You’ll Love The Story Behind This Local Shoe Brand
Debonair Manila stands as a true Filipino shoe brand not only because it is made local but also because like the average Filipino, it had to face a lot of challenges before it became what it is today.
Debonair Manila believes in thinking differently and making the most out of life. They make sure their customers get the most value for their money by producing remarkable designs and putting constant attention to detail to their products.
Debonair Shoes are proudly handmade in the Philippines. Every pair has hand-sewn unlined, full grain, nubuck, or waxy pull-up leather uppers. It also has a slip-resistant sole which is perfect for people who are always on-the-go.
A personal struggle
Debonair is the result of the hard work of entrepreneur Darrell Magsombol. He launched these shoes during his first year in college at the University of the Philippines. Having wanted to have his own business at a young age to help his family, Darrell has been working since high school to gain enough capital for his dreams. Growing up, Darrell witnessed the different cultures in the Philippines and thought that should he be successful, he personally wanted to share the Filipino story.
He ventured first into shirt printing and baller-band production among others but only found the painful experiences of failing, and failing again. He came across the book of Blake Mycoskie called Start Something that Matters and discovered a new and emerging vehicle for social impact, the social enterprise.
“Blake Mycoskie’s Start Something that Matters is the one book that changed my life,” said Darrell. “It’s not about making money but about doing something for others. In my case, I want to continue sharing the history and quality of the Marikina-made shoe.”
The local struggle
Darrell found himself in Marikina when he was just about to let go of his “personal business” idea when a certain inspiration in his life introduced him to the local shoe industry.
The sad truth, according to Darrell, was that Marikina-made shoes are export quality; foreign brands even stamp their own logos on the shoes and re-sell them. Due to this, the local shoe industry is figuratively on life-support.
Having wanted to establish something that could help his family, and share the Marikina story, Darrell took Mycoskie’s advice and ventured into the social enterprise.
Darrell shares that it was difficult at first because he only sold to family and friends, mostly by word-of-mouth. However, after getting positive feedback, Darrell stayed true to the millennial age and took advantage of the internet. From there, Debonair Manila has been selling regularly and has even expanded to being sold in stores.
Adding to his Marikina-story, Darrell has also been involved in volunteering and has worked with some non-profits before. Wanting to help the country in his little way, he decided that a percentage of his profits would be donated to charity.
“The Debonair brand centers its goals to serve and help the Filipino people. That’s why, for every order given a certain time period, Debonair gives P88 to a chosen foundation or non-profit organization,” Darrell proudly says.
What’s next for Debonair Manila? Darell says that he is launching a brand for women as well, and hopes that one day he can have a storefront.