family owns Style Global. He is co-managing the company with his wife, mother and siblings.

“Ngayon we want to be in line with the city the government (of Marikina). We will probably join more shoe bazaars like this one,” the 28-year-old entrepreneur said in an interview at the Style Global booth at the bazaar, answering questions while helping the sales staff entertain customers on a busy early afternoon.

30 Years in Shoe Biz

Established just four years ago, Style Global specializes in men’s formal shoes made of pure leather. It diversified into casual men’s shoes (sneakers, boat shoes or more commonly known as “topsider”) and added a women’s line into its products. The decision paid off, as sales of casual men’s shoes and ladies footwear have been impressive.

A third-generation shoe manufacturer and businessman, Enzo finished international business in San Beda College and worked at Apple in the sales department right after graduation. Later on, the call of the shoe industry, the family’s business for the last 30 years, became louder and irresistible.

“I was in the corporate world before. I was with Apple sa sales. But while I was working there, I realized that my parents were getting old. So I decided to resign sa work ko and join the family business,” Enzo said. His dad is now 67 years old and his mom is 61.

It was in 2013, when he left his job at Apple. In 2014, Global Style was born.

It was his grandfather who started a shoemaking business in Marikina, which was inherited by his daughter, Enzo’s mom. During the interview, his mom was around, looking proudly at his son, who was multi-tasking answering questions while entertaining some customers. Aside from writers rom the Marikina government website, Enzo was also interviewed by a Manila-based Japanese journalist from a Japanese news agency.

“Ever since interested talaga ako sa shoes. Kinalakihan ko na siya,” said Enzo, good looking, smart, articulate, full of ideas and skilled at dealing with different types of people – from the workers and employees at the family business to clients, to journalists — a perfect recipe for a successful businessman.

“After I joined the family business, doon ko na-realize na may room pa for growth sa company namin. Marami pang pwedeng gawin,” Enzo said. Among them is to diversify into men’s casual shoes and women’s footwear, take advantage of the programs of the City Government of Marikina aimed at boosting the local shoe industry, and last but not the least, to go into retail.

“In a way, naging training ground ko ang work ko sa Apple. Lalo na dahil nasa sales ako. Natuto akong makibagay sa lahat ng klase ng tao, lalo na sa mga customers,” he said. "Nagagamit ko ang mga natutunan ko doon dito sa company namin."

Keep Employees Happy

From his parents, Enzo learned how to deal with the company’s employees.

“What I learned from my parents? Unang-una, dapat masipag. Then how to be a boss, a kind employer. Sabi nila, happy people make quality work. Kaya dapat pasahurin sila ng tama. Treat them nicely. Dapat lagi kang malalapitan,” Enzo said.

Encouraged by the brisk sales at the bazaar, Enzo said he would hold regular sales for individual customers at their factory in Concepcion Dos.

“Since maganda ang benta namin dito, I am planning to explore putting up our own retail store,” he said. “Starting sa factory namin. Nagbebenta na kami roon pero hindi madalas. Siguro ngayon, gagawin na naming all-year-round ang pagbebenta roon,” said Enzo. “Baka mag-venture din kami sa ibang mga bazaars sa ibang cities.”

Before ending the interview, Enzo shared the secret of their successful family business, which had endured a lot, especially the tough competition from cheaper imported shoes flooding the Philippine market.

“Naging aggressive kami sa pagbenta, especially since we are in the wholesale business. Aggressive sa pagsa-sample sa mga department stores,” he said.

However, nothing defeats the quality of the products.

“Ultimately, it will boil down to the product, iyong shoes. Maganda ang quality ng aming materials. We don’t compromise on quality. Maganda ang designs. Durable dahil tinahi talaga at hindi lang dinikit. Hindi kagaya ng ibang imported shoes, mura nga pero madaling masira,” Enzo said, ending the interview as more customers were around at the booth, looking at the shoes.

If you want to check out Style Global's shoes, currently offered at a discount versus their retail prices at malls and department stores, head off to the Shoe Bazaar at the Freedom Park, Shoe Avenue in Marikina City. The bazaar is open from 9:00 in the morning, Sunday to Friday, and will run until January 6 of next year.

Photo credit: Alfred Javier of MASIDO (Marikina Shoe Industry Development Office)

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