Pia Gladys Perey – Outsourcing Production Insights

Ep 027 - Pia Gladys Perey

Derek and Pia will discuss about manufacturing. Pia will share her insights about manufacturing in the Philippines.


  • Pia and Derek discussed about manufacturing and Pia shared her knowledge on the topic.
  • The manufacturing sector used to be big in the Philippines until China happened. Also, partly because of the stricter labor laws.
  • The working conditions in China is really bad as discussed by Pia. Which is why she has this advocacy for her brand to be made in the Philippines. So, she has control over the working conditions in her factories.
  • Everyone knows about outsourcing in the Philippines which typically means voice, customer service and IT. Manufacturing used to be big however people don’t really know about manufacturing in the Philippines but it’s making a comeback now.
  • According to Pia; It is coming back a bit simply because there’s so much effort in the fashion industry about sustainable clothing and then also a sustainable lifestyle. And the good thing about the Internet is there are documentaries that showed the working conditions of people. As a result, some consumers question the credibility of labels. There’s a possibility that people are not going to support those labels or buy from them.
  • Smaller designers almost always get left with the obligation of doing and having to cover all those bigger production costs. While the bigger manufacturers have the benefit of mass production with a lower cost at the expense of other people.
  • With designers like Pia, they don’t just simply sell a shirt, they sell the lifestyle that comes with it.
  • Pia’s label is ramping up at the moment which is a leap since she came from limited ready to wear clothes now she is making mainstream ready to wear clothes at 50,000 pieces per design.
  • For Pia, it isn’t as hard as she thought it would be, you just need to invest in the people and spend money when needed.
  • Quality in the Philippines is much better and Filipinos are very creative.
  • There is a lot of pressure to improve standards and working conditions in places like China and Bangladesh.
  • Working conditions and standards are better in the Philippines because people here are more aware of their rights. And the Department of Labor in the Philippines especially for the blue-collar jobs, they’re protective of the employees. As a result, a lot of companies are following the rules because they have to.


Key Points

  • There’s a huge amount of skill and depth in terms of manufacturing in the Philippines and advances in terms of cultural alignment. Most people speak good English so it really is an easy place to get business done.
  • Filipinos are very creative people, some of the head pattern makers from huge fashion labels are Filipinos.
  • Working conditions in the Philippines is far better than the squalid working conditions in China and other manufacturing countries.





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Hi and welcome to another episode of the Outsource Accelerator Podcast. My name is Derek Gallimore. And today we have, we are lucky, lucky to have Pia Gladys Perey with us again. Now, Pia has a fashion label called Pia Gladys Perey and she is really taking on the world from Makati here in Manila. Pia has very humble origins if you haven’t listened to Episode 7 which is where we discussed Pia’s origins then I’d really suggest that you do it’s a great episode. Today we are discussing manufacturing. So, Pia is breaking into the US and she needs massive amounts of stock. I think Pia is having to order a sort of two three four five hundred thousand pieces of clothing to fill orders within the US and Pia is a self-funded startup. She’s celebrating her 10th year anniversary but really that is you know massive quantities of manufacturing to take on. Pia is doing all of that in the Philippines and we look at the manufacturing capabilities in the Philippines. And briefly touch on the history of those. So, enjoy this episode if you want any of the show notes, go to our website outsourceaccelerator.com/podcast/episode 27 for this episode. Enjoy!

Derek: Welcome back Pia

Pia: Hello.

Derek: And I just want to talk to you about manufacturing and your knowledge of that so as I’ve touched on before like this is an outsourcing podcast. And most people are looking to find cheaper resource in the Philippines. I believe that manufacturer used to be massive.

Pia: Yes.

Derek: A long time ago and then.

Pia: China happened

Derek: China happened. And partly that might have been because of stricter labor laws here. So, the U.S. went to China where they basically.

Pia: I saw this happening in front of me, crumbled in front of my face.

