Let’s get tropical!
This beach apparel’s merchandise does not only give off overall good vibes, hearing the story of how Guppy actually started out actually warms up the spirit. From a college student who wants to earn extra income for his daily expenses, Anton Punzalan conceptualized the brand over a meal.
“I remember brainstorming during lunch one afternoon with my previous business partner when finally the idea of selling affordable swim shorts came to mind,” Anton shares. “I was a big fan of short tapered swim shorts with wild prints. In fact, it was pretty much my daily uniform to school along with a plain shirt.”
He also mentioned how the lack of options for quality and stylish shorts in the Philippine market pushed them to put up Guppy. “I realized that there were not a lot of local brands selling short shorts as most of the ones I would see were quite long and baggy. So the week after, I went around the metro looking for suppliers and had my first batch of Guppy shorts made,” he continues.
Anton realized the brand needed another helping hand for creatives so he invited another business partner to join the project, Cara Paguio. Selling Guppy shorts was not only a hit to their schoolmates, friends, and family, it even surpassed their expectations. Anton and Cara realized upon the creation of a social media account for the brand that there was in fact a market for their products.
Guppy is such a success that from selling swim shorts, they have now expanded to selling coordinates and sarongs for everyone. Below, read through our exclusive conversation with Anton and Cara for fun facts, colorful stories, and future plans for the brand.
Why did you decide to call it Guppy?
Anton: We decided to call it Guppy because we found that it was catchy. It also made sense because Guppy refers to a small colorful fish which is just like our brand, small, and colorful.
Why did you decide on creating a label that centers on the tropics? What’s the inspiration behind Guppy?
Anton: The decision was not immediate. We actually started off Guppy as shorts with an attitude. The initial intent was to sell swim shorts to family, friends, and batchmates. But after experimenting on social media and joining bazaars, we realized that there was a market for the brand. So we slowly increased the variety of our products and ended up with outfits that were totally fit for the Philippines. Now our team is set on providing apparel that’s made for and inspired by the tropics.
How is the design process when it comes to the merchandise?
Cara: One of the most important aspects of designing is to always have an open mind when it comes to inspiration or trends. Sometimes Anton and I will message each other randomly, if a new idea suddenly hits either one of us. I also try to scroll intentionally when I’m browsing through Pinterest, Instagram, or blogs as you never know when or where inspiration will come.
How is the brand different from other beach apparel?
Cara: “Living the Guppy life” means having a fun and laid-back approach to life. I believe our products embody that with vibrant and tropical designs. Guppy is always coming up with new and exciting colorful collections. I think this fun approach sets us apart from other beach brands.
What are your best-sellers?
Anton: Our standard best-seller would have to be our swim shorts. But lately customers have really been enjoying our kimono – sarong sets.
How would you describe your patrons who love your brand?
Cara: Majority of our customers are young people who love traveling. But I think our demographic expands to those who generally love having fun and dressing up. More and more I’m seeing dad-and-son pairs wearing matching shorts, best friends wearing sarong sets, and even moms or titas-of-Manila styling our kimonos. I think those who love our brand aren’t afraid to have fun with their looks, and are willing not to take themselves too seriously. As our tagline goes, “Keep living the Guppy life!”
What makes you proud about your brand?
Anton: Guppy is proudly Filipino! We’re proud of how we started as a passion project and ended up as a small business. And we’re proud that we’ve managed to grow amidst the pandemic. We are also proud to support a cooperative of local mananahi.
You guys offer shorts and shirts to matching sets. How else do you plan to expand your merchandise options?
Anton: We definitely want to come up with bags and accessories very soon.
Cara: We’ve recently expanded our women’s collection, which is something I’ve been so excited about as a woman on the team. Haha! We’ve added bikinis, dresses, and wrap skirts. It’s been a long time coming, but I believe there’s even more to come.
What can we expect from Guppy in the near future?
Anton: Customers can expect more curated collections, more unique cuts that aren’t yet available at an affordable price, and interestingly more plain and basic clothing. To be honest, we are always on the lookout on what we feel our customers want.
Cara: You can expect a few more fun capsule collections by this year. Anton and I have some creative ideas lined up that we’d love to see come to life!
As Anton mentioned, we love hearing about what our customers are looking for. So if anyone has any suggestions about what they’d like to see on Guppy, please message us at [email protected]!
Image source: Guppy’s Instagram account