Sunday, September 09, 2012

Window Shopper: Let’s get Laud!

By Ana Valenzuela, · Tuesday, August 7, 2012 · 10:00 am

Get Laud is known for its chic blouses with flattering cuts for women of all shapes.
If you are familiar with 168 mall in Divisoria, then you certainly are familiar with Get Laud.
You probably bought not just one, but definitely a bag full of shirts, and even dresses from their stall in the Divisoria mall. The tops and dresses have silhouettes that are figure flattering, the prints are amazing, plus the price is hard to say no to!
Get Laud started out in 2004, selling only shirts in basic colors and different prints. From there, the business expanded to what it is today, selling casual but stylish clothes in different malls around the country.
This print dress from Get Laud makes the perfect 9-to-5 outfit when worn with the right accessories.
Get Laud owner Geraldine Tiu-Laudencia shares that the brand is a mishmash of her name: Ge from her first name, T from her middle name, and Laud from her last name. And literally, Geraldine declares, “We also want our customers to be lauded whenever they wear our clothes, thus, the name Get Laud.
“When I started the business, I noticed that there are only few brands that offer unique clothes at affordable prices. With Get Laud, I’m giving Filipinas the opportunity to own quality and fashionable clothes without spending too much,” Geraldine says. “I was inspired by that market that wants to express themselves through fashion.
“Most brands sell shirts in simple and basic cuts. I made ours with shape to fit a woman’s body perfectly such that even if it’s just a shirt, it’s sexy. As the years passed by and because of the positive responses and market demand, our products evolved and our offerings expanded to blouses, dresses and other kinds.”
Here’s Geraldine sharing her savvy shopping tips, the little black dress, adding plus-size clothes to the brand, and how to look chic during the drab and rainy season:
What’s your advice to shopaholics?
Before you shop, it’s best that you know your personality, what works for you, and what does not. Go for cuts, prints, and colors that suit you, your budget and your lifestyle accordingly. Buy items that you can mix and match with other pieces.
How does one spruce up her style even with a simple outfit?
Accessorizing can spruce up one’s style. A playful brooch or collar necklace can spice up even the simplest wardrobe. With the right accessories and attitude, one can never go wrong.
Get Laud's black shirt can be worn by itself or played up with an edgy brooch, a classic pearl necklace, or elaborate neckpiece for contrast.
What’s the most important item of clothing in any woman’s closet?
The little black dress is the most important item of clothing in any woman’s closet. It can be worn to dressy occasions, since the color black is always flattering for any woman.
How can one find the perfect tee or dress, especially when we shop at Get Laud?
One should know her needs before finding the perfect tee or dress. She also has to understand her body shape and the colors that will suit and flatter her skin tone well. Armed with knowledge, together with your budget, you are sure to have great finds that will complement your look and lifestyle.
You have a line, that’s called Get Laud Plus, what made you decide to also cater to plus-size women? 
One of our goals is to dress up Filipinas of all shapes and sizes. We recognize that plus size is a growing trend. Also, we want also women to be comfy yet sexy whatever her shape is.
What fashion trends are you seeing this rainy season?
Denims are in season especially during the rainy days. Paisleys, floral prints, and vibrant colors are getting to be popular for chasing the gloominess of the season away.
Maxi dress with sweetheart neckline is a versatile piece that ought to be part of a woman's wardrobe staple.
That’s something to look forward to. How do you conceptualize Get Laud’s designs?
Get Laud started in the marketplace with basic tees and eventually expanded its merchandise mix by offering party dresses. The designs are based on the brand personality of Get Laud which is fun, flirty and sexy. We want our customers to be lauded and recognized whenever one wears our merchandise.
In addition, we study existing trends in the market and tailor fit these trends to the existing persona of Get Laud. We stick to our brand DNA as much as we can but we are trying to inject casual wear in our merchandise mix.
So, how do you innovate your designs from other brands so that consumers can tell that ‘uy Get Laud yan‘?
We believe that through Get Laud’s prints and cuts, we have created a niche in the marketplace. We try to diversify our offering through our signature fabric and cuts.

