Regine Tolentino is a popular face on TV. She has a number of shows in GMA-7.
On top of these engagements, Tolentino also runs two thriving businesses that she finds much more exciting: Regine’s Boutique, which she put up in June 1999 when she was still 20 and a first-time mother, and Regine’s Dance Studio, which she put up three years later in 2003.
Tolentino started Regine’s Boutique literally in the living room of her house at Corinthian Place in Valencia, Quezon City, right after she gave birth to her eldest daughter Reigne. “I had gone around looking for dresses for her but didn’t find anything I liked, so I decided to make them myself,” she recalls.
Going into the fashion business wasn’t entirely a new thing to Tolentino, for she had taken fashion design as an elective in college. It was therefore with some confidence that she invested P800,000 of her own money as initial capital for her business. She rented a two-story building on Granada Street in Quezon City for a boutique shop and a dress factory, then equipped the latter with 12 sewing machines.
For starters, she made an initial 13 designs of baby dresses and children’s party dresses. She presented them to a well-known high-end shopping store, which promptly agreed to carry them. This auspicious entry into the ready-to-wear business was followed not long after by her bagging the Philippine license to produce young people’s clothing carrying the Walt Disney characters and brand.
“It was a really profitable business, but after a time, I decided to focus on made-to-order and custom-made dresses,” she says.
The growth of Tolentino’s garments business really took off when she lost weight from her second pregnancy and seriously went into dancing as an avocation. A graceful dancer, she became a regular, much-sought-after performer in glitzy awarding ceremonies of show-business. For her stage appearances, she always made it a point to wear her self-designed gowns, thus actively promoting her own fashion creations.
So successful was this self-promotion strategy that by 2002, she had already expanded her garments business into the design and creation of formal wear, including bridal gowns. She then became a regular guest-judge in the dance show “Shall We Dance,” for which she would also supply dance dresses for the performers.
Tolentino’s show-business clientele for her dresses eventually grew to include the mainstays of such leading TV entertainment programs as “SOP” and “Eat Bulaga,” among them popular movie-TV performers Ruffa Gutierrez, Lucy Torres, Izza Calzado, Ara Mina, and Ruffa Mae Quinto. Soon after, Tolentino also started supplying made-to-order dance shoes to the Dance Sport Council of the Philippines and the participants of its annual dance competitions.