Derek: Is that right?

Pia: Yes, because that’s when it started. Well, I was younger when I think my late teens is when that started to happen because when I was a child everything was made here. And then suddenly Yeah because of the stricter labor rules.


Derek: Was it made here for overseas or just like the domestic stuff was made here?

Pia: Yeah. Overseas. Like all the massive brands have shoes, bags, clothing. Anything. Homeware. Homeware is still big like furniture is still big here.

Derek: Yeah, they’re sort of work on stuff….

 Pia: Yeah but sadly fashion. If you go to the technological park in Cavite and some of the Fort’s so many of them closed down because China has. But then if you seek us I’ve worked as a buyer for brands here. And then you see the working conditions in China. It’s just

Derek: Worse? A lot worse?

Pia:  Oh my God. I get I still get goosebumps when I remember it. This is why I have this advocacy for my brand that everything must be made here. Yeah. I mean materials can come from outside but everything’s made here because at least I have more control of the working conditions of people then I can visit a plant or something where I have my own factory for my main brand. So, it’s just that at least you know that you’re doing the right thing. Yeah, because

Derek: It’s a little bit. Everyone knows about outsourcing in the Philippines and typically that means voice and customer service and IT and all that stuff. And manufacturing was big and people don’t really know about manufacturing in the Philippines but it’s coming back a bit now.

Pia:  It is coming back a bit simply because well there’s so much effort well in the fashion industry about sustainable clothing and then also sustainable lifestyle. So, because of well the good thing about the Internet is you get so many documentaries that came up and just showed the working conditions of the people. So, some consumers question the credibility of labels because if you’re giving us something that’s from this you know factory with this kind of working conditions then there’s a huge risk that people will not support you as much or buy from them as much. It still happens and retailers especially the big ones are so cheeky.

Derek: Right

Pia: They will have a boat in the middle of somewhere in international waters to avoid taxes. So, but yeah.

Derek: And do you find then the smaller designers almost get loaded with the obligation of doing right and doing well and having to cover all those, the heavier costs of that. And then meanwhile the bigger manufacturers they have the benefit of mass production lower cost but then also they’re kind of not doing well by the manufacturing world.

Pia: But then, I think with us designers we just don’t sell the dress we sell a lifestyle, we sell the experience that goes with the dress. and some. Luckily some people understand this concept that you know. That. It’s just not a T-shirt. There’s a story to it or there’s a feeling that comes with it. That’s the reason why people buy designer labels. And what I like about Australia is they’re very supportive about their local designers.  There it’s like its Australian made, It’s Australian designers so and I’m hoping that one day we’ll be like that here. Yeah

Derek: And so, you’re amidst a big ramp up at the moment. I’m not sure if you can speak about that at all. But there’s

Pia: Yes, I’m in a big one

Derek: You’ve got a big gig coming your way? And you’re having to ramp up production a huge amount. Can you give us a little bit of insight into how that works and are there facilities where they can quickly ramp up? Is it a difficult task and how are you coping with your.

Pia: You know I thought it will be difficult but you know with the Philippines is like. You know it’s like a treasure chest. There’s so many people who are like I just as a friend I know that my friend who is also a designer, works for this massive production house and I didn’t realize how massive it was but this guy has like nine factories and each factory is like five thousand square meters, so. And then this guy and his friend who makes shows and then this guy. So, they’re all one circle so I was introduced by one person and suddenly my whole production is looked after. So that’s what I’ve been busy with but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. And it’s. And the quality is good. And like what, well for people who especially like me or just in that transition stage from gold, from limited ready to wear, to having like a mainstream ready to wear brand being able to control production is very important because one mistake in production and delivery you are missing something could ruin the deal of it’s just you know that I just like recently had.

Derek: It’s huge because just to put some context on it you’re having to produce about 50,000 pieces kind of design.

Pia: For every design, yeah.

Derek: And so that’s massive for a small business and there’s obviously a significant cost component to that and really.

