Mom of two, and the woman behind fashion powerhouse Plains & Prints, shares how she pivoted during the pandemic in business and at home
To say that Roxanne Ang-Farillas worked her way up is an absolute understatement. Celebrating 26 years in retail, with more than 80 stores across the country, and about 800 individuals working for her company, is an achievement that is nothing short of extraordinary. Here’s what else we found out…
Far from Plains & Prints’ humble beginnings with a stall in Greenhills, or Roxanne selling clothes out of a duffel bag during her days in La Salle, is a well established brand, seated at the top tier of Philippine fashion. Roxanne has definitely paid her dues—and she did all of that while raising two kids.
She envisioned herself opening a retail boutique as a young girl and began selling clothes to classmates when she was in college. Despite the lack of experience or education in fashion, this finance graduate took the time to pour herself into her passion and was eventually offered a stall. As fate would have it, her plans happened much earlier than expected, and in a few years would catapult to become a national success.
Keeping it in the family
Roxanne credits a huge part of her success to her husband, Erickson, who also happens to be co-founder of their company, saying, “Successful women have good men behind them.” They work together as a team, in business and in life, and over time have learned how to manage a good work-life balance.
As much as they try not to bring work home, business (in general) is a topic they often talk about, even with their kids. Nothing like first hand experience, they’re more than happy to share what they know with their children. “We can leave them money and give them a good education, but there are some things in business that they won’t learn in school, that we can only teach from our experience. What’s important to us is teaching them the fundamentals and business ethics. One of the biggest things we can give our kids is the wisdom that we have.”
Roxanne gave birth to her eldest when Plains & Prints started getting really busy, but she began to seamlessly integrate motherhood with her work life. A few years later, she gave birth to her second child, amidst their first major campaign featuring Gretchen Barreto, and found herself struggling with postpartum depression. Thankfully, it didn’t last that long, and despite some traumatic experiences, she grew into her role as a mother (running a major company) and came out stronger than ever.
Adapting in the face of uncertainty
The economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic spared no one, as businesses scrambled to adjust to unprecedented circumstances. They stayed flexible by adapting to new consumer demands and establishing a new work (from home) and life balance.
“We had to make essential pieces for us to remain relevant. Like for example, we made matching masks for our dresses in some of our collections.” Roxanne continues, “My team and I were very new to this [work from home] setup. We were very used to having social interactions, but we just had to make it work. It wasn’t just with the accessibility of information, but the struggle to initially make the home into a workplace. Working remotely, and working from home has its pros and cons. Surprisingly, WFH also felt busier as compared to working in the office.”
Plains & Prints recently launched protective wear and masks, as well as an activewear line called Our Recess. Roxanne and Erickson also own several restaurants such as Ramen Nagi, Fat Fook, Propaganda Bistro, Tendon Akimitsu, Hakata Tonichi, and Wonderbowl. An impressive collection under their belt, it’s no doubt that they have their work cut out for them.
Aside from managing the businesses, a top priority they immediately implemented at home was to sustain a healthy lifestyle. They clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly, and have increased their exercise and intake of healthy food. Roxanne explains, “Our food choices became healthier because we had to have a strong immune system especially during the pandemic. And given the quarantine measures, we decided to convert our living room to a mini gym.”
Desire to be inspired
Any working mother will tell you that the biggest challenge they face is finding that balance. Roxanne is no different, as she tells us that she has also struggled with this, as well as achieving a healthy mindset. Picking her brain, she adds, “I would say that communication has always been the key. It is important to constantly check on each other, especially during these challenging and stressful times.”
“Being a working mom is never easy. The most important thing, and the hardest thing to achieve is to be an inspiration. At this point in my life, I really want to inspire people. I want to inspire my team. I want them to look at me and be inspired, so when they work, it’s not because they have to go to work. They want to go to work because they are inspired, and they are happy with their work.”
With so many parents trying to pivot during this crisis, Roxanne shares invaluable wisdom. “You need passion and hard work. Passion is your drive to succeed, while hard work is what you will need because there are no shortcuts in success, and because running a business will always have its ups and downs.”
And if you ask her what inspires her to succeed? Well, that’s a no-brainer. “My family at home and at work is the source of my inspiration. Their dedication and passion gives me the drive to be more committed and explore more opportunities. Because with their support, I know we can get through any challenge that will come along our way.”