The last time My Pope spoke to Tin Tamayo, the licensed nurse and financial analyst-turned-fashion designer was ready to spring for the wedding gowns of three front-liners.
Talk about perfect timing. “While everybody was being reminded to stay safe and healthy, front-liners (health care workers, police, grocery employees, pharmacists, police, military men and women) were risking their lives for us,” says Tin, 33, in a virtual interview. “I came up with the idea of sponsoring a wedding gown, not only for our health care workers but also for people who were willingly carrying the huge responsibility of being a front-liner.” (Read: Cebu Frontliners Receive P2-M Life Insurance From SMC)
We caught up with Tin, wife to husband Jeffrey and mom to daughter Danaiah Celestine, one year later to see how her business is doing, what she plans for her shop’s fifth anniversary, and the lessons she learned from the pandemic.
How did a nurse and financial analyst become a fashion designer?
I came to this business by accident. Jeffrey and I married in December 2015 and right after my wedding, one of my suppliers posted my gown on social media and it quickly became a trend. From there, people contacted me, asking me to draw a gown for them and inquiring if I can make them a wedding gown.
In 2016, I decided to start doing it online because I didn’t have enough resources for a physical shop. Coffee shops actually saved me. I usually have face-to-face meetings with my clients after work. Gradually, people started to enjoy my works. I was amazed and overwrought!
In 2019, while on leave from work because of my sensitive pregnancy, I took the chance and studied fashion design. I officially opened my physical shop in October 2019 after I gave birth. (Read: Rajo Laurel Says Kindness Is Never Out of Fashion, and We Love Him for It!)
When the pandemic hit us, all businesses were affected, especially the wedding and events industries. I went back to my online gown business and re-opened my shop sometime in 2020.
How has your business been since?
The wedding industry is running into many post-pandemic problems, like delays in shipping fabrics and raw products; not being able to accommodate all the people who want to come into your shop; vendors no longer available for rescheduled weddings. But the biggest heartache is when couples that are booked or partially paid decide to call off their wedding. Yes! We have contracts and agreements, but for me, I always find ways to compromise and return (if not all) of what they’ve paid. (Read: An Event Photographer’s Tips to Coping With the Pandemic)
I’m thankful to God that my business is still standing strong. I even acquired seamstresses and beaders from boutiques that had closed to work for me. I must admit that I lowered the prices of my items, which means low profit for me. But I’m still grateful that my business continues to operate, touching people’s lives and leaving a mark in this industry.
You sponsored the wedding gowns of front-liners last year. How did it go?
I initially promised to sponsor one minimalist wedding, but ended up sponsoring three wedding gowns and gave wedding essentials to everyone who joined. So everyone was happy. Serein Studio provided the free photo and video coverage, Sav Testa offered free hair and makeup services, and April San Andres Baltazar gave free bridal bouquets.
I did an electronic draw to be fair with everyone and announced it in real time “live” on social media.
Registered Nurse Janeen and Robert Sumaguingsing. Janeen got a free wedding gown, free hair and makeup services, free photo and video coverage, and free bridal bouquet.
Police Captain Alejandro L. Parta Jr. (PNP Camp Crame, Quezon City). His bride, teacher Dada Aguilar Delgaco, got a free wedding gown and bridal bouquet.
Registered Nutritionist Dietitian MJ Lopez. MJ is preparing for her wedding on June 18, 2021. She’ll get a free wedding gown and wedding bouquet.
Any plans to do something similar this year?
I’m still thinking about it for the fifth anniversary of my business this December 2021. Will definitely post some updates on social media.
What has the pandemic taught you?
COVID-19 changed our lives in unimaginable and unprecedented ways. The adjustments on online and wedding businesses have been rough, but ultimately all of them help optimize our workflow and help businesses be more human-centric: be more efficient, know your customers better, care more for your customers, always listen to their needs, deal with a crisis. Hire the right people and be flexible, Take care of the team and upgrade your skills. Diversify your business and manage your expenses.
Every situation is a learning experience. We must all remember, “Change is the new Constant.”