Victoria Turegun – Doing High-End Business in the Philippines
Last updated August 21, 2019
Derek is once again joined by Victoria Turegun and they will talk about what Victoria has learned, doing high-end business in the Philippines.
- Victoria Turegun is an expat, Russian-Ukrainian with a varied upbringing living now in Manila and dealing with the art world and high-end luxury goods market.
- According to Victoria, the market in the Philippines is very narrow and it’s not only related to art or painting it’s also about fashion, brands, and trends.
- There are a lot of wealthy Filipinos and the majority of them drive around in Toyotas and are very mindful not to stick out too much.
- However, according to Victoria, the reason why most Filipinos drive Toyotas, even wealthy Filipinos is because of the price, marketing and availability of other cars in the Philippines.
- Victoria said that most Filipinos are not that open to trying out new brands, instead, they stick to the brands that they know.
- Young artists are having a hard time getting known in the Philippines. In many countries, sadly, it is like that. You need to have the right connections and money in the Philippines to be able to arrange your personal exhibitions. As a result, artists who get recognized are only the ones who came from well-established families.
- Filipinos are very supportive of their own brands.
- Most artists who make it big in the Philippines are the ones from wealthy and well-established families.
- Filipinos are very hesitant to try out new brands and instead they stick to the brands that they already know.
Hi and welcome to another episode of the Outsource Accelerator podcast. My name is Derek Gallimore, and today we are joined for the second time by Victoria Turegun. She is a Russian-Ukrainian expat living in the Philippines and has done so for a number of years. And today we are talking to her about what she’s learned, doing high-end business in the Philippines. Okay, so she sells and deals in fine art. And we explore what she’s learned and we do actually go off track a little bit here but there’s, there’s a lot of interesting information just to get. Then the life and background information on Manila. And I hope you enjoy. If you want show notes or any information or want to get in touch with Victoria go to our show notes which is found at outsourceaccelerator.com/podcast/episode35.
Derek: Welcome back Victoria.
Derek: So today we’re gonna talk about. So, for those that haven’t listened to last episode, I recommend that you do with Victoria. An expat sort of Russian-Ukrainian but with a varied upbringing living now in Manila and dealing with the art world and high-end luxury good markets. Now, I want to talk to you because our listeners are generally businessmen, business people and, and involved in commerce. What are ten things you’ve learnt or as many things.
Victoria: That is the better.
Derek: Let us not confine ourselves to ten things. What are the things you’ve learned doing high in business in the Philippines?
It can be high end or we can broaden that to business in the Philippines. So, should we start with an easy one? What’s an easy one?
Victoria: What I’ve learned doing business here.
Derek: Yeah. Personal business.
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Victoria: Ah, personal business as I have already, I will repeat myself you know the market it’s very narrow and it’s not related only to art or painting it’s also about fashion. About brands, trends in the Philippines. It’s more, let’s say if somebody owns something then the rest needs to own it as well. You know, it’s like I don’t know like word of mouth you know. Let’s say I buy these types of sandals you know from this famous designer and then within a week you have most of your friends wearing the same ones you know but in different colors.
Derek: And what is. Because we were talking earlier about different cultures and you could possibly suggest that the Chinese are pretty flashy with their money, pretty superficial. The Swiss are very guarded and very conservative in terms of what they will be associated with.
Derek: How do Filipinos fit within that because I know a lot of wealthy Filipinos and the majority of them drive around in Toyotas and are very sort of mindful not to stick out too much.
Victoria: In the Philippines? Okay, I think we have different friends you know because my friends they don’t drive Toyotas. Most of them. That’s why I think it’s talking about Toyotas you know about the prices in the Philippines and for the cars. That’s why it’s a common car. It’s not about I think if the prices were a little bit, the tax was less people here wouldn’t drive Toyotas you know.
Derek: Do you think?
Victoria: I am sure.
Derek: I see them all alike. Yeah, interesting. I mean you don’t see many Mercedes, BMW and things like that.
Derek: I mean, there are people that can buy them, but it’s.
Victoria: But I think it’s also not because of the prices as well because I think Mercedes, BMW, even the car salons they were opened quite recently here for those brands you know. Before they didn’t have anything. As I know Volkswagen was just introduced to the Philippines a couple of years ago before they never had anything like that. So, it’s also not the matter of the price, it’s also the kind of marketing you know they bring in the Philippines.
