Inside ‘The Good Retail’ Boutique, Iloilo—Style Maven Katrina Loring Curates The Laid Back Life
Over an hour away from Metro Manila by plane, Iloilo used to simply sound like a sleepy provincial getaway city steeped in pristine coastlines, homely heritage, good food, and old tradition. You’re not quite on point today if you presumed that was it. The burgeoning city on the isle of Panay is so much more today and is teeming with development—not just thanks to big-name developers or foreign investors. If you get to know Iloilo even more intimately these days, zooming in on certain pockets of the city will quickly enlighten you. Their blooming economy now also has the creative vision and passion of new Ilonggo blood to thank. Younger generations of professionals and entrepreneurs are out and about and making things happen.
For entrepreneurs like 28 year-old style savvy events planner, Katrina Loring, big artistic vision can begin somewhere small, sophisticated, and quaint—behind the door of The Good Retail. “Before this was such an old building—it was a water-refilling station before, that’s why it’s really tiny…” Katrina recalls. “The Good Retail is like a one-stop shop, we don’t just sell clothes. We have cosmetics, we have vinyl records—it’s like a lifestyle store. It’s for someone who likes an easy life, you’re not super fashionista but you just want some statement pieces. It reflects more of the chill life in Iloilo.”
The Good Retail is Located a stone’s throw from Panaderia de Molo along Avanceña Street. The physical store, a petite two-floor boutique by the roadside, launched last April 14 in the summer. They select the best items from local artisan accessory makers and budding designers to display and sell. “The Good Retail was our concept. Before putting up The Good Retail, we used to do pop-up events. With the weekend market [before] we actually wanted to make it feel like the Salcedo Market in Makati every Saturday or Sunday where families gather. However, because of the weather here in Iloilo—it’s always raining—it was hard on us, because we needed to put up a lot of tents. So, in order to support our tenants, those who sold goods, we thought; why not put up a small store where we can feature all those artists year-round? My partners wanted that as well. It’s something different from fast fashion, diba? That’s why we partnered up.”
“I’m an event organizer and I help with my family business also. At the same time, to keep me more occupied I decided to put up The Good Retail with my partners. I have two partners; Amanda Treñas and Quito Treñas. The Good Retail site that we have is owned by them. I believe that we also share the same principles—we want to help local designers and businessmen.” Katrina herself is famed for her exquisite taste in fashion and lifestyle accessories, and looking good while traveling. “Since The Good Retail is a curated store it’s not like anybody can just come and sell whatever they want—we’ve handpicked each item. Each of the items are locally produced.” The earrings hanging from the tree [on the shelf] are from an accessories line by Kryz Uy—they are all locally produced in Cebu. Some of the other accessories like the bags naman are handwoven from Igbaras, it’s a small town here in Iloilo.”
“For the shirts we have “adlaw-adlaw” by Margaux Blas, the designer/artist, she’s from Ajuy—small town din, but this is still part of Iloilo, on the isle of Panay.”
“[For other designers on board], we have Anj Ong for Habit— she’s a new designer here in Iloilo, pero very contemporary, she’s also selling like tops and pants there. We have Amanda Treñas for a-Basics— medyo girly naman yan—think like American apparel, ganun; A-line dresses, a-line skirts. We have Binky Pitogo for Binkydoodles, we have Mien Tagua for Always Summer, Anthology for vinyl records, and more pa.”
In terms of production turnaround, Katrina and her partners decided to give manufacturers and designers free rein in terms of what to present to them whenever they need to replenish the store inventory—a curated selection is then made from designers or artisans produce. A couple of their bestselling brands resupply more often. “For example if they’ve made 10 items we just pick out 4 to 6 from those items, we never demand. Monthly sila dapat mag-produce but we have some tenants that give us new items weekly kasi medyo mabenta sila.”
When it comes to beauty on board, The Good Retail haven’t scrimped on offering their market a brand of cosmetics and skincare with the gentlest and most effective of ingredients—haircare included. “One example is Ira Tan’s Rraw PH. Rraw is our bestselling brand at The Good Retail—laging nauubos. “It’s a locally made beauty brand, they have cosmetics and skincare. She’s from Iloilo as well. She even does her own lipsticks and the products are plant-based.”
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To The Good Retail brand itself, Katrina also lends her expertise and eye for fashion by producing a couple of her own designs. “The Good Brand is our in-house brand. We sell clothes, too—I design some pieces inspired by what our clients are missing in the store.”
“For our older clients who want something more age-appropriate The Good Brand will try to cater to that need and design something for them. I put my own designs under The Good Brand.” It’s impressive to see how people in their twenties like Katrina can collaborate and unite to deliver a quality upcoming lifestyle selection within a realm that was once thought of as remote and old-fashioned. While you’re at it, just after fitting stuff at the Good Retail you can hop over to Panaderia De Molo which is right next door for much-needed pasalubong shopping session!
Photography Julia Arenas. Additional photos via @thegoodretail