The Razor-Sharp Businessman
Prominent people frequently grace Enderun’s guest book. On March 9, 2011, another prominent businessman visited the campus as speaker in Success Series talks. Mr. Anthony Huang, Executive Vice President of Store Specialists Inc., a company under Rustan’s Group of Companies, delivered an enlightening speech to students on the various aspects of commerce and industry.
Mr. Anthony Huang spoke about the history and background of his company, his job, what it is like to work in the fashion industry, and what it is like to work in the family business.
History and Background of the Business
Rustan’s Group of Companies was founded by Mr. Huang’s grandparents, Mr. Bienvenido Tantoco and Mrs. Gliceria Rustia Tantoco. The company started out as a small souvenir shop located in the family home. Because Mrs. Tantoco had an eye for beautiful things, the business flourished and became what it is now today.
Mr. Anthony Huang is the Executive Vice President of Store Specialists Inc. (SSI) which focuses in specialty store and brand management. This department is responsible for bringing in well-known foreign brands to the country. They develop each brand locally and expand its market to cater to more patrons.
He stated that the most challenging part of his job is to convince owners of foreign brands that there is a market here in the Philippines. Despite of the challenge, SSI has successfully brought in 72 foreign brands and opened 340 retail stores all around the islands. Their latest feat was to convince Zara to come to the Philippines. Today, there are six stores in the country. Other trendy brands that SSI opened in the Philippines are Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Prada, Jimmy Choo, Marks and Spencer, Gap, Debenhams, and DKNY.
Working in the Fashion Industry
People have the wrong notion regarding the fashion industry. It is not at all glamorous, Mr. Huang said. Most of the time, he is just in front of the computer doing the business’ spreadsheets and working on plans. He used to hand pick the models himself, which he jokingly said was one of the perks but has stopped doing so.
As the EVP of SSI, it is Mr. Huang’s responsibility to pick out the brands to bring in the country. In choosing a brand, he travels and keeps an eye on the trends of the different countries, he also relies on word of mouth, he experiences the brand and products himself, and lastly, he monitors the lifestyle of the Filipinos. He said that he generally relies on his discernment and intuition in choosing the brands to bring in
Working in the Family Business
Mr. Huang admitted that working in a family business can be complicated and conflict is natural but he pointed out that it is the leader’s responsibility to ensure the success and well-being of the company. The family should be prudent in managing the business and make sure that the stockholders, customers, and employees will benefit from the business because that is what business is all about.
A tip that Mr. Huang gave to the students during the talk was to, as much as possible, keep the family members happy by making sure that they are satisfied with the return of their investment. When the family members are happy with their financial shares, they will bother less with the business, if at all. This way less disagreements will arise. Mr. Huang noted that the involvement of more family members in the business will result to more complications in the operations. Mr. Huang works hard because he considers himself as a steward whose responsibility is to take care of the company and to make it grow continually. His vow is to preserve and immortalize the legacy left by his grandfather so the succeeding generations in the family will continue to reap benefits.
Certainly, Enderun students who are planning to work in their family business can learn a lot from Mr. Huang’s example. His attitude, commitment, industry, and constant success are indeed worth emulating.