Going back to high-end business in the Philippines, as I said it’s a very narrow market which is supporting their own brands very much and not really willing and not really open to new brands. It’s a European brand. If it’s a well-established brand like Chanel, Louis Vuitton you know all that stuff. Yes, that’s, it works because it has already it’s history. But if you want to introduce some new really high and brand European brand which is very, but has very high potential I don’t think it’s quite easy here. You know you need to do a lot of marketing have a lot of efforts to introduce even if the pieces are amazing masterpiece. People love it but they’re still cautious to get it, you know. like they’re still hesitant you know to buy new things.
Derek: Because it doesn’t have the external recognition.
Victoria: Exactly. Yes. Yes. This. I mean they’re quite aware and I wouldn’t say that the Filipino market it’s very open. Hong Kong market since it’s more like you cannot call it Chinese because there are more expats living there. It’s more open. People are more willing to get the new brands, new things. You know they’re looking for something new.
Victoria: In the Philippines, it’s more closed maybe because people cannot travel that much you know. I mean it’s very limited and not only in terms of money but also as you know in terms of like access to other countries like Visa, flights and everything.
Derek: That’s true, and that’s probably significant now because maybe 10 years ago I mentioned travel was very limited. In and out of the country.
Victoria: Exactly. Exactly. Even people who have money it’s not that easy and now it’s more convenient because there are more airlines flying to the Philippines before it was more difficult you know you have to make it like 40 hours travel to get to Europe. And many people would consider it twice you know before taking the trip. And also with visa thing and everything. And in terms of traveling the also buying habits of the Filipino people going abroad because I went with some friends abroad together and they still stick to the brands they know they don’t want to waste time on exploring the new ones you know. For example, for me I really like to explore something new and I do buy things because not because of the brand. If I really like the piece I don’t care if it’s a famous brand or no. You know it’s a matter of the price and a matter of you know my wish to buy it. With Filipino people, it’s more like they have their certain target.
Derek: It’s more confirmative. Which in many aspects of society…
Victoria: Yes. They already know what they want, you know, they don’t want to waste time for something new. So, I don’t know. It’s quite good because as I said they really support their own brands their own market. And in terms of art it’s very, very strong and very, very cautious in terms of letting the other new brands and new styles enter the Philippines. As soon as they are, their own artists introducing the new style even if it’s not a new style even if it’s impressionism. They will, they will be willing to buy. But if it’s brought by foreigner they will be very cautious about that.
Derek: And then just finally how is it trying to work into the marketplace. Because there is maybe a lot of caution as well especially in terms of who they deal with in terms of the market is quite closed in that regard. How does that relate to new artists within the local economy if they’re trying to break through? Is it hard for them to get a break or are they looking because they aren’t the established artist?
Victoria: It’s. That’s another thing which I learned for all these years in the Philippines. Young artists really have a very hard time to get through in the Philippines.
Derek: Right. To prove their worth.
Victoria: Yes, exactly. There are not a lot of fans a lot of sources which would support the young artists here. I try to create some projects here like to work on some projects to give a way for the young artists to show their works to the world but I really faced lots of problems you know because it needs financial support and not even big, big companies would like to support. To give financial support they have a very limited budget for all those types of things and they’re not really willing to invest into it. They can invest into already established artists but in the new ones let’s say we were working for eight months on the project trying to find the sponsors for the project to give a green light for the young artist. I suggested to make it like a contest of the artist like to have an exhibition of many young artists and people could come on voluntary basis you know and vote for each work, you know. It would depend on the number of votes and there would be the winner and the winner would have a like a chance to have his or her personal exhibition for a couple of weeks and the gallery but no, nobody wants to support it.
Victoria: It’s really very difficult to be an artist here, a young artist. You know you need in many countries it’s like that but you need to have either connections here or you need to have money to arrange your own exhibitions you know your own personal exhibitions. And of course, with involving mass media just making marketing.
Derek: Which means that a lot of you successful artists are actually from relatively established families.
Victoria: Yes, they are. They are, you know most of the artists famous ones. They’re coming from very well-established families who can support them, who can organize exhibitions for them we can give them the green light in life. But for the young artists who are really very very creative but they have, they have no you know financial support. I am, I doubt that they will ever make it.
Derek: Great. Thank you, Victoria.
Victoria: You’re welcome.
Okay. Hope you enjoyed that. If you want to know any more information or you want to get in touch with Victoria go to our show notes. You can find those at outsourceaccelerator.com/podcast/episode35. See you next time.