Food, or fashion?
It’s not uncommon to be faced with choices which lead you to either what you think would be more practical, or what you’ve always dreamed of. Such was the case for Charisma Gutierrez, founder of fashion and lifestyle brand Anyo Manila.
She always had a creative side growing up, which she applied to her own unique style. She would have loved to study Fashion Design in college, but was encouraged to study Hotel and Restaurant Management instead as it was deemed the more realistic option for business opportunities. Through HRM, she learned a lot about the food industry and even ventured into setting up her own food stall in Fairview, Quezon City, where she sold wagyu cubes.
“Food wasn’t exactly my dream business, but I saw the potential in the learning from it so I decided to try it out,” Cha shared. “In the back of my mind, I was kind of hoping that it would expand into a restaurant which would house a small boutique shop where I could also design and sell clothes.”
Eventually, the food stall closed down. After taking a break to reassess her career path, she thought of setting up a new business altogether. The question was, would it be food-related, since she already had the experience… or would it be something else this time, something that was always in her heart and lit up a fire within her?
Finally, Cha decided that since she already tried out the food industry, it was time to venture into fashion. Now was as good a time as any, right?
She started the preparations in January 2020. She conceptualized the brand name, logo, and initial designs. She secured her suppliers and formed her lean team which included her marketing partner, two models, a photographer, and a two-in-one patternmaker and seamstress.
The launch of her dreams
In July 2020, Anyo Manila was launched as an online women’s clothing shop—right smack in the middle of the nationwide lockdown.
“The most difficult part of the process is selling, especially during the global pandemic,” Cha said. “There would be times when I would doubt my capabilities as a designer and wonder if I made the right decision. But each time, I would remind myself that this is what I love, and that alone should keep me motivated. I am also fortunate to have a wonderful support system in my team, family and friends.”
With hard work and perseverance, Anyo Manila has amassed over 20 thousand Instagram followers, a multitude of supporters and influencers, and a product line-up which expanded from women’s apparel to kids’ clothes and home products. Stemmed from her love for kids and her nephews and nieces, the kids’ line is purely customizable via pre-orders.
On the other hand, the home products surfaced when she created framed artworks out of her engagement bouquet comprising dried flowers. When she posted these on her personal Instagram account, her friends encouraged her to design and sell products that would beautify homes, which was more relevant now than ever. She then placed her Anyo stamp on throw pillows, table runners, coasters, tissue boxes, and more.
Would Anyo Manila also branch out to men’s clothing? Cha is still thinking about it, but she loves the idea of creating matching outfits for her, her fiancé Miguel, and their future kids to wear one day.
Inspired by its own brand story, Anyo Manila launches a campaign which urges Filipinos to dream big and work hard to achieve it, no matter how challenging it may be.
What does it mean to #DreamInStyleWithAnyo? The journey towards any dream—from the point when you decide to go for it to the point when you can finally say “I did it!”—can be long, unpredictable, and even overwhelming. But the ups and downs that you go through are stepping stones to that dream which also make you stronger, and should thus be enjoyed and savored day by day. With its new campaign, Anyo Manila can help get you into the right mindset to hustle towards your purpose, whether it’s through a stylish and comfortable outfit or a beautiful home setting.
“I believe that fashion is a representation of who you are, stripped down to your ultimate comfort level,” Cha said. “This is reflected in Anyo’s clothes—comfortable enough to wear at home, and stylish enough to get your game face on. Likewise, our home products were designed to brighten up a home and help one feel motivated. We may be living in an uncertain time with this quarantine, but it has also given birth to many new dreams, so now we say that it’s time to #DreamInStyleWithAnyo.”
Anyo Manila is a product of a big dream, struggles, grit, love, and everything in between. Its brand role now is to support Filipinos with the same ambition, offering style and comfort to their journey through its products.
“I’m thankful for Anyo Manila. If I didn’t go for it, I would always repeat ‘what if’ to myself and I would probably go crazy during this quarantine,” Cha said. “This business can get crazy hectic now but it’s the wonderful kind because at the end of the day, if you love what you’re doing, you love everything else that comes with it.”
To learn more about Anyo Manila and its products, visit www.anyomanila.com, like Anyo on Facebook, and follow @anyomanila on Instagram.