Here is another re-post of an article I wrote, which was published in eNegosyo Newspaper last November 2003. Unica Hija has been a staple brand for local women’s apparel. Little do we know that even this mighty local brand went through lot of battles before finally reaching every woman’s closet.
A lot of ‘rags to riches stories’ have been told. Those that are started from scratch has inspired a lot of dreamers that even if they always stumble, they continuously aspired to reach their goals. Indeed, these stories have been he wind beneath every dreamers’ wings, reminding us to get up whenever we fall and to endure all the growing pains.
The path toward success may look unclear and gloomy, but knowing tat there’s a great reward for every brave heart, a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs keep their eyes glued toward their goal. As an old adage goes, “Beyond the mountain of sacrifice lies the valley of success.”
Just When You Least Expect It
Mr. Ronaldo “Bong” Villon has gone through a lot of ups and downs before finally having a clear view of success. Growing up in a garments business supplying company uniforms, with his father as a tailor, Bong has seen how their business became inactive for two years and reached the point of shutting down.
However, good opportunity comes when you least expect it. Two days after his father’s business shut down, they received a phone call asking them to make 250 pieces of Barong. With only three persons (one tailor, one cutter, and one finisher) at work, and with the investment coming from their client’s downpayment, they accepted the offer. Since then, a lot of offers came pouring in.
The big break came when Bong designed a jacket called Parca out of the remaining pieces of the cloth they used when they were asked to make laboratory gowns. A friend from an equally famous boutique nowadays loved the jacket and ordered a few, which was displayed inside the stores.
Battling with the Tough Times
Bong started of with Madras Collection offering men’s apparel. Having only two boxes of retaso coupled with strong faith and belief that the business will succeed, he opened his first store in Greenhills not knowing that the owner of Unica Hija, which is three stores away from his will be his future wife.
In 1997, Jeng and Bong Villon finally tied the know. Few months after marriage, they decided to incorporate Unica Hija and Madras Collection, and decided to carry the name Unica Hija. After the incorporation, the couple concentrated on ladies wears and occupied a bigger store in Greenhills.
Jeng and Bong attempted to apply for a small space a couple of times to make the business more visible to their target market But since Unica Hija is a new player in the industry, their application has always been rejected. After a couple of months, an economic crisis hit the country causing businesses to shutdown and to abandon their spaces inside the malls.
While everybody is in chaos, Jeng and Bong took a risk and applied for a mall space again. Fortunately, their application was granted. Up for a big challenge to earn amidst the tough times, Jeng and Bong divided their chores. Bong focused on store operations, while Jeng concentrated on merchandising and designing.
Never be Complacent
Today, Unica Hija already has 6 franchised stores (3 are already operational) nationwide, which started in 2002. Surprisingly, most of their franchisees are customers of Unica Hija who believe in their products’ quality and potential.
Indeed, Unica Hija’s success rooted from Jeng and Bongs’s philosophy of not being complacent and of continuing to improve their products and themselves. The couple believes that there’s a big room for improvement. “Wala pa ring tatalo sa hardwork, patience, and trust to the Lord. Kapag nandiyan ang opportunity, grab!”