Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Passion for fashion

Passion for fashion
Business World - Online Edition
October 6, 2010

Ronald Pineda
Adenip Inc. (Folded & Hung)

Most people rarely stop to consider just how much work goes into producing a garment. The average dress can require over a dozen stitches per inch and consume as much as 188 yards of thread. A regular t-shirt may use up to 63 yards of thread. And that’s just the "tip of the needle." There’s also fabric quality, thread count, colors, dyes, washing specifications and a host of other factors that determine the quality of a piece of clothing. Things that are often taken for granted by most -- but not by Ronald Pineda, president of Adenip, Inc.

"Workmanship is important in clothing, even if people never see the actual detail or workmanship. But when they wear the clothes, they will feel the quality and know that they got their money’s worth," says the founder of the dynamic company behind popular local fashion brands Folded and Hung (F&H), Wade and Jellybean.

"I’ve believed in this principle since day one, even from the very first piece of clothing I sold from a tiangge (bazaar stall) in Greenhills," he adds.

Even when he was still growing up in Pampanga, Mr. Pineda had always been deeply passionate about clothing and style. Inspired by his enterprising parents and grandfather, his first forays into entrepreneurship began in school, when he would sell things from his parents’ PX goods store at school to support his love for clothes. He realized then that selling came naturally to him. His enthusiasm for retail never waned, even when he studied Dentistry in the University of the East, and later, when he had a dental practice.

In 1998, Mr. Pineda and some friends decided to set up a clothing business out of a six-square meter stall at Shoppesville Plus in Greenhills. They sold clothing they had designed themselves, capturing their ideals of style, quality and affordability. The designs were popular with shoppers and Mr. Pineda realized that to make the business grow, he needed to learn more about the industry.

He joined the Philippine Retailers’ Association to attend business courses. It was here that he met Bing Limjoco, a founding member of the Philippine Franchise Association who was also from Pampanga. She took him under her wing and mentored him as he built his business.

Under Ms. Limjoco’s tutelage, Mr. Pineda gained enough confidence to target a wider market. In 1998 he opened his first Folded and Hung shop in Robinson’s Imus, Cavite, followed by a second shop in Festival Mall, Alabang. However, it was only in 2001 when he opened a branch in Robinson’s Galleria when business truly took off.

Mr. Pineda decided to collaborate closely with young, talented local designers to create the F&H signature look -- clothes that were tailor-fit and flattered the body, of high quality yet affordable.

F&H merchandise has since been well received by fashionistas. From three shops, it has now expanded to 50 stores nationwide and 10 franchise outlets. The success also led to the launch of the Jellybean and Wade brands.

"We love working with up-and-coming Filipino designers. Their ideas are novel and exciting, and our brand gives them a platform to express their talents and creativity," he enthuses.

Mr. Pineda also establishes strong ties with local manufacturers and suppliers with 90% of F&H clothes sewn locally.

Mr. Pineda likewise injects freshness and innovation into his business. He and his team attend international tradeshows to spot trends and to keep F&H designs constantly new and current.

He says, "We’re usually the first to launch a new style or look in the country. We’re constantly reinventing our business, our designs, and even the way we market our products. We prefer to keep shallow inventories.

"I know I get uncomfortable if I walk down the street and see someone wearing the same thing I’m wearing. So instead of producing too many of a particular style, we keep coming up with new ones.

"That way, when shoppers visit our stores, they’ll always find something new."

Mr. Pineda maintains a familial culture in his company with Adenip’s corporate values of teamwork, integrity, malasakit (compassion) and excellence. He also encourages his people to give back to the community.

In addition to the Folded & Hung Foundation which offers scholarships to the children of employees and non-employees, the company also offers financial support to groups such as Bantay Bata, Red Cross, Ondoy victims, orphanages and retirement homes, among others. To support environmental protection, they monitor the sustainability practices of their suppliers and use biodegradable shopping bags for their stores.

The company also focuses on employee development, providing training and exposure trips to international trade shows, pro-family activities, and performance awards.

In recognition of his entrepreneurial skills and management style, Mr. Pineda received the 2010 PLDT Bossing Ako award and the 2008 Most Outstanding Kapampangan Award. He is also an active Sponsor-Mentor of the Go Negosyo program of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship.

Looking back on the challenges and choices he made, Mr. Pineda concludes that he was glad to have followed his passions. "You have to be optimistic and take charge of your life. If you’re not happy with where your life or career is going, change it. Work at it, be positive, and things will usually work out."


The Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2010 is sponsored by SAP Philippines. Official airline is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, operating on behalf of the Air-France KLM Group in the Philippines. Media sponsors are BusinessWorld and the ABS-CBN News Channel. The winners of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2010 will be announced on October 12, 2010 at an awards banquet at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel. The Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines will represent the country in the World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2010 in Monte Carlo, Monaco in June 2011. The Entrepreneur Of The Year is produced globally by Ernst & Young.