How homegrown shoe brand thrived for 50 years despite cheap imports

Gross sales girl Rose Alquizar, operations supervisor Ginggay Pajaro and proprietor Yolanda “Ging” Bello-Pajaro —NASTASHA VERAYO DE VILLA

A lady catwalked contained in the carpeted retailer as she tried on two totally different kinds of excessive heels, posing dramatically in entrance of the floor-to-ceiling mirrors. You would inform she was thrilled. It seems she’s been in search of Through Venetto for 30 years.

Rose Alquizar has been a sales lady for Via Venetto since 1984. —NASTASHA VERAYO DE VILLA
Rose Alquizar has been a gross sales girl for Through Venetto since 1984. —NASTASHA VERAYO DE VILLA

“I assumed it had closed down,” she stated, explaining that she hadn’t been out a lot since she bought married.

When she occurred upon the store once more in Greenbelt in October final yr, 57-year-old Roxie Tionloc was so delighted, she did an impromptu dance proper then and there—”Napa-TikTok ako sa tuwa!”

“I like their footwear as a result of they’re gentle; it’s such as you’re not sporting something,” she stated. “And it’s sturdy. The final time I used to be in a position to purchase (from Through Venetto) was in 1993. Think about, 30 years in storage? After I took them out, they had been nonetheless intact—no mildew, no peeling.”

Candy flats in assorted colors —Photos by NASTASHA VERAYO DE VILLA
Sweet flats in assorted colours —Images by NASTASHA VERAYO DE VILLA

Sadly, she was pressured to present them away as a result of her ft had grown one dimension since.

Tales like these are usually not unusual inside the partitions of Through Venetto shops (they’ve branches in Greenbelt, Glorietta, Alabang City Heart, SM Megamall and Trinoma). In line with proprietor Yolanda “Ging” Bello-Pajaro, a part of the rationale they survived all these years was due to their loyal patrons, or suki.

“This yr, we’re turning 50. So think about the suki base of fifty years,” added operations supervisor Ginggay Pajaro, Ging’s daughter.


In truth, when longtime shoppers are round, they often find yourself convincing new clients to purchase by sharing their very own experiences. They might swear up and down that Through Venetto footwear and baggage are made to final, every with tales straight from their very own historical past of sporting—and over-wearing—the proudly Filipino model.

The Filipino shoe model has 50 years’ price of suki and tales. —NASTASHA VERAYO DE VILLA

One favourite anecdote of an previous shopper is how her footwear even withstood wading via the horrible floods of Manila. And a few shoppers have even introduced of their 25-year-old footwear for repairs (a service the corporate additionally offers).

“The footwear had been nonetheless intact, simply needing minor repairs like changing the rubber on the heel. Our high quality controller stated, ‘Ma’am, 25 anyos na itong sapatos na ito, pabilhin mo na ng bago,” Ging associated, laughing. “However they don’t wish to as a result of it’s their pampasyal.”

Alise slides in navy and taupe —NASTASHA VERAYO DE VILLA
Alise slides in navy and taupe —NASTASHA VERAYO DE VILLA

Earlier than the pandemic, they had been truly doing fairly nicely, even competing with worldwide manufacturers and exporting sooner or later. But it surely was the inflow of footwear from China that grew to become their largest menace “as a result of these had been so low cost.”

They survived by sticking to their rules: making the most effective regionally made merchandise potential. So a pair of Filipino-crafted Through Venetto footwear could have “leather-based from Italy, soles from Germany, heels from France and equipment from Austria.”

Sandina brogues in tan and red, blue and white —NASTASHA VERAYO DE VILLA
Sandina brogues in tan and purple, blue and white —NASTASHA VERAYO DE VILLA

And so they by no means wavered.

“Properly, I used to be nervous,” Ginggay admitted. “After all, it’s costly. However she (Ging) didn’t have any qualms about these issues. It’s a very good factor she’s the boss. She actually caught to her high quality and repair.”

Buyer Roxie Tionloc is ecstatic to be reunited with the shoe model. —NASTASHA VERAYO DE VILLA

Personal little factories

Early on, Ging would convey her shoemakers to main shoe festivals overseas to assist them be taught and innovate. Ultimately, through the years when there was labor agitation in Marikina, they picked a number of of their extremely expert shoemakers with potential entrepreneurial inclination and helped them arrange their very own little factories.