Window Shopper: Good jeans for the cold ‘ber’ season

By Ana Valenzuela | Photo by Rhoy Cobilla, · Monday, September 3, 2012 · 8:47 am

Models present Wrangler's latest jean collection during a recent mall roadshow. Photo by Rhoy Cobilla,
“It starts with a good fabric,” Daisy Yunam Go tells us on how to select a good pair of jeans.  Daisy is the President of Magnifico Jeans, local distributor of US-based Wrangler that has been around since 1947.
The type of fabric on the jeans that you are investing on would measure the pants sturdiness. “If a brand is crimping on good quality, they would buy not so premium cotton fiber” says Daisy during the recent launch of Wrangler’s Fall Winter collection. There are types of cloth fabric is actually short so when you weave its not very durable.
Dark jeans dominate Wrangler's Fall/Winter 2012 collection. Photo by Rhoy Cobilla,
“Second, fit is very, very important especially for women because it stretches, as it really hugs your body.  Nothing beats a good fit in jeans,” she stresses.  “You don’t have to buy the expensive brands or the generic brands when it comes to jeans. You just need a good fit because it’s supposed to last you for several years.”
“Third, very important, especially in modern times, the shade of the wash, because if you want something rugged then you want something of a lighter color but heavily washed with chemicals,” Yunam says.
The Early Risers series features stylish travel-worthy lightweight denim bottoms paired with bright-colored tops. Photo by Rhoy Cobilla,
There are also other options for colors, especially in denim. You might opt to go for a versatile shade of black that would accommodate you form day time to evening wear.
“Fourth, you have to look at the quality of the sewing,” Yunam starts. “When you talk about Wrangler jeans, try to invert the jeans, it is so clean, you can actually wear it that way.” Wrangler even has an inverted style of jeans.
Also part of Wrangler’s sewing pride is the seven icons that you can see in the denims: the watch pocket, the rear guard (the downward lip at the back yoke above high pockets), the seven belt loop, the fully felled outseam, the flat rivets, the W stitch and patch on the pockets, and the rope logo (of Wrangler).
“Part of Wrangler’s story is its DNA—the seven icons. We are rich in history, rich in heritage, but yet we are contemporary. We try to bring it to the modern times, to the modern needs so that’s what makes us different from the rest,” Yunam says proudly. “There are only three denim brand (the other two is Levi’s and Lee) in the whole world that can claim to have hundreds of years of heritage, of history, the others are all fashion denim brands.”
For braving the cold season, slim-fit jeans paired with a bright top for her and jacket and shirt for him. Photo by Rhoy Cobilla,

Angelica and Christine keep their mane issues light

Text by Ana Valenzuela | Photos by Joseph Agcaoili, · Thursday, August 23, 2012 · 1:34 pm

Angelica Panganiban and Christine Reyes reveal at Pantene's launch of its newest line of shampoo products. Photo by Joseph Agcaoili,
Want to know the secret to healthy, beautiful hair, great enough to command its own showbiz spotlight?
Two of today’s beautiful, often controversial and much-talked about actresses, Angelica Panganiban and Christine Reyes, recently met up with members of the press to talk about, ehem, their mane issues.
Simple lang,” Angelica started. “Importante kasi na namo-moisturize yung buhok at compatible sa product na ginagamit moat mabigay yung hinahanap ng hair mo na sana maging healthy siya. Katulad ng katawan mo ‘di ba—binibigay mo yung mga vitamins na kailangan ng hair mo, at nakita ko naman lahat yun sa Pantene.”
To which Christine added, “Malaking tulong talaga ang Pantene, especially pag madalian at wala ka nang timepara mag-blower or kung anu-anong gagawin sa hair, wala ka na din time para magpunta sa salon, para magpa-treatment ng hair. Ngayon, seryoso talaga, nagsha-shampoo lang talaga ako ng Pantene then okay na talaga yunghair ko.”
The secret to blow-dried hair that doesn’t feel heavy or stiff is the cacia complex in Pantene’s newest products: Pantene Nature care Smoothness of Life and Fullness of Life Shampoos. Tristan Patricio, Brand Manager of Pantene, explained, “Cacia complex has a healing property that coats your hair, it puts in an invisible layer around it, so that it protects your hair from damage.”
In showbiz where “long hair” is also a figure of speech for a great love life, the two stars who have been attraction the entertainment press’ curiosity lately for their love life status kept mum about their personal issues. Well, at least by the looks of their sleek and sexy locks—these girls will never lack in getting swooning suitors. Should they need one.
Pantene's latest Nature Care shampoo.

