It is one thing to run a shoe business, but quite another to be favored by the country's A-listers.
These distinguished personalities have always been a symbol of power dressing, with elements of their wardrobe sparking an "I must have it" moment among their followers every now and then.
Tish.ph, a Filipino shoe brand specializing in bespoke pairs, has long become accustomed to this, with its impressive client portfolio comprising of politicians like senators Loren Legarda, Risa Hontiveros, Grace Poe, and Nancy Binay; former Vice President Leni Robredo; former Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat; and First Lady Liza Marcos.
This, in addition to actresses like Coney Reyes and Alex Gonzaga, singer Angeline Quinto, as well as TV personalities Bianca Gonzales and Karen Davila, among others.
Founded by Marikina-based entrepreneur and shoemaker Tish Sevilla, Tish.ph started as a shop producing custom-designed bags before it expanded to include bespoke shoes.
In this interview with PhilSTAR L!fe, Sevilla reveals how her passion as a "shoe person" blossomed into a thriving business that has become top-of-mind for the most influential women in the country.
How did you bring Tish.ph to life?
The whole journey already began while I was growing up, influenced by our family business. It all started with creating bags as a hobby in college which eventually led to the idea of making a profit out of it. Hence, Tish.ph was officially born in 2007.
What inspired you to add shoes to your offerings?
I have always been a shoe person and while I was into bag designing, it got me that women love matching their bags with their shoes. I did a trial of how my constant clients would respond to this addition and in 2013, I launched my first shoe line.
How do you design and customize your shoes?
I am confident to say that each design is made with utmost intricacy to meet every client’s preference and of course comfort. As a designer myself, I spend time sketching and coming up with a layout. Production comes next and finally, publishing on our official social media platform.
Once a customer places an inquiry that’s when customization takes place as we will follow their preference such as heel height, color, and anything that can be personalized. My inspiration is just my day-to-day activities and, of course, each piece has a hint of my personality. I love anything classic.
Depending on the availability of materials, a pair may take two to three days to complete. The lead time may vary depending on the design as well. Each pair ranges from P7,000 and up.
Can you tell us how you forayed into the world of politicians and celebrities?
Senator Loren Legarda has been a huge influence to me, not to mention she has always been a role model that I look up to. So when I finally met her AND she first wore my creation during the State of the Nation Address in 2015, introduced me later to her colleagues, and would also wear my shoes in other public appearances, that caught people’s attention.
Senator Loren Legarda is one perfect model, I must say! Since then, inquiries and orders keep coming! Even until now, my gratitude to her is beyond words!
Apart from local politicians and celebrities, have you also designed items for foreign personalities?
I have been given the opportunity to design shoes for American author and Food Network host Ina Garten. She is another woman I have always admired so I took the chance of reaching out to her executive assistant with no expectations in return. Lo and behold, they got back to me and that's how it all started!
How do you take care of your clients?
I look at my clients as partners and not just customers. Most of them I have built a personal connection with, therefore we get to share ideas and feedback and support each other's endeavors.
What makes your brand stand out from other local custom shoe designers?
I have to say the intricacy of each pair and the cushion that has been a popular trademark of Tish's shoes. I am very particular with the materials I use. The selection of the perfect material for each shoe design is the most tedious if I must say. Can’t settle with substandard quality.
It has always been my goal to make each client feel their individuality every time they wear my creations. Comfort is our signature therefore it has always been our top priority.
Where do you see Tish.ph five years from now?
Each day, my team and I strive to bring the Tish brand as a household name traveling around the globe, creating designs that will represent each one's personality and style. Maybe not five years from now, but definitely in the near future.