Pia: It’s a leap.

Derek: if you press the green button and then they all turn out a little bit wrong with the button on the wrong side it’s very.

Pia: That’s why you have to have the right team that’s why I’m like Okay we’re doing this. I’m hiring the right people. And. Business. I think business people should not be so adamant about spending money when needed. Because to spend money, it’s a classic saying but you have to, you have to. Because to earn money, you have to spend money, right? Because if I don’t, then I’ll end up doing everything then I’ll just. There will be a mistake that I’ll overlook because I refused to hire two more people, three people and that will cost me so much more. Plus, my name and reputation will be gone out the window.

Derek: And that’s the nature of outsourcing. Isn’t it? You’ve been outsourced the manufacturing to experts that are experts in manufacturing that will be able to ensure high quality.

Pia: Yeah because if they’re like the these are people who serviced like France obviously. So, they’re like it’s like they’re experts in that. I hired a designer. And then you, they talk to them and then we just do the timelines ones. Of course, it’s not as simple as that but at least I know that these people know what they’re doing.  Like the ones they’re making the shoes I was so surprised by how skilled they are and how good the quality is.

Derek: And then I suppose just in summary and wrap up. How would you compare or what are your thoughts on the manufacturing processes and skills of the Philippines as opposed China and the more commonly assumed manufacturing places? And so, I suppose quality and competency but also then price.

Pia: Well, quality in the Philippines is much, much better, I would say and. If you look into the bigger brands overseas. If you go into their workshops their head pattern makers are Filipinos.

Derek: Ah really?

Pia: Yes

Derek: Filipinos are very creative ha?

Pia: Yeah

Derek: You see them in all of the creativity fields.

Pia: Very much so very and like very resourceful. So, the cost always they think is higher but if you have the volume then you could make it lower. And at the end of the day if you have you know low cost, good product, quality and then. Well people who actually speak very good English then it’s a plus because in China or if you go to other countries; their English is not as good. And there’s a big, big chance that before you launch your product, they’ve launch it already. I’ve seen it happen so many times. Yes. So. My friend came home one day and she had this beautiful leather printed. It was a left over by Dolce and Gabbana. She was using it. So at least that I know will not happen here.

Derek: Because you’ve had your dresses turn up on Amazon. Have you?

Pia: Well in ebay people would sell my dresses and they use photos from my website and it’s made. It’s a Chinese company and of course I try to buy it. So far from the real thing. So, you can’t buy skill. You know you can buy quality. Well you can buy quality because the more you pay then, but yeah. And I think that at the end of the day you also answer to your conscience. Like. Yes, my product is so cheap but what’s the story behind that. And I think it was in Bangladesh or something like 700 people died.

Derek: Yeah there is a lot of pressure to improve standards.

Pia: So, at least we don’t have that here.

Derek: Why are the standards better here? Is that because there are stricter labor laws that.

Pia: I think so.

Derek: Have what better safety requirements in factories and things like that?

Pia: Yeah, people here are more well we have better unions. And then I think people here are more aware of their rights. And well the good thing with the Department of Labor here especially for the blue-collar jobs they’re quite protective of them. So, a lot of companies. A good, a very good amount of companies are very, very good in following the rules because they’ve got to.

Derek: Yes. Thank you, Pia.

Pia: Thank you so much for having me.

Okay. Hope you enjoyed that chat with Pia. If you haven’t heard the original podcast appear which is Episode 7 please do because she has an inspiring story and I hope that you gained some value there in terms of exploring the manufacturing potential of the Philippines. Philippines is widely, widely known as service outsourcing provider. The truth of it there’s huge amount of skill and depth in terms of manufacturing here and huge advances in terms of cultural alignment. And everyone’s speaking English so it really is an easy place to get business done. If you are on any of the show notes for this episode do go to our website the address is outsourceaccelerator.com/podcast/episode 27.



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