The legacy of vision

Pinky S. Icamen (The Philippine Star) - September 5, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Mike Concepcion has a vision. It is a gift that nurtures his passion to discover new ideas that involve heritage and craftsmanship. And with anything he does, he likes to do it well.

Founder and co-owner of Ronnie & Joe lifestyle eyewear store, Mike says it was his father John Concepcion, managing director and CEO of Unilever RFM Ice Cream Inc., who sparked his entrepreneurial interest. Mike is the grandson of industry icon and RFM chairman Jose Concepcion Jr.

“My dad inspired the entrepreneurial spirit in me. He always pushed me to do my best. He has the passion, focus and discipline in all aspects of his life. With his ventures, I don’t think I’d ever live up to what he has achieved. I always see him as a great mentor. He recognizes a good idea when he sees it,” shares 24-year-old Mike, who graduated with a Marketing degree at the De La Salle University.

Mike shares that opening Ronnie & Joe was based on his love for retail. It is important for him that the store creates a retail experience different from what was already being catered to at the time of the store’s conceptualization. Together with his business partner, they recognized the need for a kind of retail environment that offers a curated and personal experience.

“Our store is not a new concept anywhere else in the world. But in the Philippines, it is fairly new. We were motivated by the space we saw, or the lack thereof. There are several eyewear stores in the malls but we wanted to provide something a little different, little less clinical and a little more skewed towards lifestyle and fashion,” says Mike, who reveals that the name of the store is an homage to his grandfather Joe and twin brother Ronnie. His grandfathers, who are industry icons, are known to don bold and iconic eyewear designs. Ronnie & Joe “aims to embody the spirit and philosophy of not just those twins but also of the time to which they belonged, to celebrate the sensibilities of an era that defined these men.”

Inspired by the gift of their vision, Mike shares that it’s important to always associate some sort of cause to anything he does. “When I was growing up, my dad and I were closely tied up with Gawad Kalinga. We set up a couple of villages. My dad, at one point, spearheaded the Bayanihan Program, which is sort of a sister advocacy of Gawad Kalinga that supports self-sustaining farms. Right now, I am looking into doing something that has to do with the eyes. Possibly providing eye care to a community, like giving out free glasses and have doctors go to the people in the community.”

Mike surrounds himself with people with like-minded interests. He says he forges friendships, which he describes as very collaborative. “We help each other. We understand that while we’re all in different industries, we all have similar visions and we want to help each other get there. We all see ourselves doing the same interests. I think it’s very important to surround yourself with people who are very supportive.” These are the same characteristics that Mike likes about having the second branch of Ronnie & Joe at the Power Plant Mall. “In Rockwell, we feel like we’re joining a community. When you enter this area, you know like-minded individuals surround you. These individuals know how to appreciate certain things and also are particular with the experience they want in a store,” he says.

With a clear vision of what’s ahead for his young retail brand, Mike says, “Anything we do, we like to specialize in. I think that’s the core competency of the company. In a couple of years, we hope to bring more brands and expand what we have and hope for it to be a successful retail company.”

Photography by RITA MARIE • Creative direction and overall styling by Luis Espiritu Jr. • Grooming by BABA PARMA • Associate styling by TARA SUBALDO

Shot on location at RONNIE & JOE, POWER PLANT MALL


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