Manile Sole proudly offers 100% Pinoy-made shoes out of canvas and recycled tires, and is made up of Jaime Inocian, 29; Rex Somera, 27; Jing Esguerra, 27; and Noel Lanto (absent for this interview), 28.
Juice: So how did you come up with the concept for Manila Sole?
Jaime: What happened was, when Rex and I started getting into the shoe business, we started off with selling espadrilles, but at the time the market was over-saturated, so we didn’t really sell off properly. Before we went to our next bazaar, we decided to go to Marikina and look around for different suppliers to get the shoes and designs that we wanted. Thankfully, on our last leg, the last supplier on our list gave us the option for recycled tire soles. When we found that, we thought it was the greatest idea. It was something that one, we could give off as a unique selling point for the business; and two, we really wanted something that would, not to sound corny or anything, make a difference. I mean yeah, you know, we’ll make a little money off of this but at least we’ll save a few tires from getting to the landfills.
Juice: Have you always had this eco-consciousness?
Jaime: Yes. We really wanted something that would, as much as possible, keep from contributing to all the waste out there. It was a blessing in disguise - we really couldn’t pass it up. Finding our supplier was our jumping off point. From there we sat down, got pegs for our shoes. I mean, none of us are really shoe designers. We’re just regular guys looking for good pairs of shoes for reasonable prices. We didn’t really plan any of the designs, everything just kind of came to us once we knew we had the supply and the materials. From the start though we knew we wanted the brand to have something to do with our country. There’s been this steadily growing influx of Pinoy pride with Pacquiao, as well as other athletes that we can definitely be proud of. We didn’t want to just come along for the ride; we really wanted to contribute.
Speaking of Pinoy pride - why don't you visit Malacanang Palace and learn more about this historic, regal landmark?
Juice: When did you launch Manila Sole?
Jaime: September of 2011
Juice: Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Jaime: If you have an idea and you want to take the risk, go for it. It’s hard, especially when you’re using your own money, but to see it take off and get attention, like from you guys at Juice and ANC and friends of friends, it’s definitely worth all the headaches and problems.
Jing: Don’t be scared, just do what you want to do. We only have one life.
Rex: Just work hard and believe in the product or service that you’re offering. Also, as much as possible, try to come up with a product or a service that’s different from what the market already provides. Lastly, try to come up with something that’s good for the environment. There are so many products and services that are good for us, as humans, but aren’t for the environment. Just really believe and have faith. Just pray.
If I was a kind of soup, I would be squash, just because it’s my favorite.
I have a copy of your high school year book. WHY!? Are you stalking me?
Corruption is the absolute worst thing in the world.
I like my coffee with a lot of milk.
I like my women... I like my woman, just the one.
I like my shoes, period. I do like my shoes.
This country needs discipline.
Reduce, reuse, recycle and buy our shoes please.
My superhero alter-ego is Batman.
I shouldn’t have eaten all that food.
Ten years from now, I would want to be a millionaire off of this brand.
When I was in college, I should have studied more.
I will always, always love my mum.
The most important thing I’ve learned is that I should have stayed in school.
The best thing about being a Filipino and living in the Philippines is all of the raw talent that we have.
You SHOULD go into business with your friend/s because it’s more fun.
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If I was a kind of soup, I would be tomato.
I have a copy of your high school year book. Huh? Really??
The best accessories are shoes and earrings.
Gossip is the absolute worst thing in the world.
How to save the world in three easy steps: dance! Enjoy the finer things in life and don’t dwell on the negative things. Consider other people’s perspective before deciding.
I like my coffee with lots of cream.
I like my men smart.
I like my shoes bright.
My superhero alter-ego is Xena, the warrior princess.
My guilty pleasure is chocolates!
I shouldn’t have said no.
Ten years from now, I will be a diva.
When I was in college, I should have managed my time better.
The most important thing I’ve learned is that everything happens for a reason.
The best thing about being a Filipino and living in the Philippines is we are creative people, we just need more discipline and more opportunities.
You SHOULD go into business with your friend/s because it’s super fun.
If I was a kind of soup, I would be Campbell’s. Oh, that’s a brand. Oh no. Did you make this questionnaire? I hate you. Um. French onion soup.
I have a copy of your high school year book. ...So, what do you think?
The best accessory is shoes!
Pollution is the absolute worst thing in the world.
How to save the world in three easy steps: Have a traumatic childhood experience, get bitten by a radioactive spider, and hope that you’re born on planet Krypton. Or just get exposed to gamma radiation.
I like my coffee black.
I like my women um, nice.
Reduce, reuse, recycle and regenerate.
My superhero alter-ego is Wolverine.
My guilty pleasure is gamma radiation! And board games.
I shouldn’t have done this interview.
Ten years from now, I will be awesome-er.
When I was in college, I should have partied harder.
I will always, always *singing* love you.
The most important thing I’ve learned is that faith is important.
The best thing about being a Filipino and living in the Philippines is that we’re malambing.