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Fashion-preneur

Jean Fernando talks about The BIG Outlet Sale 2009.
Fashion-preneur Jean Fernando talks about The BIG Outlet Sale 2009.
Jean Fernando is a regular stylish figure in Style Bible's party galleries and has been in the running for the weekly Style Star on more than one occasion. Apart from her luxe bag and shoe collection, there's another thing to envy about this young fashionista—her business acumen.

At 25, she is already a seasoned bazaarista. When the young entrepreneur isn't clocking in as the Director of Operations and Marketing for the Fersal Hotel Group, she's keeping busy with Malibu Enterprise, a trading company she set up with brother Jerico.

Currently, the company distributes Egglings—ingenious ostrich-sized eggs that allow you to grow herbs and flowers in the confined space of your kitchen. Their major accomplishment last year, however, was The BIG Outlet Sale 2008, wherein the siblings organized a huge discount event participated in by the likes of Rustan's Marketing Corporation, Lux Asia, Giordano, and other big name brands. The 3-day event had about 6000 shoppers coming in each day to avail of discounts that went as low as 80% off the tag price.

The huge success of the Christmas event got the ball rolling for the second installment, which will be held on April 17-19, 2009. We caught up with the one-time Style Star winner to get the 411 on the coming event as well as some business savvy tips.

You have a lot of experience with bazaars. Did your experience as a vendor in other bazaars become useful when you were planning the Big Outlet Sale?
Last year I really stretched myself thin and joined as many bazaars possible selling the Egglings that Malibu Enterprise distributes. While it took a lot of effort, sales talk, and forgone weekends, I also enjoyed marketing my product and more than that, negotiating with bargaining customers! What I got from the experience was the concept of the Filipinos' love for bargains and scouring for hard to find deals. And in this economy, it is really important to make sure you take advantage of promos and sales that come up

What is the Big Outlet Sale all about?
To summarize it: the biggest brands in one roof with the lowest possible prices! It's great because buyers don't have to go to different malls or stores to get their fashion, accessories, cosmetic, electronic, and whatever fix they're looking for. Aside from convenience, The BIG Outlet Sale caters to techies, fashionistas, sports enthusiasts, mommies, music aficionados, and of course, the shopaholics! Our brands include Rustan's Marketing, Marks & Spencer, Giordano, Puma, Lux Asia, Ben Sherman, SEE by Chloe, Ray-Ban, Zona Sul, and many more!

How did you come up with the concept for this bazaar?
Actually it is not a bazaar; it is a liquidation event. We approached merchants who wanted to liquidate excess stocks, and partnered with BPI Express Credit Edge, who provides marketing and POS terminals for the event. We want buyers to maximize their time and budget by housing the best brands, the best deals, and the best prices under one roof. We've cut the anxiety of searching for good deals by bringing in an event that has nothing but discounted items while stimulating the retail industry during trying times in this economy.

Was the first one last Christmas successful?
The BIG Outlet Sale 2008 exceeded our expectations as well as our merchant and sponsors. We had about 6000 people per day come in and shop for three days. When we asked our merchants how they did, they reached all their quotas and were more than satisfied with their sales. At one point, we had to close the door because we had too many people inside! Some of our merchants forgot to eat lunch because, from the moment the doors opened 'til the time we closed up shop, people were coming in nonstop.

What are your plans for The Big Outlet Sale 2009?
We wanted a variety of brands so now we've included children clothes, high-end brands, and more electronics. We've again partnered with BPI Express Credit Edge and all Edge cardholders get additional perks aside from the free entrance extended to all BPI cardholders. Aside from improving our merchant variety, we didn't change much because you don't want to mess with a good thing.

How can sellers sign up to be part of this?
All inquiries can be forwarded to Malibu.Enterprise@gmail.com.

What bits of advice can you give other enterprising fashion fiends about organizing a big event or starting a business?
I really believe that there is no need until you know something exists, that being said the motto “if you build it, they will come” rings true. You must try to fulfill an inherent need and find the market that is willing to spend for it. So if you're considering a venture you really need to look into the four Ps: Product, Price, Placement & Promotion, the old school marketing motto. If people can't see it, it's just as good as gone.

But the best advice came from my parents who are entrepreneurs. They taught my brother and I to be hands-on in whatever we do and instilled in us that it's not how much you make but how much you save that matters.


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—Isha Andaya, Managing Editor
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