Year-End Thoughts from VINTA Founder Caroline Mangosing 2021
I feel like I say this every year, but how is this year over already?!
While 2020 was a great year of LEARNING, this was a year of putting it all into ACTION. There is always learning in real time, but the action is like the harvest… after the seed of learning. We came across this random video clip of Pharrell Wiliams on Facebook who was paraphrasing from someone else. In it he talks about this:
“People think the easiest part of a harvest is the harvest. The easiest part is the seed, when you ask the universe for something… the hardest part is when that harvest comes in.”
We’ve had big harvests this year! And we are putting in the work.
In 2021, we experienced the best year in sales, with a 151% increase from 2020! Our customer and follower base continues to grow, and it’s all thanks to you spreading the word about our little brand, posting about us and sharing just how damn good you look and FEEL in our VINTA Gallery pieces. We also got 5,600 new organic Instagram followers this year. We are feeling the love y’all. Thank you!!
With that support, we were able to hire new artisans to be part of the atelier team in Parañaque (from 8 members to 15), additional part-time cutter (cuts all the fabric in the shape of the pattern, by hand, mind you — in all the different sizes), additional embroiderer, a couple of new sewers, an additional finisher (hand sews on the buttons, hand sews hems, clips excess thread, ironing before packing, etc).
This year we also saw Manang Estelita’s exit into retirement *cry emoji*. Manang Lita was our founding Master Couturier, and she was absolutely integral to establishing the brand quality and craft. (Read my post about her here.)
As I mentioned in my IG post, she had been trying to retire early in the year, but I kept asking her to hold off so we could make sure that we were able to pass on and sustain the level of craftsmanship she brought to our brand. She acquiesced and stayed on board, training and mentoring until September 2021. We had the good fortune of finding two new talents to replace Manang Lita: Wilma and Irish. Irish is our new Master Couturier, who was brought in by her former colleague, Wilma, who started at VINTA in June of this year. Wilma supports Irish in pattern making and prototyping. I am very excited to develop new designs with these two talents, from around the other side of the world this year!
Another absolutely integral new role we created and filled this year is a dedicated Quality Control Manager with Mercy. Mercy has already catalyzed new construction improvements to our butterfly sleeve, among other new quality improvements in our garments.
Meanwhile here in Toronto, Mica Garcia recently joined the team as our Shipping and Production Manager. More than making your unboxing experience optimal, she also ensures that custom and special orders get to you right on time.
We launched new explosions of creativity, meaning and depth in these truly unique embroidery designs by our in-house artist, Alaga At Sining: the Sandata embroidery and Pamanang Paniniwala embroidery designs on our new barongs.
We also launched our first Filipiniana Wedding Collection that includes made-to-measure designs and exclusive in-house designed heritage fine jewelry, handcrafted by artisans in Ilocos Sur. The first run of the Banaba Creolla earrings and the Layered Teardrop Earlace sold out in hours, which was amazing!
As part of our Holiday Collection we introduced our first ever in-house print design, Sumpa Kita, conceptualized and digitally hand painted by Alaga At Sining. The Sumpa Kita Panuelo design was quite a hot seller and sold out within 48 hours. It is now in the process of getting restocked — pre-order here. For this run, $30 of every purchase will go towards Siargao relief efforts from the recent devastation of Typhoon Odette.
2021 was yet another crazy year, filled with similar ups and downs as 2020 — just this time we were much more prepared for it and things got easier. As the pandemic slowly eased mid-year, we had a nice window of time where red carpet events, galas and even finale watch parties (Survivor!) made their comeback — and VINTA was there for it.
LA-based musician AJ Rafael and Forbes 30 Under 30 Alyssa Navarro at the Unforgettable Gala - 19th Annual Asian American Awards
Ella Jay Basco at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Erika Cas at the Survivor Season 41 Finale viewing party
We are forever grateful for the community we have gathered around VINTA Gallery. We may be a “brand” but really, we are a community primarily made up of the Filipinx diaspora and our allies celebrating our culture and our gorgeousness and sharing it with the world. Despite the complexities of life these days, the contradictions we have to balance, we try to focus on being not driven by profit, but by sustainability, and trying our best to make sure everyone involved gets to contribute in an ethical and positive way. And let's not forget trying to stay positive and seeing the light despite the dark days.