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Instagram stores are all the rage in this day and age wherein social media platforms have greatly influenced the way we shop these days. However, the charm of a brick-and-mortar store is still unbeatable as face-to-face customer service is still an incomparable retail therapy.
This is something that Jazmine de Luna, a 24-year-old founder of Society Eight Concept Stores, perfectly understands.
“Shopping on Instagram is really fun and convenient, but Filpinos are generally still very into physical shopping. That’s why I founded Society Eight Concept Stores in September last year,” Jazmine shared. “Society Eight Concept Stores as a brand is a multi-brand lifestyle concept store that gives micro-entrepreneurs like Instagram store owners a lucrative physical retail channel. It’s a collaboration of online sellers and local brands coming together to give a unique shopping experience to customers. We are housing more than 300 brands, most of which are quite known on Instagram and e-commerce. ”
“Through our business concept, we gather some of the most amazing Instagram brands online in our line physical store, and that gives a sense of excitement to shoppers because those Instagram products that they’ve always loved online, they get to see in person first before purchasing. They can touch and see the products and have face-to-face interactions with the sellers. This just proves that brick and mortar shopping experience is still favorable for Filipino consumers.”
A multilevel marketer for 10 years now, a 14-year-old Jazmine de Luna first discovered the power of face-to-face sales transactions when she would go house-to-house to sell coffee and soaps to strangers back in the day. “Sales is in itself creativity. I believe I’ve always had the calling for sales. However, I first fell in love with micro-entrepreneurship in high school when I had my first business. I’d wake up at 3:00 in the morning to make chocolate lollipops so I can sell them at school during lunch time.”
“My exposure to multilevel marketing since I was 14 years old has all the more opened my eyes to the beauty of growing a small business. I fell in love with micro-entrepreneurship more and I feel like I’ve brought that same passion when I thought of offering a physical store to Instagram store owners through our concept store.”
Society Eight Concept Stores opened its first branch in España, Manila on Sept. 1, 2017. Located at the U-belt just in front of the University of Sto. Tomas, Society Eight Concept Stores first catered to college students who were looking to go shopping during their downtime. Soon after, Society Eight had its second branch in front of De La Salle University and near St. Scholastica and College of Benilde, wherein more college students got to experience an unparalleled shopping experience wherein they get to shop unusual offerings that they can usually only find online.
“Since we are known for housing Instagram brands and startup brands, people know that we are not a typical retail store, and so they expect to shop amazing finds in our branches. When Luna Clay Blush first hit the online customers by storm, our clientele knew that they could buy Luna Clay Blush from our stores as we already had it right away. The same thing happened when Fenty by Rihanna became so famous online, those makeup products can only be bought in our stores when they were not at all available in the Philippine market.“
Society Eight Concept Stores have housed extraordinary women’s and men’s apparel brands, original USA and Korean beauty brands that are not yet available in the country, novelty brands, crafts as well as local home, bag and shoe brands.
“I believe that the main appeal of Society Eight is that the unique finds that you can only shop online or on Instagram, you can actually shop personally and physically in our branches, “ de Luna said. “My method is called group branding effort, as we nurture the collaboration of brands in our store, rather than competition. For example, if one Instagram brand is already so famous online that its clientele tends to check out its physical store in one of our brands, the other Instagram brand right beside gets the same attention, too. And I believe that has worked for us in terms of uplifting the micro-entrepreneurs.”
Some of the 300 plus brands include Alluxxe Beauty Studio MNL which is famous for American cosmetics brands, Noona’s Shoppe for Korean beauty products, Eika PH swimwear brand, UpperMNL socks supplies and Trilogy Merch for Rastaclats.
True enough, the attractive business model created by de Luna has drawn in millennials and shopping addicts from all ages, as well as has empowered a lot of small entrepreneurs. Today, Society Eight Concept Stores can be experienced in five of its branches in five different locations. Aside from its student-friendly stores in España and on Taft Avenue in Manila, Society Eight has a store in Batangas City called The Style District, as well as one called The Mainstreet Naga at the Robinsons Place Naga, and a store at Ayala Malls Cloverleaf in Balintawak, which caters to the CaMaNaVa market. The concept tore brand is set to open as well in Pampanga, Laguna and Cebu by 2019.
“We have revolutionized the typical notion of physical store shopping for all Filipinos as we are making business lucrative for store partners. We believe that we are here to continuously enliven the brick and mortar store scene for Filipinos as we empower the online stores,” Jazmine said. “I believe that Society Eight gives amazing opportunities to budding Filipino entrepreneurs, because Filipinos can be very good entrepreneurs. Actually, our tagline is ‘Together, let’s tell your brand’s story’. Aside from supporting local products, our main mission is to support Filipino micro-entrepreneurs through our physical stores. Our concept is also poised to encourage Filipinos both young and old to start their own brand and do something that they truly love and enjoy.”
As a millennial entrepreneur herself, Jazmine shared that having the energy of a millennial and the discipline of a seasoned Gen X businessman has worked out well for her. “Have the vision and enthusiasm of a millennial and the discipline, wisdom and focus of a seasoned Gen X entrepreneur. Fail fast and fail strong, and have the guts to pursue the extraordinary and never quit.”
This millennial entrepreneur surely knows what she is sharing. Currently owning five branches of store in just 12 months of operations, Jazmine is still unstoppable. “We’ll be opening four branches more in the first quarter of 2019 in Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Galleria San Pedro, SM Manila and SM Fairview.”