Purveyors of the Uniq | Seek The Uniq

Purveyors of the Uniq

November 12, 2017


A Seeker's Spin: Valerie

Valerie wears the Canan top with high-waist trousers, her go-to silhouette for pants. Her ear candy of choice? The Mishael earrings!
 
We are lucky to have shot this fresh-faced #girlboss, Valerie Remoquillo-Jenni, who was on a brief trip in Manila but had time to play dress-up with the STU team. Since 2011, her home away from home has been Zürich, Switzerland, where she resides with her husband and runs VERA, an accessories startup. Looking back, she tells us that relocating ignited her to marry her passion for unique statement accessories with a desire to reconnect with her Filipino roots. VERA serves as an avenue for Filipino designers, artisans and labels to, according to Valerie, showcase their “craftsmanship and distinctive style philosophy”. Furthermore, she says that her online shop not only allows women to “discover beautiful, fun and wearable pieces but also know more about Filipino artisanship”.
 

This #girlboss totes her personalized woven bag from STU's creative escape in Morocco. 

In the business that Valerie is in, there’s no denying that it is also a reflection of her own style, where accessories take center stage. “Having founded an accessories start-up, it’s no small wonder I pay more attention to bangles and earrings than the average girl.” When asked whether she was really more of a jewelry/accessories girl than a clothes horse, we already had a guess on what she would answer. We were sort of correct, but like any girl with that dilemma, she says, “Why choose? It’s really about creating a personally authentic look with one’s clothes and jewelry, where the sum is greater than its parts.” True that!

So how does this Seeker describe her personal style? “Minimalist-romantic.” She usually goes for tank tops in different materials because she says she can easily wear them with most skirts and pants – well-fitted high waist ones are her favorite. When she feels like dressing things up, she’d opt for ruffles and low necklines but shuns “anything too girly”. She turns to brands such as COS, A.P.C., and Zara for her everyday pieces; Acne Studios and Céline when she feels like splurging a bit. And for her “romantic, wanderlusting tendencies”? Seek the Uniq, of course!

With a penchant for standout pieces, this accessories guru and businesswoman leaves us with three of her styling tips when accessorizing:

  1. Less is more. We’ve all heard of Coco Chanel’s rule of checking yourself in the mirror on the way out and removing one piece of accessory.
  2. Resist the urge to go matchy-matchy. Accessories are accents, pops of color that should be thoughtfully applied, not slathered all over.
  3. Raise your fashion game by adding a “third piece” accessory. Fashionable girls like STU’s Seekers are surely versed in this rule where one adds that third, extra-something element (like a statement accessory) to their top and bottom combo to create a polished and interesting look.

Valerie gets first dibs on this STU dress and styles it with contrasting accessories. 

Ring party, anyone?

Make a bright skirt like the Bovedas still the highlight of your look by matching it with neutral colored accessories.

Valerie slips on the Krisanisi linen dress and wears it with a stack of STU bangles and her rings. She says that "accessories are the punctuation marks to a sentence: they don’t always have to be there but you certainly know when they’re missing." We couldn't agree more!  

Inspired to accessorize more, dear Seekers? We hope so! 

Cheers,

Nasia

October 02, 2017


A Seeker's Spin: Sara

The Bourvil jumpsuit is the perfect canvas for Sara's grassroots accessories. 

Spanish beauty Sara Nicolas Gonzalez could very well been a Seeker way before she landed in our shores. The head of retail and merchandising for an e-commerce site is, we realize after stepping into her cozy loft, a kindred spirit as we see snippets of a life well-travelled. A straw hat from Colombia, tapestry from Peru, a handmade table runner by her mom from Spain and a well-stocked bar cart with different bottles of gin---complete with botanicals---caught our excited eyes. We notice cute hand painted bowls from her living room; turns out, she painted them herself. "I love DIY: from fashion to home décor. I love Anthropologie home stuff but I can’t always afford it, some I make my own; or I adapt old fashion goodies to the new trends. It's a fun and inexpensive way to give your old fashion staples new life." 

