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Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Business Side of CARMINA VILLAROEL

The Business Side of CARMINA VILLAROEL
“I ventured into this kind of business because I really love shoes, more than clothes and bags – shoes all the way!” This was Carmina Villaroel’s opening statement to us during the interview. As you may well know, Carmina is a popular celebrity and TV host. She was telling us how her business, Muñiz shoes, started out. “As an artist, I need a lot of shoes – shoes of different colors is always better. I like loud and unusual colors. That’s when I realized that it’s not easy to find these colors. It’s also hard to find comfy, stylish, yet affordable shoes. It was Zoren (legaspi, Carmina’s parnter) who pushed me to start this business, since it is my hobby (to collect shoes) and many are saying that in starting a business, it must be about what you really want to do. The first thing I did for the business was to think of a good and catchy business name. It was also Zoren who suggested for me to use my middle name, Muñiz.”

KN:  How did you start with Muñiz Shoes and what are your goals for the business?

Carmina: I am really hands on (with Muñiz). I researched, asked a lot of people and called up suppliers. I don’t have a secretary at that time; it’s really me doing all the work. I just introduced myself to them, I interview them and they were willing enough to meet with me so I could see their products. I also looked for people who have the same goals as mine (or me), and are not focused on just the money. My goal is to re-introduce Filipinos to the global market as experts in shoe making. We were once known to be such, but for some reason, we are now left behind. If China can do it, so can we! I believe that we are really good. My business is still small now, but I will strive hard to make it grow to help and give livelihood to more people. This business is not just for me, but also for all of us. I find it sad that people need to go abroad to find better jobs.

KN: When it comes to designing the shoes, how do you do it? What are they made of?

Carmina: They’re all locally made; all the materials used are local as well. I have a supplier from Marikina and Montalban for the shoes. As for the boxes, I have them made in C5 and Manila. I planned in a manner that I could help more people.

I design the shoes and my kids draw them because I don’t know how. But I color them. I want the designs to be unique because I’m very adventurous. Even if it’s just black leather, I still decide on the material and color. I still have the last say. I believe that even though the clothes are not that elegant, but the shoes look great, you will look fabulous already!

I want Muñiz Shoes to be known as comfortable, unique and stylish Filipino-made shoes. My goal is for this business to be known more to other countries so that many would admire the quality of a work of a Filipino.

KN: What characteristics should one possess to make his/her business successful?

Carmina: One should give value to continuous education for the business and product. Listen! Listen! Listen! Meaning, even if you’re the boss, you should listen to your co-workers, employees and consumers. Remember, if they are not here to support you, you won’t be here as well. I did not graduate from a business school or course, but I’m reading a lot of business books and they are very helpful to me. I ask a lot of questions, I’m not ashamed to ask. I don’t care what others would think because asking questions, for me, is a part of educating myself. I just want to be honest; if I really don’t know/understand something, then there’s nothing wrong with asking. Also, one should be hard working dedicated to the business. 

Biz Tips from Carmina:

1.    Work hand-in-hand with your supplier, because if their works are good and the consumers like their works, then your relationship would last longer. But when it comes to quality of work, don’t settle for “That should be fine/okay”. It’s either a yes or a no.

2.   For those who have employees, give them designated assignments for a smoother workflow.

3.    Advertising is also important. How would your market know that your product exist if you won’t let them know? Word-of-mouth advertising and Twitter helped my business a lot when it comes to advertising.

4.  Love your job and everything that you’re doing. If you don’t want what you’re doing, you would make a lot of excuses; but if you like it, you would do everything to get the job done! 

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