These days, shopping has been made quick and easy with your next purchase always just a few clicks away. As accessible as it has become for customers, anyone can start a business too—no easy task, but it’s proven to pay off in time. While there are hundreds of student entrepreneurs balancing their double lives by attending classes and handling an influx of orders to meet delivery dates, here are just a few DLSU student and alumni-owned online brands you ought to check out if you haven’t already.
Inspired by her business management classes, Paola Ubaldo (IV, BS-IS) saw the changing face of the internet as an opportunity to fulfill her life-long dream to start her own business—she did just that with Pinkbelle Manila two years ago. Catering mostly to students and teenagers, Pinkbelle can be considered one of Manila’s leading manufacturers for drawstring bags. A practical and lightweight substitute to the more common backpack, drawstring bags have made a comeback in fashion, now in leather designs and various prints for different personalities. This practical accessory gained its popularity as annoying zipper and button-free alternatives to complicated bag designs, but Pinkbelle does both. She’s combined the easygoing drawstring design with some zipper pockets for added compartments and security. The revamped easy-to-pull and quick-wear designs go from sassy to sporty, used for working out, going on a hike, attending an outdoor concert, lounging shore side, or even carrying some books for class.
Pinkbelle’s drawstrings are also available in University Mall’s UniQube at the third floor.
Super Casual is the brainchild of Angelo Marcelo (III, AB-DVS) and his friend Miguel Daez from the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) who wanted to create shirts inspired by geek culture for everyday use. Having known each other since their days in PAREF Southridge School, the duo wanted to express their love for comic books while veering away from the typical shirts currently found in the market which are big, loud, and sometimes too bedazzled. The result was a cross between geek chic and minimalist street style, mixing superhero culture with simple design. Although they plan on participating in more bazaars, they are still focused on the e-business medium and want to capitalize on what it has to offer. Currently, their Vader pullover and Wayne Enterprises tee are selling like hotcakes, both featuring discreet logos at the upper left area of the garments. Their apparel is worth checking out if you want to show off your geek pride without being too flashy.
Sweet Charms Manila
Jamille Chua (BS-MKT, ‘16) started to share her love for lockets and charms to the Philippines two years ago with the ever feminine and dazzling Sweet Charms Manila. Now being distributed in Ilo-ilo and worn by celebrities, she’s also offered party packages for weddings, baptisms, and product launch events for guests to take home as quaint little souvenirs. Perfect for those who love having personalized accessories, she offers a colorful selection of charms, birthstones, dangles, and plates, to be worn as bracelet lockets or necklace lockets. Always customizable and very affordable, Sweet Charms Manila also promises never to lose its luster even after years of wear because of its hypoallergenic materials. They’re meant to last a lifetime, perfect for unique friendship lockets and gifts.
Roots Est. 2014
For Joel Hernandez (IV, MKT), Iggi Vargas (IV, AB-CAM), and Josef Singson, everything great was once an idea and it should be given credit. And that is the reason why the tagline of their brand is Stay True. Roots Est. 2014 was born out of their desire for an avenue to use their talents to collaborate and create apparel that expresses the interests of today’s Filipino millennial culture. Originally conceptualized through the Entrepreneurial Management program of UA&P, which Josef was previously taking up, it is now an online apparel label in partnership with Zalora Philippines. Like most online brands, the founders of Roots Est. 2014 aims to open their own physical store, but for now they’re maximizing the capability of e-commerce and the minimal overhead that it requires. Because of the booming minimalist culture nowadays, their best selling products are the classic round neck t-shirts and long sleeved shirts, available in various colors that would suit any “neo-Filipino”.
Unlike most of the online stores on this list, Fudge Rock first started out as a small accessories store in Market Market by Kaira Evangelista (IV, BS-ENT) and her sister back in 2005. Today Fudge Rock is a corporation with 10 stores around the country that ships to customers worldwide. With a variety of suppliers, it’s a one-stop-shop for all things 90s soft grunge and kawaii, making Tumblr girl dreams attainable and affordable. With its wide selection of statement tees, caps, chokers, and even phone cases and pins, it’s become a crowd favorite in the Sundance and Trendsetters Bazaars. Choosing between two items is the hardest part for 12-year-olds to 25-year-olds leaving with handfuls of garments and accessories from Fudge Rock.