When it comes to her fashion sense, Sara describes it as classic, minimalist and chic. "Living in the tropics really limits your wardrobe to light pieces. I love to layer, but ever since I moved to Manila my style has gotten much more simple. I still wear blazers and scarves to work, but most of the time I go for a simple dress or high waist skirt. She loves her button down white crisp shirts and pencil skirts. "I will never wear anything I don’t feel comfortable in. I like wearing things that make me feel sure of myself, so if I need to worry about my outfit then its definitely not a right choice. It doesn’t matter what the trend is, if it doesn’t fit me, I will never fall for it." Sounds just about right. Scroll down to see how Sara wears STU finds with her own signature flair. 

"This is my boyfriend's shirt," Sara says of the pinstripe polo she sports with the Barchi printed linen wrap skirt. 

Gin lovers live here. 

Staying true to her wanderlust roots by styling Intricado's Aarav kaftan with her own skinny jeans. 

The hat that almost got away...

We love how the kaftan fits right in with her pillow covers!

Baskets everywhere to hold everything. 

Details of the gorgeous table runner made by her mom. A sweet surprise after mentioning she wanted an expensive version from a shop. Now you know where she got her skillzzzz.

Pretty table settings peppered with local flair. 

Sara spruces up the minimalist Kochbani shorts set with vibrant accessories acquired from globe-trotting. 

Botanicals neatly stored in their own cubes. 

Lounging in bed wearing the Mirabeau top and her brocade skirt.  

 

Happy seeking, ladies! 

Cheers, 

Anne 

September 27, 2017


Today's Women in Tech Series 1

Angelique Uy, Lia Ramos and Arriane Serafico. 

The tech world is buzzing as ever with start-ups sprouting every minute and we'd like to think that women rock the boat as much as their male counterparts. After all, aren't we the masters of multi-tasking? We begin our Women in Tech series with some of our own brilliant minds who are changing the way businesses are ran and managed. Each #girlboss from very different backgrounds bank on their expertise in pursuit of their dreams of making the world more interesting, more beautiful and inspiring. 

Here are three ladies who are shaping the local tech market in their own respective fields. We asked them the most diverse questions from the challenges of being women entrepreneurs to describing their fashion sense (on video) because, well, girls will always be girls--- CEO or otherwise. 

 

Angelique Uy 

ZAP (www.zap.com.ph), Co-founder & A-LISTERS (www.alisters.com.ph), Co-founder

Shy and soft-spoken Jig doesn't seem like the average start-up founder at first glance. The petite chinita has a sweet way about her that's endearing and almost rare amongst the younger set these days. But before you write her off as timid, she starts talking about her passions: co-founding Zap, the #1 loyalty program with over 700,000 members and 750 partner establishments in Metro Manila. ZAP enables customers to earn reward points with just their mobile number, and provides merchants with a white-label loyalty solution that includes automated SMS re-marketing for non-returning customers. Her other baby is A-listers. "I started A-listers this year with the vision of bringing together all the Pinoy celebrity-owned brands and products in one online address, helping them grow their business by taking care of marketing, payment processing and shipping (worldwide!) -- and at the same time raise funds for Filipino charities in their name."                        

Do you think there is a lack of diversity in your industry? The Philippines actually claims the top spot in the Asia- Pacific region for giving equal participation to both genders in building the economy (source: World Economic Forum (WEF)). Our company of 45, for example, is made up of 60% female, 40% male, and 100% winners. 😉
Speaking from experience, men might naturally take the limelight but women make their impact differently. Women may choose to stand in the shadows but we're around to put in the work to make a difference.

Is it tough for women entrepreneurs to get funding?
It's tough to start a company by yourself--man or woman. And it's tough to get funding. Period. I'm actually lucky that I have co-founders. They happen to be men but I think the core reason of why we're still in business after 5 years is because of the team we've built and our dedication to a common goal--gender aside.

Do you think women-led companies are capable of scaling? Are you able to do so?
Of course women-led companies are capable of scaling. Any company with the right team and product can sell their solutions to paying customers. I'm proud to say that our loyalty platform is being used across hundreds of stores from different industries in and out of the country.

