Xykie Footwear’s Rossana Tuazon Helps Moms Earn While Keeping House
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Rossana Tuazon, who owns Xykie Footwear, knows it is tough to be a mother and a breadwinner of the family at the same time.
Now that she owns a small but growing shoemaking business in the country’s Shoe Capital, Marikina City, she makes it a point that her seven women workers, who live near her factory, can go home anytime, especially when their family needs them. They can even bring their work at home so that they can be with their children.
It is for these hardworking women, and the rest of her workers (there are 11 of them), that she wants Xykie to become even bigger in the future.
“Kaya naman gusto kong mas lumaki pa itong business para matulungan ang mga manggagawa ko. Lalo na ang mga kababaihan. Mga kapitbahay ko lang sila. Ayaw nilang malayo. Mahirap sa kanila ang malayo ang trabaho dahil may mga anak silang binabantayan,” Rossana said in an interview inside her factory in Brgy. Nangka.
“Wala kaming oras sa trabaho. Pwede silang umuwi kapag papasok na ang kanilang anak sa school. Pwede nilang iuwi ang kanilang trabaho. Iyong pwedeng gawin sa bahay tulad ng mga gugupiting materyales para mabantayan din nila ang kanilang mga anak,” she said.
Been In Their Shoes Before
Rossana said she understands their situation because she too used to work and had to juggle her time between her family and her job.
Before she decided to put up her own business 10 years ago, she used to hold different jobs including a cashier for a gasoline station. She also used to work in a shoe factory.
“Na-experience ko rin ang mangamuhan. Isa rin akong manggagawa dati,” she said.
She credits her mother, who raised her children by her lonesome when her husband died (Rossana was only five years old when her father died), for inspiring her to take a risk and go into business so that she can give her children a better future. Just like her mother, Rossana said she raised her kids as a single mom after she separated from her husband.
Tired of working and leaving her four children at home, Rossana decided to follow her mother’s footsteps. Her mother used to work in a shoe factory and later on put up a small shoe manufacturing business inside their home. It was from her mother that she learned how to make shoes when she was 12 years old. Aside from making shoes, she also helped her mother sell shoes in public markets, especially on weekends when people usually do their shopping.
“Komo iyan ang nakalakihan kong trabaho, iyon na rin ang naisipan kong negosyo. Bata pa lang ako, mga 12, marunong na akong manahi ng sapatos. Mano-mano pa noong araw,” Rossana said.
Just like her mother, she started with a very small operation. She had only one machine and four workers, herself included.
“Noong nag-umpisa ako, maliit lang. Isa lang ang makina. Doon sa mga palengke inaalok ko ang mga sapatos. Pa-ilang-ilang dosena lang noon kada linggo. Tapos kaliwaan. Pagkabayad, bili uli ng materyales para gumawa ng sapatos,” she said.
She started with slippers and sandals for men and women. But she noticed that school shoes were in demand especially when a new school year was about to start. So she made school shoes. Later on she expanded her product line to include casual shoes for all ages and both sexes – for children and adults, for boys and girls and men and women.
"Mula sa bata hanggang sa mga lolo at lola meron kami. Meron ding kaming couple shoes, mother and daughter, father and son shoes," she said.
From hawking her shoes in public markets a decade ago, her footwear products are now available in the shoe section of eight Vista Mall branches. She also has regular customers who ask her to make shoes for their online businesses.
Every month, her factory churns out around 2,000 pairs of shoes and sandals, a far cry from just a few dozens when she was starting.
Avoid Extravagant Lifestyle
Asked how she made it, Rossana said the first thing she did was to avoid a lavish lifestyle even if she was starting to make some money.
“Unang-una dapat magtipid. Huwag iyong kapag kumita, bili agad ng kung anu-ano Dapat idagdag sa kapital ang kinikita. Para lumaki at lumago,” she said.
She also credits the Local Government of Marikina for helping shoemakers in the city, especially small operators like her. She joined the various shoe bazaars, shoe caravans and other trade fairs organized by the City Government. These fairs usually don’t charge them rent for using stalls where they sell their products.
“Swerte rin kami dahil nagkaroon ng mga projects ang munisipyo tulad ng ‘Back to School’ bazaar, trade fair tuwing December dahil sa Sapatos Festival. May mga shoe caravan pa sa iba’t-ibang lugar tulad sa Baguio. Nakakapagbenta kami ng mga sapatos na libre ang pwesto,” she said.
“Malaking tulong ang mga ito dahil iyon nga libre ang pwesto. Cash ang bayaran. May pandagdag agad sa puhunan,” she added.
It also helps that her products are affordable, targeting the masses. Men’s shoes are priced from P600 a pair; ladies shoes start at P400; and children’s shoes are sold from P300.
Because of her business, she was able to send all her four children to school. Luckily, they all appreciated her sacrifices and in return, they gifted her with their college diplomas. The eldest finished a BS in Commerce degree major in Accounting; the second was a Fine Arts graduate; the third obtained a Marketing degree and the youngest finished a course in IT (Information Technology) and now runs an online business.
Two of her children are now married and she named her company, Xykie, after her two grandchildren – Xyza (now 12 years old) and Kiel (10).
Bigger Dreams Ahead
Even if she is already successful, Rossana said she has not stopped dreaming and making plans for her business. She plans to open her own store, expand her factory and if given the chance, bring her products overseas.
She said she is not doing this for herself and her family alone, but for her workers as well. She added that her workers have become part of her extended family over the years.
Even at a young age, when she used to make shoes for other enterprises located within their neighborhood, she said she already dreamed of someday owning her own shoe business.
“Masarap sa pakiramdam,” she said when asked how it feels now that she owns a shoe manufacturing business. “Masarap din sa pakiramdam na natutulungan ko ang mga manggagawa rito. Ang aming mga kapitbahay. Parang pamilya na sila sa akin."
For more about Xykie Footwear, please visit its factory at 158 F. Manalo St., Nangka, Marikina City, or call 0922 858 0733 and (02) 347 3159. You can also check out its Facebook page — https://www.facebook.com/XYKIE-Footwear-2069859396571369/
(Photo credits: Alfred Javier of MASIDO and Xykie Footwear)
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