Window Shopper: It’s beginning to look a lot like Divi season

By Ana Valenzuela, · Tuesday, September 4, 2012 · 8:42 am
A Divisoria landmark, this Bonifacio monument is at the center of three malls: Cluster Mall, Tutuban Mall, and Prime Block. Photo by Ana Valenzuela,
One of the best places to hit for wholesale or bulk shopping at very affordable prices is Divisoria, the bargain shopping district in Manila. Old-timers say that September is the best time to drop by for your early holiday preparations as October is when the early Christmas crowd really starts to throng the streets everyday till December.
Not to worry, there are several gift-worthy items even as early as September. If you intend to do some baking—fruitcake, anyone?—walk towards Sto. Cristo Street for baking materials and items, including flour, butter, margarine, even dried fruits by the bulk. For wholesale t-shirts, wrapping paper, ribbons, shoes, Christmas decor—practically everything—just stroll along the length of Juan Luna Street. If you’re looking for native crafts to give away or as part of your holiday packages, Tabora Street is the go-to place.
Of course, if you still prefer the comforts of an air-conditioned mall, Divisoria has establishments such as 168, Tutuban Mall, Divisoria Mall, Cluster Mall, and Prime Block. You can still haggle in these malls’ shops though merchandise here is sold at a slightly higher price than the one you’d find on Divisoria’s streets.
But, it is not just money you’ll need: some preparation and a sense of adventure are also key to enjoying the experience despite the huge crowd occupying the streets and its main malls.
Have a game plan. The thought of braving crowded Divisoria might discourage you to return for a second time. So be sure to accomplish everything you want during your shopping trip. Prepare a list. Who are on your gifts list this year? Jot down what you want to get for them and where to source their presents in Divisoria. Plan your route, check the Internet for maps and articles on the shopping district.
Keep safe and secure. Divisoria is not just the stomping ground of bargain shopper but it’s also a favorite spot for pickpockets. Leave that signature bag at home and drop the urge to look like an artista. Wear simple, comfortable clothes. Bring a simple, plain bag instead, preferably a big one with easy compartments for the items you’ll be shopping for. Bring an extra foldable tote.
Wear your bag in front of you. Remember, you’ll be transacting your purchases using money and not with a credit card, so be sure to keep your wallet close to your body. Don’t put your bag on the floor even for a minute and if you have to dine in a restaurant, always put your bag on the table and never underneath it.
For car owners, whether parked on the street or in a mall, put your shopping bags inside the trunk where it’s not exposed to bystanders.
Check the quality. Yes, Divisoria is bargain haven but it also pays to check the quality of the item before making your actual purchase. Don’t buy from the fist store you see. Go through other stores to compare the quality of items and prices.
For instance, items like plates or figurines could be cheaper than others because of factory defects. Check if a dress is made of sturdy fabric and its buttons are all in place. See how the soles of a stylish pair of shoes are fastened to the upper part of the footwear.
Do the haggle. Anytime you’re in Divisoria, it isn’t just your eyes at work, but also your gift of tongue as you would need to bargain for the right price. Don’t haggle immediately, make a connection with the vendor first. Remain polite but definite when negotiating.
Once, I found a pair of shoes worth P150, the lowest price the shop owner can offer is P120. I said “P80?” A few minutes later, I was able to convince her to sell the item at the price that I was willing to pay for.
When haggling, the best person to strike a deal with would always be the owner. According to a stall owner in Prime Block Building, “Kasi yung may-ari ng stall yung nakakaalam kung hanggang magkano. Kahit na yung sales ladyalam nila na yun na yung last price, pag sobrang tumal, pwede pang bawasan para magkabenta lang, babawasan.”
Know your boundaries. Finally, and obviously, when a street peddler waves a sign that screams, “Tapat na po,” don’t push it—it just means move on.