Do you have an Instagram quote you live by?
The one from Peter Thiel's commencement speech :
"You should, and I hope that you will, take time today to celebrate all that you’ve achieved so far."

In today's world that's full of fear and hatred, we need to spread gratitude and kindness. So I always remind myself to be thankful for being in this position to affect others positively and to be open to new learnings to take me to new heights.

Jig wears the Errachida crop top in red. Find similar jeans in That 70s Flow

Showing off that gym bod in the Bourvil jumpsuit. 

 

Lia Ramos 

Co-Founder and CEO of Glamourbox.ph

Former beauty queen Lia's foray into the beauty business is a natural progression. The tall morena with an infectious smile walks the talk, always so well put together from head to toe, complete with flawless skin and make-up. She is one of the nicest glamazons I've ever met, very easy to talk to and work with and nary a hint of snobbish air.  Glamourbox is official distributor to several cult brands in the most reasonable price points. Their selections are tightly curated and presented in such a way that isn't intimidating, even to the novice beauty junkie. "I oversee business development, e-commerce, client relations, creatives and overall strategy of the company." Beauty and brains, no?

Do you think there is a lack of diversity in your industry?
I’m sure there is. There is lack of diversity in business and there are fewer women entrepreneurs than male ones in the tech space. I’m lucky to be exposed to the beauty and fashion segments of industry where there is some level of diversity. In some cases, it’s even predominantly women-led, like our company. It’s fun working with other like-minded women and seeing others thrive in the same space.

Is it tough for women entrepreneurs to get funding?
It’s tough to get funding in general. We raised capital through friends and family plus personal money and we started small. Having a startup environment is still nascent in this country and funding is scarce. It’s great to see a lot of start-ups coming to fruition and young ones becoming more entrepreneurial. However, one has to be very resourceful (and lucky) in getting the funding they need.

Do you think women-led companies are capable of scaling? Are you able to do so?
I think scaling is not a question of the gender of the leader but whether the business is actually viable for scaling. Simply put, if you happen to have a great idea, execute it at an opportune time, then if you have market demand and manage to figure out how to supply that demand, there is definitely an opportunity to scale. Women are strong and intuitive leaders and definitely capable of driving the growth of a company.

Do you have an Instagram quote you live by?
Running a business is my cardio :) 

Sporting the Kwai box pleated full skirt. Drop by Separates But Equal for similar tops on Lia. 

The Botandini button down dress is another version of Lia's LWD.  

Arriane Serafico 

Arriane, self-taught (!!!) coding whiz and champion organizer, is the founder of The Purposeful Creative, an online school & community for why-driven women and lifelong learners. She teaches classes on creativity, business, and design thinking. It's hard to believe she just started her business a year and a half ago, using the first year to focus on designing great learning experiences which is the foundation of any school. "This latter half of 2017, I've had to switch focus and am now working on the business development side of things: from crunching the numbers and making better forecasts, small data mining and analytics, building an intentional customer retention program, and finding partners for social impact. It's such a novel and interesting industry -- this marriage between tech and education and business. The challenges are always so fun and multi-disciplinary."  

Do you think there is a lack of diversity in your industry? It’s still a fledgling industry here in the Philippines: I don’t think a lot of people are getting into building online platforms for alternative education just yet. (This may change soon!) But I have seen it grow in other countries, and in the beginning, it was a very male-driven field. In recent years though, some of the best and brightest teachers in the online space are women. I really hope that as the industry and craft grows here in Asia, we see a diverse set of educators emerge. Not just gender-wise; but also from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives.

Is it tough for women entrepreneurs to get funding?
I haven’t done any fundraising myself, but I’m not closed to the opportunity of doing it in the future. Knowing that, I’m always on the lookout for any learning material I can get about women in tech, education, and startups: I listen to podcasts, attend conferences, enroll in classes, read books. (Tip: I particularly love the podcasts ‘Startup’ and ‘The Pitch’.)

Right now, there’s a prevalent narrative that points to the fact that women DO have it tougher when fundraising. But then again, we see people like Kirsten Green, who is one of the leading investors in a largely male-dominated world of venture capitalists, who supports a large number of women-led businesses. I’m hopeful that the increased awareness and discourse we’re having on this topic right now will start changing the landscape for the better.

