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Of Auspicious Beginnings
Jojo Chua, co-founder and managing director for clothing brand Mosaic and soon to become a Rockwell resident, tells his story of finding opportunities even in the most challenging circumstances
Head up to the R2 level of the Power Plant Mall and you can find a treasure trove of stylish boutiques with wares that range from bespoke accessories to clothes to suit anyone’s taste.
In one bright corner stands a store that has, for nearly a decade, offered a lovely selection of easy-wearing outfits with relaxed silhouettes and are made of fabrics that are light, comfortable, and perfect for the tropical weather. Indeed, from this first store at the Power Plant Mall, Mosaic has grown into a brand with branches in various parts of the NCR. According to Jojo Chua, Mosaic co-founder and managing director, the brand has come a long way from where it all began.
When Jojo and his business partner first set up shop in the late 2000s, the company was producing clothes for a young market: older teens and young adults. But everything changed when the big global fast-fashion companies came to the country in 2009. That was the year when major international brands flew in to hold sway with the young market who were Mosaic’s core clientele at the time.
“That was the breaking point for us,” Jojo recalls. “Our original direction was to design and offer clothes for a younger market. When the fast-fashion brands came in, that’s when we shifted our focus to a more mature market. It was a paradigm shift for us when we changed directions.”
For Mosaic, it meant more than just a change with regard to its look or even the refocusing its target market. It also warranted a change of location. It seemed serendipitous at the time that Rockwell came calling, inviting their brand to come and participate at the summer and holiday bazaars staged at the Rockwell Tent in Makati. It was something that made the partners consider moving the shop lock, stock, and barrel to what was considered at the time Makati’s center of fashion.
“Fifteen years ago, Rockwell was the premier destination for fashion; even now, it carries a number of prestigious brands,” Jojo remembers. “We were a frequent participant at the Rockwell Tent bazaars and we always did very well there. But the really great thing about being there was that it gave us the idea that we could make it in Makati.”
It proved to be the best decision the partners could make. Since it first opened its doors at Power Plant Mall, Mosaic has become one of the brands of choice for women looking for clothes that would be perfect for both the office or weekends out with family and friends. It has also offered a couple of limited-edition collections, collaborative efforts with renowned local designers Maureen Disini and Cat Arambulo-Antonio. It is, as Jojo proudly puts it, the result of looking at a situation as more of an opportunity rather than a threat.
“Ten years ago, I was really annoyed [with the foreign competition]; but now, I’m thankful for them,” he admits. “That threat, that issue turned out to be a great opportunity for us. Now, we’re happy with the direction that Mosaic has taken.”
Interestingly, Jojo is also considering bringing his family into the community where his fortune changed: his unit at the Proscenium will serve as a halfway home for them, a place where they can stay on weekdays so as not to trek through Manila’s grueling traffic or a venue for comfortable staycations.
“When I saw the new plans for the Proscenium, I thought about buying one of the units for my family,” Jojo says. “I showed the model unit to my wife – and that was it; it only took us a couple of days to decide that we would get one.” When Jojo and his wife made the decision to get a unit that would be big enough for their family of four – only to be happily surprised that they would soon be parents to a third child! It was a delightful surprise that has reinforced Jojo’s belief that good things do happen at Rockwell.