Abegail Sanchez comes up with a concept that fits
By Deneb Batucan
CONFIDENT and stylish, Abegail Sanchez struts around her store like a proud mom presenting her first-born child to the world. As an architecture graduate, Abegail is conditioned to make plans and execute them by the blueprint. That’s what she did with her retail concept store, Emporium — a carefully planned business that has one major goal: to promote online and upcoming brands that are 100 percent locally made.
Emporium is the first concept store in Cebu that houses different local brands both from Manila and Cebu. Local products from clothes, shoes, bags to makeup and accessories are up for grabs for shoppers.
Abegail decided to open a concept store here in Cebu so online shoppers could have a one-stop hub of their favorite online brands.
“The concept store cultivates an experience that cannot be recreated online,” she said of Emporium, which is located at V. Rama Ave., Cebu City. From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, customers could feel and test the products at hand and, best of all, the products have the same price range in the physical store and online. A win-win for both sellers and consumers.
A mind for business
Growing up, Abegail has always been a business-minded person. “I believe that I need to learn how to earn money in order to provide for my family, just like my parents,” she said.
Before Emporium, she was already selling different kinds of products from food to clothes, etc. When online selling became the trend, she ventured into it and started her own online shop some four to five years ago. Abegail was already earning her own money even at a ripe age.
Business has always been her inclination. Aside from Emporium, she is also one of the partners in a construction business called ADM Architecture and Construction Services.
As more and more online stores popped up in the web, consumers flock to their computer screens and easily buy any kind of product with just a click of the mouse. Abegail thinks there are two reasons people prefer to buy online. “People prefer buying online because the price ranges are far from what physical stores sell. Also, a lot of online stores have specific products that only their brand manufactures or customizes.”
Abegail’s concept store, Emporium, is a new wave of bricks and mortar retail. She conceptualized it as a hub where the online stores could present and promote their products physically. “All our creative outputs are inspired by purity and oriental simplicity, allowing customers to have fun and relax while shopping and not feel like they’re in a crazy sale,” she said. “It’s different when people could actually touch the products and try them on before buying them.”
Loving our own
Opening their store has been a whirlwind experience for Abegail. She knew local online shops have a following, but she didn’t know it had such a huge number of customers. A lot of times customers would line up and wait for the store to open and shop to their hearts’ content. “It’s truly beyond expectations,” she mused.
What Abegail loves most about her business is the fact that she has helped so many local entrepreneurs like herself. Emporium holds over 40 concessionaires today, with another 40 brands to open this May as they open up their second floor, which will also hold a coffee shop where shoppers can chill and rest their sore feet after hours of browsing. The coffee shop, of course, will serve locally grown beans.
Abegail hopes that Emporium will continue to grow and that she’ll be able to help promote local products that are of great quality and at reasonable prices. Even when the store is still quite early in its evolution, Abegail has high hopes.
“I hope to establish an Emporium store in every area of Cebu,” she said. This can help boost the sales of local products and encourage Cebuanos to love our own.
Photos: Alfred Gregory E. Bartolome
Make-up Artist: Carlo Damolo
Hair Stylist: Jerwin Bastatas