Do you think women-led companies are capable of scaling? Are you able to do so?
Absolutely. I am so thankful that in this day and age, there are incredible women founders who are blazing the trail -- women that I look up to and admire, and aspire to be like.
Glossier’s Emily Weiss is at the top of my list. And so are Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin of The Skimm. I also look up to Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of Rags2Riches, Inc., and Seek The Uniq’s own founder, Mikka Padua.

Having these women as examples ahead of me give me a lot of assurance and confidence, that I can do it, too. (And I hope that I can pay it forward and help other women feel the same in the future.) Right now, in terms of scaling, I’ve definitely seen my business grow -- from a little experiment I coded from my bed, to something that has reached over 10,000 students from all over the world. But what I’m most excited about right now is growing and scaling in the direction of social impact. When I started my business, I knew I wanted it to be a social enterprise -- but I wanted to build the market first, really get to know our users, mine for data, create solid systems -- before I commit to any community or cause.

We’re in prototyping mode right now for our social impact initiatives; I can’t wait to learn more and design it in a way that it weaves well into the very foundation of what we do, not just an afterthought or appendage.

Do you have an Instagram quote you live by?
It’s not so much an Instagram quote, but a business quote:
“Instead of asking, “WHAT should we do to compete?” the questions must be asked, “WHY did we start doing WHAT we’re doing in the first place, and WHAT can we do to bring our cause to life considering all the technologies and market opportunities available today?” - Simon Sinek, Start With Why 

Working her coding muscles in a crimson dress. Find a semblance with the Krisanisi tie-front dress.  

Find your jumpsuit under Neo Nautical.  

 

 

Stay tuned for our next Women in Tech instalment! Because there can never be too much girl power anytime, anywhere. 

 

Cheers, 

Anne 

 

 

September 05, 2017


A Seeker's Spin: Donna

For as long as I've known Donna Cuna Pita, 15 years to be exact, her long, lithe frame has always been her trademark. She was newly married then and even after two kids who are now in their teens, not a shadow of mom bod in sight. She was the quintessential Cosmo girl---stylish, smart, sassy and everyone loved her wicked sense of humor that remains the same after all these years. If you follow her IG and Facebook, you'd be privy to her home construction journey which made me doubly excited to work with her again; I'll get to see her new home and catch up with an old friend. Needless to say, we had a blast! 

Donna's airy, breezy living room is bathed in natural light with antique furniture that's been handed down from family. 

The clothes we brought were smashing once styled (as expected) and the fashion editor in her came to life for a day. "Since moving here, my outfits have become very casual. I live in shorts and tees! I'm thinking of retiring even more of my heels. The transition wasn't easy at first and I would still buy clothes for events or shows. Six months later and they're still hanging in my closet. I definitely need to edit more but this is something I welcome. I really want to live with less." Must be the effect of moving to the suburbs or getting older, either way, I can relate. I picked her brain on all things fashion plus a tip or two you can pick up from a pro. 

Top three fashion tips you learned while working in the industry? 

1. Know your body and lifestyle and choose a style that suits both.
2. You can't look good if you're not comfortable.
3. Know when to scrimp and know when to splurge. Scrimp on trendy items and splurge on good-quality pieces.

Styling hacks you swear by?

1. Small tweaks and details here and there make a huge difference. A casually rolled up sleeve, a front tuck, bold earrings, or statement shoes can make even the simplest outfits stand out.

2. Items should fit well. Tailor or alter if needed.

Has the Pinay evolved fashion-wise since your magazine days or do we have a long way to go? 

I think the Pinay has changed so much! We used to be so self conscious, always worried about what other people would say or think. The younger Filipina is a lot bolder now and brave. We still have a tendency to celebrate conformity, though. We aim to look good but in the same way that others look good. 

How does one find their personal style and can it change or are we all bound to a uniform? 

Some people are lucky to know their personal style early on while others need more time. There's no timetable to follow but always approach it with honesty. Be true to what feels good on you and what represents you. What do your clothes say about you? Is this the message you want to convey?

