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From Tiangge to Mall: The Meg Success Story

It all started with a stall in the tiangge, now Meg is one of the brands sought after by the big malls
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Meg started at the famous Greenhills tiangge in San Juan City in 2000. It started as a repository of goods that its owners, a globetrotting couple, gathered from their trips.

Maricar Tuason, who owns the women’s clothing company, says that she and her husband Morris used to work as flight attendants for a local airline.

“We frequented different countries, most specially the United States, to buy and re-sell products including men’s and ladies’ apparel,” Maricar says.

At that time, she says, imported products used to be very scarce and expensive. Only when the Philippine government implemented free and bilateral trading with other countries—lowering the cost of imports and opening the doors for Asian countries to produce and manufacture products for their neighbors—that the Philippines saw an influx of imported merchandise.

However, famous clothing brands such as Gap and Old Navy are also made in the Philippines and usually shipped to their mother countries, with the rejects or excess products declared as “overruns.”

“Hence, we shifted to sell these ‘overruns’ in our stalls in Greenhills for their affordability, variety and volume, instead of our usual buying and reselling them from abroad,” she says.

However, the time came when such overruns saturated the tiangge market and competition became tough. This prompted the Tuasons to develop their own merchandise by using the fabrics of these imported materials and creating export quality designs and production standards that could be different.

“That was when the brand ‘Meg’ was born, named after our daughter,” Maricar says. (Apart from clothes, the brand also sells ladies shoes, bags and accessories.)

Meg in Greenhills earned a following and became a market destination. A single stall spawned as much as 14 other stalls around the tiangge there; in every corner and lane, one would not miss a Meg stall.

“We creatively introduced many firsts in the tiangges, such as uniformed sales people and putting up signage for customers to recognize us. Now if you would go to Greenhills, every stall has a sign,” she says.

Because of its popularity, Meg caught the attention of the different mall operators. Officials of SM, Ayala Malls and Robinsons started sending feelers to the company for it to put up boutiques in their malls. And so in 2005, the Tuasons took a leap of faith and professionalized Meg’s standards and operations.

As it joined the bigger playing field in retail, Meg put up 3 to 4 stores yearly, including department store concessions. Tuason says they eventually got celebrity endorsers as part of their marketing effort.

“We thought of solidifying our marketing front by getting celebrity endorsers such as Dawn Zulueta, Valerie Concepcion, Mariel Rodriguez and Bianca Gonzales, who are known for their great fashion sense,” she said.

What makes Meg popular? Tuason says they make sure they are not complacent when it comes to coming up with new designs. “Meg designs are created by a pool of developing fashion designers who are creative and trendy. They are tasked to travel and learn new ideas to create designs every 10 days. Our fabrics are of imported material and the way they are produced is of export quality. One is assured to have our Meg apparel to last for years,” Tuason says.

Now that’s something to be said about a brand that had humble beginnings.

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