Window Shopper: Will e-invoicing be a boost or bane to e-preneurs?

With the proposed e-invoicing of BIR, established online shopping websites such as Zalora will have few adjustments as their systems are already in place. It's the unregistered online entrepreneurs that may have to face the big challenge. Photo source: Zalora website.
With the emergence of e-invoicing, online traders are expressing mixed reactions to the move of Bureau of Investigation (BIR) of taxing online entrepreneurs.
E-preneurs favoring the move explain that it will help keep online purchasing more secure. “The e-invoice system will filter the brands that sell online, meaning legitimate purchases only,” says Kato Chua Ednacot of
According to Kato, the onslaught of BIR to tax sellers will lessen those who try to sell online as a part-time business and, hopefully, control the quality of items sold. “At least, the quality of the online shops is better. (There will be) less scammers, and items will be nicer if e-invoice was applied because some would be discouraged to do business online, which is really anyone who has access to facebook and multiply,” she says.
What’s more, the e-invoice system could also provide leverage to the consumers. As Kertsie See of, says, “I think the buyers will feel safer with purchasing online as the transaction will be legit in the eyes of the law.”
Those who disagree, on the other hand, said. “I am against e-invoice, only if they will implement a special site wherein everything is electronically capable of discounts, expenses like paying sites etc. (then it will be good),” says Janice dela Cruz who runs, a DTI and BIR registered boutique.
“I suggest that BIR should provide a Philippine website wherein all Filipino sellers are obliged to use electronic invoicing system and also DTI and BIR registered with permits,” she says.
Janice’s response is due to her loyal customers who she often gives discounts to. Some online stores, especially those with small or home-based operations, actually offer incentives to regular shoppers either through haggling or giving them special prices or rates. Janice explains that her prices would be affected by the e-invoicing.“Pag-electronic invoice, automatic yung tax ng BIR, what if the client requests for discount?”
To this, Kato of Moonshine responds that the current taxing system already affects their price, even though the e-invoice is not yet in full swing. “The e-invoice (or tax) affects our pricing, that’s why our prices are a bit high compared to other e-shops. I guess the others would really be affected,” says Kato. “Plus, we don’t give discounts to our customers, but, we do inform them if we have a sale.”
According to Kertsie of Cocomo, the e-invoicing would not affect their prices. She adds, “we will shoulder the additional tax cost for the buyer.”
Still, Janice asserts, “Kindly consider whether or not our business is technologically prepared to embrace the electronic invoice procedure. Prior to implementation, BIR should consider that there are small-time sellers. There must be an exemption.”
Elaine Marantan who used to run Rainbow Bling on Facebook, and is still selling overruns of her inventory shares, “(Taxing) online shops, even though they’re selling just as a hobby or simply do it just like selling lemonade, can surely both have good and bad effects to sellers and buyers.”
It’s the big-time online sellers who will have no problem with the e-invoicing, as they are already registered with the BIR and are thus already paying their dues.  Small-time entrepreneurs—such as the young fashion designer selling her clothes, the homemaker selling her bottled atchara or baked cookies, or disabled entrepreneur making craft items from home, for instance—or those who are creating their niche in the online market are the people that the BIR must consider.
Until then, where entrepreneurs need to be encouraged and motivated as they are an important part of a vibrant economy—online entrepreneurs, let us know your views.