“We equipped them with leather-based, parts, instruments and a few fundamental classes on administration and accounting. So we now not had factories, it was simply them,” Ging stated.

A customer tries on a pair of high heels. —NASTASHA VERAYO DE VILLA
A buyer tries on a pair of excessive heels. —NASTASHA VERAYO DE VILLA

It was an enormous danger. They had been afraid manufacturing would endure as soon as the employees had been left on their very own. However the reverse turned out to be true. Not needing to reply to anybody, these shoemakers poured within the effort to show themselves, placing a lot pleasure of their work. And that is what Through Venetto does: spend money on folks.

One in all their shoemakers who has handed away, Nick Astillas, was one such instance of how the enterprise has modified lives.

30-year-old Via Venetto shoes, still in good condition
30-year-old Through Venetto footwear, nonetheless in good situation

“When this man utilized to us, he made 30 samples, none of which handed our requirements. So I lastly instructed him to attempt different shoe shops. However he requested to attempt once more,” Ging associated. Then in the future, Tingting Cojuangco instructed her to attempt making ballet footwear with adjustable strings alongside the collar, fixing the issue of match.

“So I gave that to Nick for a last attempt. He will need to have made VV1 (the mannequin of the ballet flats) in 40 totally different colours since. From his small home, he was in a position to construct a four-story house with VV1 carved into his new home’s narra door body,” she stated.

Shaira flats

However as Through Venetto elevates the lives of its staff, Ging has additionally taught them to present again.

“Our shoemakers now have their very own homes and are in a position to ship their kids to prime universities. So I require them to go to orphanages and provides again. I instructed them to present because of God. And lots of people discover this humorous, however I instructed them that a part of what we be taught in UP (College of the Philippines) is that you’re not solely accountable for your self but in addition to your nation and different folks. I instructed them, they’ve progressed past their wildest goals, so it’s now time to present again.”

Alaina sandals

‘Marikina Day’

Up till the beginning of the lockdowns, Ging would maintain “Marikina Day” each Wednesday whereby she would give 15-minute speeches on how “hindi pwede ang pwede na” and “stagnation” and “making do” are soiled phrases of their firm. In truth, at the same time as there was already high quality management throughout manufacturing, they might nonetheless do rigorous high quality management as soon as the merchandise attain the shops.

So it’s no surprise shoppers preserve coming again.

Eleonor slingbacks

“Phrase of mouth is essentially the most highly effective. Although it’s not as quick as media or promoting, it has the strongest influence, particularly if it’s from a buddy. While you hear somebody you already know say, ‘Ayan, matibay talaga yan,’ you’ll actually imagine it,” Ginggay stated.

“Mommy is excellent with PR within the sense that she is aware of methods to deal with folks. That’s why she’s the one who skilled the employees. It’s not only a product, but in addition a service-oriented firm,” she added.

Catriona platforms

Ging agreed. “It’s not only a matter of promoting. It’s a matter of human relationship and compassion.”

She skilled her “ladies” or gross sales girls to hear. “That is essential, as a result of some clients go to us not solely to purchase footwear, but in addition to vent their emotions.” Past only a place to do some retail remedy, Through Venetto has additionally develop into a secure area for them.

Sandina brogues

Sole and soul

“What I take pleasure in extra on this enterprise is the interpersonal relationship with the purchasers,” Ging stated. “A lot of our clients have additionally develop into mates. And so they in flip have additionally develop into mates with our ladies. For Christmas, they might even drop by simply handy over items.”

The store has develop into a supply of assist for each sole and soul. And once they wanted it essentially the most, their shoppers had been additionally there to assist them again.

Tatiana handbag
Tatiana purse

Through the pandemic, Ginggay observed extra folks patronizing native manufacturers.

USE Derby shoe

“By some means, slowly, folks grew to become supportive of native manufacturers. Possibly they really feel like they had been serving to the nation. Earlier than that, colonial mentality actually was an enormous drawback, extra so since our costs are excessive as a result of our supplies are so costly. We needed to cope with feedback like ‘Native lang kayo, ba’t ang mahal-mahal?’ However in time, we had been in a position to show that our merchandise had been nonetheless higher than even imported ones,” Ging stated.

Barbie pumps in red
Barbie pumps in purple