Ms. Yolanda Pajaro never imagined that she would one day own a high-end shoe boutique named Via Venetto. A communications teacher with three growing children, she realized that her family could not survive on her teacher’s salary alone. In an effort to augment her income, she started selling Avon products. Her success in this venture made her realize that she may be good at selling.
With no business background, Ms. Pajaro turned to the path her mother-in-law had taken: the shoe business. In the 1970s, Marikina was already known as the hub of the Philippine shoe industry. Ms. Pajaro observed that Marikina shoemakers focused solely on the design. However, she believed that shoes could look good yet be comfortable and durable. With the first Via Venetto store in Greenhills, she decided to use imported heel tips as her initial innovation. To guarantee the high quality of their products, Via Venetto also offered to mend customers’ shoes free of charge if and when they needed repair from wear and tear.
The Via Venetto brand is associated with design innovation and value-for-money shoes. Research and development has always been a vital process in the making of Via Venetto shoes. Ms. Pajaro and her shoemakers regularly visit the major shoe fairs in Italy and Germany to observe the latest trends and technologies. She considers her products world-class in terms of craftsmanship, and her shoemakers have contributed immensely to this success.
The company exports rice to Switzerland and Dubai, and is considering exporting to Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Africa. Plans are underway to cater to the fancy rice needs of hotels and fine dining restaurants. Mr. Lim would also like to extend the company’s reach to poverty-stricken and war-torn Mindanao.
Ms. Pajaro is committed not only to the survival, but also to the advancement of the Marikina shoe industry. She has resisted the path of least resistance that many have taken: to import cheap shoes to the detriment of the industry and the economy. Her personal goal is to instill in her children the idea that it is their responsibility to prove to the world that the Philippines can make better shoes than any other country.