I think personal style should evolve, just as any person changes over time. We all have that tita or lola who got stuck in that era when she was at her prime with the coiffed hair and matching accessories. Stay true to your essence but be open to change.

Donna gives the Kwai full skirt an old-world feel by pairing it with a fitted jacket and cinching the waist, reminiscent of Dior's New Look. 

Ready for a weekend sojourn via the Errachida semi cropped top paired with classic white shorts and punchy accessories. 

Ever the sexy domestic goddess in the Jakobstad button down skirt. This outfit looks cute with sneakers too! 

The distressed hem tempers the girlishness and gives it an edge. 

Buttons on the back are the unexpected surprise. 

Paying homage to the early 2000s preppy/boho trend starring our ever popular Penola wrap skirt.  

Donna wears it with her own printed clutch, a cool way to do print on print without going OTT. 

Going all-out printed with the Roskilde crop top and her polka dot skirt; because of the colors and sizes of the prints, it works seamlessly together. 

A study in print-mixing from a pro. 

What else can you do with a long sleeved dress? Wear it as a tube top! The Veraval dress gets the makeover of its life. 

Wear it with a statement necklace to avoid looking too bare on top. 

Until the next inspiring Seeker! 

Cheers, 

Anne 

August 31, 2017


MIXING PRINTS 101

Many think that mixing prints may be a task or tricky, but with enough practice and patience you’ll be surprised that mixing prints will definitely be something that will open a lot of fashionable doors for you. With that said, here are some print on print tips and tricks you might want to keep in mind..
 
 
 
STICK TO THE SAME COLOR FAMILY
 
 There is one very important tip to follow while mixing your favorite prints: stay in the same color family. As long as the prints have at least one color in common, you can use contrasting colors. Remember: Match colors, not prints. If the colors look good together, then it’s always fun and cool to create new outfits with bright patterns.
 
 
(We mixed a gingham set with the Kuhmo 3-Piece Pajama Set)
 
 
START SIMPLE
 
 Not ready to work with bigger prints? Well then balance the prints with each other, take baby steps. For example, if your skirt has a larger floral print, wear it with a shirt that has a skinnier or smaller print. If the top has wider stripes, wear a skirt that has small florals. It’s okay to start small and eventually work your way up before going all out.
 
 
(We matched the (top image) Paimio Red Gingham Skirt and Top Set with the Priego Floral Cropped Top (Multicolor) and the (bottom image)  Jakobstad Gingham Skirt and Top Set with the  Errachida Floral Linen Semi Cropped Top)
 
 
TRY SOMETHING NEW
 
 Wearing two large prints may seem a bit overwhelming, but it’s all about balancing it out. Besides, there’s no written rule that mixing larger prints are a bad idea. So if you’re ready to give this a shot, make sure to stick to working with two prints at most when you do this. A good example would be this larger gingham style and some florals; this mix makes the outfit look modern yet girly at the same time. Just make sure to keep your accessories very minimal!
 
 
Now, time to mix some prints! Experiment and try something new.
 
xx,
Patricia
 
August 17, 2017


5 Flatlays to Get You Started on Your Long Weekend #OOTD’s

Looking forward to the long weekend? So are we! And together with sorting out your plans, let us give you #OOTD ideas via these five flatlays.

For a Date

Be it for a lunch or dinner date with your beau, wear the flirty Kerava jumpsuit with the hottest accessory right now: statement earrings. Try the Cerro pair in black and white to complement your ensemble. Put your hair up to not only show off those danglers, but also your décolletage – just the right hint of sexiness will do. Finish off with nude heels and a colorful weave bag like the Nivya, for that pop of color.

For a Beach Trip

Missing the summer sun? Take advantage of the long weekend for a trip to the beach! Ditch your usual bikini for a more fashion forward swimsuit like the Noir. Go all weave everything with your chosen bag, platforms, and a visor. Contrast your beach ready look with a fruity pair of earrings (watch out for this style soon!). And remember, sporting a sunburn isn’t fashionable at all, so don’t forget to pack our beach essentials like the Amazing Maui Babe Tan Enhancer, Amazing Maui Babe Browning Lotion, and the BeachBorn Lip Sun Balm.

