Any entrepreneur would tell you that growing a business can be just as or even more difficult than starting one. There can be many more options to consider, challenges to face, and much more to lose if expansion fails.
This notion is not lost on husband and wife tandem Carlo and Kaye Garcia of Hot Pink Lingerie, a specialty shop offering intimate apparel for women. That is why they take a very conservative approach to growing their business. “Expansion is make or break so we’re very careful,” says Kaye of their strategy.
Hot Pink Lingerie, with its main branch at the PowerPlant Mall in Makati City, started offering specialty intimate women’s apparel in 2000. It soon branched out to Robinson’s Department Stores in Ermita and Galleria, the Festival Mall in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, and outlets in cities outside Metro Manila.
“We were thinking of positioning ourselves in between expensive brands like Marks & Spencer and Calvin Klein underwear, and those you find in department stores,” recalls Kaye.
Carlo adds, ”At that time, all that was available was basic stuff so we decided to add more colors, more fun and playful designs that would cater to younger customers.”
The brisk sales led to the opening of outlets in leading department stores and franchising in 2007. The company now has six stores and two franchises in Cebu and Davao.
Despite the global financial crisis, Hot Pink decided in 2009 to get imported labels such as Sassybax, Body Wrap and Le Mystere. Now, Hot Pink Lingerie is looking to expand further this year through e-commerce.
1. Set specific goals
When considering expansion, the Garcias say the first thing to do is to set specific goals – for both the long term and the short term. In the case of Hot Pink Lingerie, the ultimate objective is to become a one-stop shop for intimate apparel. “When you think of intimate apparel, we want people to think Hot Pink. We are not there yet, so we just keep reinvesting and it’s been paying off so far,” says Kaye.