What Matters To Me: Mikka Padua, Founder Of Seek the Uniq
In the What Matters To Me series, a Generation T honouree describes what they do, why they do it, and why it matters.
Mikka Padua has always been involved in the business of style. Now she’s taking her experience in fashion and e-commerce and seeking to fill a gap in Philippine online retail with her curated lifestyle platform, Seek the Uniq.
Here, Padua describes her work in her own words.
I was once a merchandiser for Jewelmer, then Luxasia, and was also involved with [Manila boutique] The Ramp Crossings during its heyday. After getting married and having a child, I relocated to Singapore in support of my husband’s career. With all the free time on my hands, I began writing blogs while designing bags that I sold in boutiques around the city. Upon returning to the Philippines, I joined the e-retail company Zalora. Here was where I realised how much I loved the intersection of fashion, retail and technology. Being part of its pioneering team fed my passion and taught me everything I needed to know about e-commerce. After a year I left the company and realised that there was a gap in the market—there was no curated, lifestyle-driven online destination in the country. This prompted me to start one of my own in Seek the Uniq.
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Most of what we sell is part of our private label, meaning products we’ve made ourselves. The rest we either buy or invite consigners to sell with us, as long as they keep to the aesthetic of the site. Since my background is in merchandising, I really like developing products. My favourite thing is putting together a collection. Even though we now have a dedicated team for the task, I can’t help but be involved, since it’s what I love to do.
You shouldn’t be afraid to fail. Often you will fail several times before you get to where you want to be
— Mikka Padua
Last year we launched what we call guide shops, temporary physical set-ups where customers can get a feel of our products before ordering them online.
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One big lesson for me is that you shouldn’t be afraid to fail. The fear of failing normally makes you lose momentum. Often you will fail several times before you get to where you want to be. Another lesson would be to find the right people to be part of your team. I’ve made certain mistakes with hiring in the past, with people I had high expectations of that didn’t have the kind of startup hustle I was looking for. The culture you mould in your company is what drives the business forward.
See honourees from the Retail category of the Gen.T List 2019.