For Me Time

Make this weekend the perfect “me time” by discovering new places or trying out new things…in style, of course! Don a dress in a cool blue like the Sastamala, and be simply chic by either wearing it off-the-shoulder or as a shirt dress. Go tonal with comfy footwear that can last you all day, and accessorize with a playful pair of earrings like the Susella, to break the monotony of it all.

For a Workout

Catch up on your fitness goals by taking time to workout this weekend with your gym buddies. How to motivate yourself? Definitely with cute workout gear! Layer the Sai hoodie over the Aito sports bra, and either wear with printed leggings or shorts like the Toribio. Carry a trusty water bottle like the MyTagAlongs Water Bottle to keep hydrated. Spritz on the Avène Thermal Water for a refreshed feeling after killing it at the gym or yoga class.

For a Mini Party

The long weekend calls for a celebration, so why not host a small party with your best girls? Life’s too short not to go colorful, so amp up your look in a party skirt, worn with a versatile white top such as the Kokkola. Add festive fringe earrings like the Machito, and put on your dancing heels. Now that’s one boomerang-worthy look, right there!

Hope these flatlays inspire you as much as we enjoyed curating them. Get your game face on and savor the long weekend, Seekers!

 

Cheers,

Nasia

 

August 07, 2017


A Seeker's Spin: Tin

Tin wears the Kotka cropped top in reverse and pairs it with her own army green ruffled skirt for contrast. 

For Tin Coquiero, Rockwell's Assistant VP and General Manager for Retail, love for fashion comes naturally. I've been a follower ever since she caught my eye in STU's feed and became an instant fan of her personal style, defined in her own words, "classic & feminine added with a bit of playfulness and edge." Tin, a huge fan of patterns, details and textures shares, "I love asymmetric cuts, fringe, lace, leather, chiffon and if I could, I'd wear them all at the same time!" Love a girl with confidence and enthusiasm in finding joy in dressing. 

Her strategy in styling the pieces I chose was to make it "wearable without being predictable. I mixed solids and patterns, injected details that I love like ruffles and fringe with minimal layering, topped off with my work shoes to give it the corporate touch." 

Being a busy mom and wife, I wanted to know her take on planning her wardrobe for the week. "There are days when I plan my outfits the night before but sometimes, I just dress according to my mood that morning." Her advice? "Think of yourself as the newly appointed fashion editor of a magazine. Dressing in a corporate setting doesn't have to be boring, nor does it mean you have to wear branded head to toe, but rather knowing what looks good on you and relying on your creativity in putting outfits together. Invest in good heels and a good haircut to complete the package." 

Tin's parting words for women in corporate who are at a loss wardrobe-wise: "while corporate dressing is to a certain extent, dressing to impress, it's important that you feel good when you do it. Because once you start feeling good about yourself, it changes your mood and outlook. And sometimes, that's all you ever need to win that vote of confidence."

No wonder this super mom and #girlboss is winning in life! Scroll down on how she styled our versatile pieces fit for the conference room (and cocktails after hours).  

I love a girl who wears a men's watch. So much more interesting than blingy, girly details. 

Tin carries her personalized woven bag from STU's creative escape in Morocco. 

We all fell in love with how she styled the Forssa dress in saddle. Totally unexpected to tie a chambray shirt around the waist as accent! 

Ingenious, no

She goes for print on print mixing black, white and baby pink with the Lohja gingham top. 

Her pink pouf earrings were the icing on the cake! 

Tin smartly pairs the cozy Colleen sweater dress under the Buelna paper bag skirt creating a whole different outfit! 

Accessorized with the Susella tassel earrings.  

 How to make coordinates corporate-friendly? Layer the Heinola tank top over a dressy tee, pair it with the matching pants and wear contrasting leopard pumps for an edgy touch! 

Pick up some snacks while at lunch break with the botad net bag. 

 

Have a great work week ahead, Seekers! 

Anne 

 

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