The Cookie Bomb
From its Pinterest-inspired beginnings to paper bags of orders being hand carried then sent out in campus, The Cookie Bomb by Raven Ritual (AB-DVS, ‘15) is the bomb. Deviating from the more conventional flat cookies, hers are stuffed with a surprise on the inside, hence it’s always “an explosion of goodness” after each bite. Apart from the best selling Cookie Bomb classic, the Oreo Bombshell, there’s the Irreese’stible Dynamite and Nutrageous Toblerone for, well you’ve guessed it, Reese’s and Toblerone lovers. Traditionally enjoyed with a comforting glass of milk or why not both with cookie shots? If all this talk of chewy, chunky concoctions from inside Raven’s kitchen hasn’t gotten your sweet tooth craving for some of her red velvet crinkles with a cream cheese filling, maybe the Atomic Brookie will get you curious.
If Raven isn’t cooking up a new recipe inside her kitchen, you might just find her on the beach. Brought to you by the same cookie loving beach bum, Sycamore Swimwear has been clothing fellow beach bums alike in fun and bright bikinis and bathing suits since December 2014. Decorating Instagram with a colorful and always tropical palette, her playful range of designs and styles are constantly being updated. Choose from reversible one pieces (printed on one side and plain on the other), to the more strappy Bettina and Olivia separates in bold and pastel colors. The clean and sexy Santorini is the best seller that comes in different shades for all skin tones. This classic never goes out of fashion, but hurry, you might have to wait until they’re restocked again as they’ve been selling like hotcakes. These originals are perfect to keep in the closet and take for a dip, because in the Philippines, where it’s almost always 30 degrees, a good beach or a pool always sounds like a good idea.
During the long break brought about by the shift in academic calendar, Michael Fernandez (III, MGT) joined seminars, which eventually introduced him to the world of meat processing. From door-to-door free sampling just to get constructive feedback about his mixed meats, Michael arrived at the perfect homemade recipe for longganisa. Unlike most of the brands on the list, Mowie’s isn’t technically an online store; he jokes that most of his clients aren’t online, but on couches watching their favorite telenovelas or playing mahjong with their kumares. His Facebook page is just a reference for customers to find his product list and contact details. Mowie’s best-selling longganisa, which sells per kilo and is available in both pork and chicken, is especially ideal for the traditional Pinoy breakfast we’ve all come to love any time of the day. A little elegant and a little rustic in the recipes he takes pride in, Michael hopes to consign and supply restaurants around Taft, and maybe next time, the rest of our families will be enjoying it in Mary Grace or Conti’s.
Ira Oyco (AB-ISA, ‘15) began Rhipe’s Backyard fresh out of high school in 2012 with its first collection being the crowd favorite skater skirt that every girl just had to have. Four years later, she shows no signs of slowing down and running out of ideas for classy and conservative clothes but always with a sexy twist. Never mass-produced, she’s particular about the details from the cut to the fabric when coming up with designs. Pieces like the Sela Top and the Adina, available in old rose, blush, and gray, can take you from the office to your next lunch date. The minimalist yet sophisticated selections from Rhipe’s Backyard are easy to mix and match, or play up or down with accessorizing, for any occasion. You can’t go wrong with this type of simplicity, whether you’re looking into an Insta-worthy day ahead or you just want to make a good impression in the workplace.
Kayne Litonjua (BS-ACM, ‘14) is Jr. Product Manager in L’Oreal by day, but the rest of the time he’s handling five different businesses, one of which is his first and favorite, Marquina Shoemaker. With its namesake as the famous shoe capital of the Philippines, it appeals to the modern man who can wear the classics. The longwings, wingtips, penny loafers, moccasins, and bespoke pairs are all reminiscent of the local shoe-making craft that peaked in the ‘50s and have since been buried under the influx of imports that have sneakerheads and collectors buzzing. But there’s another market trend on the rise, and it seems this one has never really gone out of style. The brand is founded on strong sentiments about the untapped potential of Filipino artisans, especially with leather goods. Marquina Shoemaker showcases the humble yet intricate art and skill involved in the creation of a shoe from factory to box. Together with partners Juancho Del Rosario and Patrick Kahn, Kayne is happy to announce that by the end of the year, their shoes will be more accessible in barber shops, concept stores, trunk shows, and even hotels around the metro. These guys are bringing local back and walking it to greater heights, paralleling other homegrown movements to take pride in.