Better Basics is clothing line that resonates well with me and my “lazy madame” style. Aside from personally knowing the owner, I also believe in their cause–giving local workers a chance. The person behind it is Moha Barakat, a young woman whose last name translates to “blessing”, and I got to spend an afternoon with her at her office and store in Quezon City.
Here’s a summary of our conversation and how she stands to be a blessing both for her makers and consumers.
What’s the inspiration behind Better Basics’ designs?
Definitely, the “lazy madam” look. You put it on when you’re busy or you don’t wanna think much about what you would wear. I want to make it basic local pieces pero yung gawa, hindi bara-bara and to use the local talent to help them produce nicer pieces.
How did you know this is what you wanted to do?
You never figure it out. At least not agad-agad. Pangarap ko talaga maging writer. I read books, mostly about management. But as you grow older you realize you want something else pala. Gusto ko yung idea of trying to make a brand. Like, I wanna make a good brand, so I did.
What are you currently working on?
As of right now, I’m currently waiting for our new stocks to arrive. Working with local sewists from Taytay takes time because they’re sewing a lot of pieces in a day. But I stand firm in working with them and I want to find more retail channels and mananahis to partner with so we can produce more.
What do you think makes Better Basics different?
I’ve always stuck to building a thoughtful brand, that’s why I decided to support local workers. Style-wise, I want the pieces to be well-researched. Before I was so torn between selling hubadera or parang prudent na dresses. But as a thoughtful brand, I want the woman wears her clothes, parang how she would feel, anong lifestyle yung ma-ssupport.
How’s your usual day like?
I make my coffee. Pray, check Instagram, check orders. Throughout the day, I think a lot about marketing Better Basics–to reach more people). I’m always talking to malls (the people who work for malls, of course), and a lot of negotiating, particularly for physical spaces
How do you stay focused?
It’s hard, honestly, but I have the long-term picture in mind, of what I want to build–building the steps you need to do to be able to get where you want to get, looking at what you want to build and just keep walking towards it, always talking to people who are in the same boat, and encouragement from others who are ahead.
What are the challenges of running a clothing brand?
I’m mostly an online business, but deciding when and where to open a store is hard. Counting the cost is also hard, anything about numbers. And, learning how to continually give value to the customer and make a brand that will give value.
What’s next for Better Basics?
As a company owner, I’m at this phase where I want to reach out to more people to help promote the brand. I also want a physical presence in the provinces. There are only a few stores doing that and I want Better Basics to be one of them.