The Christmas countdown is well on its way and for some, Christmas shopping has already begun in earnest.  But for those of you who are still looking for more gift selections, you may want to drop by the newest kid on the block of El Grande that just opened last month, Sukhi Gifts & Treasures.

Owner and proprietress, Sheryl B. Manlulu used to work in a trading company and it took awhile for her to finally find her niche in the trading industry.  An entrepreneur at heart, she loved purchasing and selling and she gets to do just that in her her store and business, where she has put her knowledge and experience in trading to good use.

Sukhi Gifts & Treasures is a retail store offering giftable items, stationery products, bags, organizers and other "must haves" that are both fancy and functional. "My idea is to have a store that will cater to middle and upper class consumers (including students) who look beyond the crowded retail mall for a special shopping experience. In addition to offering a wide array of unique quality products, the customers will enjoy friendly customer service in a convenient and uncongested location," she says.

A resident of Alabang, Sheryl chose BF Homes for her shop because of its diversity.  "It is not only a residential area but a commercial area as well. I can only start small, but I want to have enough exposure to keep my business thriving. And I think BF Homes is the best choice of place for me to begin," she adds.

A traveler along El Grande going towards Lopez gate will not miss the large and bold sign outside her store.  Aside from an attractive logo, Sukhi Gifts & Treasure also has an interesting story behind its name.  Sheryl's first choice was the obvious "suki", the Tagalog word for a loyal and frequent customer; she thought there was a nice catch to it.

"My second choice for a name was "happy" in a foreign language, since I wanted to create an idea of "fun" in my store and in the items that I will sell. When I tried to search for different translations, I came across the word "sukhi" which is the Hindi word for ''happy.'  I instantly liked it. It's like playing with the word "suki" by adding an "h" to it, and at the same time it was describing my store and my personal feelings for this business," she reveals.  Some may call that a sign of good fortune.

She is off to an auspicious start, already attracting corporate clients and other buyers.  She can customize a product and help conceptualize products that will fit her client's need and budget.  She also offers promotional and party giveaways.  For her opening promo, she is giving away cute character pens for every P250 worth of purchase.

Looking back on her beginnings, she fondly recalls her business mentors with gratitude.  "I always look up to my uncle and aunt (Tom and Mike Onate) when it comes to having a business. I saw how they started and I want to be like them. And it was they who encouraged me to start my own business since I already have the knowledge and the experience. I will always be grateful for all their help."  And if your aim is making people happy, how can you go wrong?

Sukhi Gifts & Treasures

"Fashion fades.  Only style remains," so says Coco Chanel, the eternal diva of style.  And when one who has faded from the fashion scene to raise a family decides to come back to embrace its lifestyle once more, a thriving business is born.

Sheila Amora, mother of two, former commercial model, and now savvy businesswoman and proprietress, has gone back to the fashion world she left behind and put up Funky Plum, a vintage clothes shop that has caught the avid attention of many women--from 16 to the ever-young -ty somethings--since she opened her doors just over a month ago.

With a supportive hubby and two pretty daughters behind her in her new venture (who help mommy in the store), she attends to her clients, personally looking after them.  It's all part of her vision "to bring their zest for fashion back to life by introducing them to their own individual style. It's all about creating their own set of fashion rules to tailor-fit their  lifestyle."

"Funky plum," she explains, "would like to offer every woman a chance at bringing out her best through the services we offer:  One-on-one styling services; one-on-one make-over sessions (where we teach you basic make-up tricks); wardrobe consultancy services (we look through what you already have in your closet and help you mix and match).  We can even re-work, re-invent, and alter pieces you already have to make them look more pleasing to you.  We also custom-make clothes from casual wear to formal wear."

Fashion, she notes, is constantly evolving, which has its pitfalls.  "Many women," she observes, "get lost in translation due to the various trends and fashion rules they feel they need to keep up with. Due to all the pressure brought about by the cruel rules of fashion matched with the daily pressures of their everyday lives, they choose to let go."

Uh, I can definitely relate to that.  Some days, I wake up feeling like a queen with nary a care in the world and other days I wake up feeling like the world has descended upon my shoulders. But didn't I just read in the news the long-overdue admission that women can't have it all?  It's a truism that Sheila understands and infuses into her business philosophy.

"Our thrust is to make women of any age, shape, or size feel wonderful about themselves when they wear our clothes and not be limited by the dictates of fashion. Every woman has the potential of looking their best without having to follow every latest trend. A woman just has to know what looks good on her and work from there," offers Sheila who's own style looks enviably effortless, making her her own best advertisement. 

I only have to look at her to see that she lives and breathes the essence of Funky Plum, an individualistic style that highlights  each woman's personality and brings out her hidden fashion sense.

Where does she get her clothes?  "We source designer mod vintage clothes for everyday wear," she answers.  "We make sure that every vintage piece we have is stylish, of very good quality, and suitable for women of all ages.  We have one-of-a-kind pieces that range from extra small to extra large from casual wear to formal wear so that we make sure that we can cater to the needs of any woman of any shape and size.

"All our pieces are dry-cleaned and/or hand-washed, depending on the fabric; we ensure that all our items are fresh-smelling and ready to use. We also offer alteration services on our one-of-a-kind pieces." 

Funky Plum also designs its own casual to formal wear and has its own line of vintage-inspired pieces.  Its own designs extend to one-of-a-kind accessories to match every outfit in the store.  To finish off the look, it additionally sells pre-loved designer bags and shoes.

All in all, Funky Plum is a heady mixture of irresistible products and pampered services, all housed in a one-stop shop for women on-the-go who've no time to browse the malls, and run by a vivacious, stylish woman who lives by the philosophy of Coco Chanel.

It's a potent combination sure to help any woman look good.

Funky Plum Alterations and Vintage Clothing Store