Mikka Padua Commander-in-Chic
Jose Paolo S. dela Cruz (The Philippine Star) - June 5, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  Anything isn’t always everything. And that is exactly why Mikka Padua chose to “Seek the Uniq.”

Mikka used to revel in the world of merchandising, working for brands like Jewelmer, Luxasia and The Ramp. But things changed in 2012, when she started to realize that online shopping was the new frontier.

Then newly married, Mikka had moved to Singapore to raise a family with her husband Mitch Padua. They were blessed with a daughter, Mischka (now seven years old). But while bliss reigned in her home, she also knew that there was a world waiting for her to be explored.

In 2012, she was hired as a senior buyer for online shopping site, Zalora. Prior to this, Mikka recalls that online shopping, especially in the Philippines, had no formality to it. “There was Multiply, meet-ups, those kinds of things. That was online shopping back then,” she recalls. Still, the volume of business she observed while in Zalora also made her realize one thing. “The future of retail is really online,” she says.

When the Paduas found themselves back in Manila a year later, Mikka felt the itch to start something new. With her toddler quickly growing up, she was ready to continue working. She found herself setting up Seek the Uniq, which offers a curated collection of “global finds,” banking more on style and uniqueness, and not necessarily volume. “There’s a booming market for online shopping, but I also noticed that there’s a market for a more curated online site,” shares Mikka, the “Commander-in-Chic,” who, at this point, has found not just a business but also her passion.

The exponential growth of the site was both a blessing and a burden. Blessing since they started to carry more items (bags, clothing, beauty and bath products, accessories and even home décor). Burden, since the demand grew just as fast. “At one point, we couldn’t keep up with the demands and we were known as the sold-out store,” Mikka admits.

One at a time, she fixed the loose ends. With the help of a lean but mean team of 10, she strengthened her business. “We do the merchandising, our own shoots, answer hundreds of e-mails a day, but at the same time, I get to stay at home,” she shares. It’s a work-life integration that helps her not just excel in business, but in her family life, too. Working from home also makes her husband more accessible. A digital professional, Mitch is Mikka’s technical superhero.

Today, Seek the Uniq has also grown into a 60-percent private label that manufactures its own products (sometimes by collaborating with other fashion designers and influencers). Even with the success she enjoys, Mikka remembers to take the extra mile for her customers, sometimes going as far as to subsidize the shipping cost, if only to encourage them to shop online.

When the going gets tough and her creative juices are low, Mikka travels the world. She prefers the ruckus of local markets such as those in Marrakesh, Jaipur and Mexico, to the glossy charm of urban cities. These roads less traveled bring her closer to the unique finds that her online customers keep coming back for. And that is how this Commander-in-Chic brings everyone closer to the best of the world, with a click of the button.

 

Photography by MAU AGUASIN • Creative direction by LUIS ESPIRITU JR. • Makeup by BABA PARMA • Hairstyling by RONNIE TUMAMAK for Creations by Lourd Ramos • Styling by

BANG MARTINEZ • Jewelry by MILADAY JEWELS • Blue dress with crystal detail by AZUCAR; light pink tulle dress by JOEY SAMSON and white pants by ZARA

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