In 2012, then 27-year-old Annick Marasigan was in Sydney, Australia, taking up Masters in Retail Management. She had been working as a brand manager in Manila, and had always been into selling since she was in college.
That trip sparked inspiration in Annick, who had always wanted to start a business that involved her love of traveling. The lack of good quality organizers and travel wallets challenged her entrepreneurial skills to create such.
In November that year, she started a luxury travel accessories brand called Anma Lifestyle (“Anma” comes from the first syllables of her first and last names).
“This brand was born out of a need for me to organize my travel documents,” says Annick. This eventually led to a collection of travel wallets, jewelry rolls, and tote bags.
“The products are all inspired by my stay in Canada, Korea, and Australia,” adds Annick, who is the daughter of a diplomat. “I love all aspects of traveling except the packing and unpacking part, so my brand is definitely geared towards making that part easier.”
Annick returned to Manila after her studies in Australia, and she also went back to working a day job. This affected the growth of Anma Lifestyle. “The progression was slower, as with any start-up business versus a corporate job. Effort fuels the expansion,” she says. She worked on her brand after work and on weekends.
“I couldn’t be as hands on. I couldn’t enter into as many collaborations or be visible in many stores,” Annick recalls. Thus, she focused on growing her online business, joined two multi-brand stores, and joined bazaars occasionally.
Today, Annick balances a job as director of marketing, PR, and events at lifestyle start-up GoodVibes.ph, and is more hands-on with Anma.
Anma Lifestyle products are manufactured in Marikina, Annick’s hometown. She is proud to say her brand is homegrown. The leather comes from calf skin, and goat skin is used occasionally.
We ask Annick if the leather is a product of fair trade, to which she quickly replies, “Yes.”
In 2012, Anma’s products ranged from leatherette travel wallets, leatherette jewelry rolls, leatherette passport holders, and leather travel wallets.
In 2013, the companyy started building its add-ons for the travel wallet. In 2014, Anma introduced its best-selling charger rolls and first leather tote, the Hamptons.
This 2015, another leather tote and travel clutch were released which serve as competitively priced alternative to the brand’s travel wallet. Every quarter, new designs and products are also released. Anma’s products range from P700 to P1,900 depending on the material.
“We have offerings that are more affordable, such as the add-ons in leatherette which start at P250, and our sets and clutches which start at P700,” says Annick.
Anma offers monogramming services to come up with a specialized product unique to every customer. She admits it took her supplier some time to get used to doing everything by hand.
For stylish travelers, young and old
Anma is for all travelers who want to travel with ease. “We’ve had customers who are from high school going on their first trip abroad to families looking to organize all their documents,” Annick says.
“We’ve had young couples on their honeymoon with ‘his’ and ‘hers’ wallets, and fashionistas who want a monogrammed wallet for each of their trips,” she adds.
In an industry of artisanal start-ups, Annick says that what sets Anma apart is its competitive pricing. “Quality is not sacrificed, and the choice between leather and leatherette makes it easy on the budget,” she says. “Monogramming also makes it unique, perfect to give as a gift.”
Best of all, Anma is handmade. Every item will be different from the other. It is not mass produced.
We ask Annick about Grandee by Anma, which we spotted at the last Global Pinoy Bazaar in Rockwell Tent. “It’s the counterpart for men of Anma Lifestyle,” she says. “The attention to detail is unique, and it’s available only in leather.
Anma Lifestyle is just one of many Filipino artisanal brands you will see in bazaars happening this Holiday season. We ask Annick what makes such a business exciting, and she is quick to answer, “Diversity and knowing that you are helping out your countrymen.
“We have great materials in our country, and Filipinos always come up with great business ideas,” she says. “Supporting local brands means you’re helping shape our nation’s progress.”
For more information on Anma Lifestyle, visit www.shopanmalifestyle.com. Find them on Facebook (Anma Lifestyle) and Instagram (@anmalifestyle).