"Ever since I started designing I've always dreamed of opening my own store," says swim wear and luxe wear designer Charina Sarte. After five successful years in the Philippine fashion scene designing for Manila's glam social set, she finally achieved her dream. Last week, she opened her first boutique in the Filipino Zone of Greenbelt 5. She also launched her Holiday 2010 collection, composed of the three lines of the Charina Sarte brand: Silver Label (luxe and functional clothing for day to evening dressing), Black Label (chic and sexy cocktail dresses and separates), and Charina Sarte Swim (glamorous resort wear).
Opening a store is definitely not an easy endeavor, though, and she was well aware of the challenges. "I knew that this was not something I could just jump into," she shares. She took baby steps first. "I sold my clothes in different stores first to see how I would do. I learned so many things about retail without too much risk because I was only consigning. I think after five years of doing this I felt like I had to take the next step. When Ayala offered me the space I took it as a sign."
"I think I've proven I have a market already and it was time to finally spread my wings and open my own boutique," Charina continues. "Having my own store, I can merchandise my clothes better. I can give more personalized service to my customers and I will be more accessible to clients old and new."
The boutique is a representation of her style and taste. "I just wanted a really simple and airy space," she explains. "I will be spending a lot of my time there so I wanted a place that was easy on the eyes. Simple lay out, clean lines. I really wanted the clothes to be the main feature of the store. The interior was just really a showroom for my work. I guess if you were going to relate the two, when I dress up someone I want the person wearing the dress to be the highlight, not the other way around."
The store will not only serve as a retail space, but her atelier as well. "I have a small office in the back where I can see clients for made-to-order services, of course, by appointment. Anything we sell in the store can also be tailored to size or done in any specification the clients want."
Asked what's next for her, she reveals she wants to go global. "Next step will be trying to sell my clothes to the international market. I want to bring my resort line, my first love, to Vegas, maybe St. Tropez. I think there's definitely a market there for me."
Click on the photo gallery to view Charina Sarte's Holiday 2010 collection.