When it comes to the fashion scene in Cagayan de Oro, only a few have elicited and won the hearts of the Kagay-anon fashionistas. This fashion mogul is so well-known that she has been recognized and awarded in the Philippines’ fashion industry.
For this holiday season, WhatALife! features the woman behind the well-loved fashion apparel that originated here in the City of Golden Friendship. Apart from being a fashionpreneur, Kagay-anons have come to know her as the head organizer of the city’s very own prestigious beauty pageant, Miss Cagayan de Oro—Mags Cue.
Fashion icon in the making
Though met with unforeseen challenges along the way, she was able to make waves in the fashion industry—all thanks to her parents where she learned a lot from, while helping the family business.
Mags is the fifth child among eight. She learned at an early age to appreciate the art of dressing up, witnessing her parents’ hard work and creativity in dressmaking in their shop in Batangas.
However, Mags did not immediately follow her parents’ ‘threads’ on dressmaking.
She first got into the spotlight of modeling during college, appearing on television commercials. After earning her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Far Eastern University, Mags then worked for a pharmaceutical firm as a medical representative. Two years later, she then married her college boyfriend, Oliver Cue, a Filipino-Chinese businessman from Cotabato City and is now blessed with four children. From Luzon, the couple flew and settled in the booming city of Cagayan de Oro.
As her husband and sons attend work and school, respectively, Mags is often left alone at home. With all her free time, she decided to do something productive by putting up a business.
With her own business, she would be able to supplement their income as a family. But her initial venture was a bit far off from what she has established today.
Mags first opened up a business in a 40-square meter space in De Leon Plaza. With just enough capital, her business became more of a general merchandise store—selling home decors, clothes, footwear, accessories, and children’s toys to name a few.
Although she was able to gain quite a lot of patrons after two years into the business, she still struggled to generate back profit.
“I had so many clients then, and after 2 years I wasn’t getting any profits from my shop. I’ve just realized I was like my parents, I sell everything & anything and ended up with nothing, so I examined myself.”
After doing some reassessment, she realized that for her to progress as a businesswoman, she needed to find her niche.
Recalling her parents’ dressmaking shop together with her love for fashion, she came up with the idea of putting up a clothing line instead. In October 2004, Mags launched the first-ever branch of her clothing line, MAGS — and it became a hit!
After a year, she was able to expand, and it was not just in Cagayan de Oro. 16 years later, MAGS has over 20 branches nationwide; seven branches in Luzon, six branches in the Visayas, and nine branches in Mindanao—four of which are located in CDO.
And just like her parents, Mags is a hands-on businesswoman.
“I am actually not the boss, I am the purchaser,” she added. She oversees the purchasing of raw materials such as fabrics, in addition to supervising the apparel designing and name pricing.” Aside from that, Mags also allows and listens to her team’s suggestions, especially to her salesforce who directly engage with their clientele.
Amid the tough competition against well-known brands, MAGS was able to make itself visible in the fashion industry, recognized as one of the fastest-growing female apparel brands in the country. And this was made possible, all thanks to her loyal clients, whom she calls MAGShionistas.
“The best thing that happened to MAGS is actually [sic] when people keep on patronizing MAGS amidst the tough competition and huge competitors,” she imparted.
Having become one of the fastest-growing female apparel brands in the country, they embarked on a marketing campaign to promote its products to reach a wider audience.
MAGS has also received the nod of several known Filipina celebrities and made them official brand ambassadors of the apparel. These include Rica Peraljo, Christine Reyes, Angel Aquino, Sofia Andres, Alice Dixson, and The Voice Teens Finalist Isabel “Lala” Vinzon.
Just recently, Maja Salvador has signed up to become MAGS latest endorser last October.
Several more TV personalities and Social Media influencers have become part of MAGS’ clientele. Nevertheless, their patrons from the general population have greatly contributed to the continued progress of the fashion brand. Every now and then, MAGS features the MAGShionistas on their social media platforms—sharing photos of them wearing the brand attire with sophistication and elegance.
Empowering women through fashion
Besides celebrity endorsements, MAGS has also worked with several beauty pageants in the country. Here, she was able to showcase MAGS as ladies paraded catwalks, donning her brand’s apparel.
MAGS is the official casual wear provider of Mutya ng Pilipinas, which Mags, eventually, became the chairman of the said pageant from 2015 until 2018.
The clothing line was also able to provide for several local and international beauty pageants, including Miss Asia Pacific International, Miss Intercontinental, Miss Teen Philippines Northern Mindanao, Mutya ng Pilipinas Regional Pageants (Nationwide), to name a few.
Mags is also responsible for the prestigious beauty search in the city, Miss Cagayan de Oro.
“[By] providing and sponsoring major beauty pageants are really special to me because, in my own little way, I [am] able to help boost their self-esteem,” Mags expressed. Speaking of boosting self-esteem, it is, in fact, the main object of the clothing line—to empower women through fashion.
MAGS aims to empower every woman through an exclusive choice of fashion, distinctive, and constant trend in style. Improve our client’s lifestyle and the best possible way a woman can present herself.
Aside from women empowerment, Mags is also working on helping the community. She is an active member of the Rotary Club and in fact, she became the club president in the CDO East Urban chapter. She’s also in touch with organizations such as the Philippine Cancer Society, Soroptimist International, and Society for Culture and the Arts.
For this holiday season, Mags will be organizing a feeding program, in partnership with the all-women civic organization, JCI Bailawanen.
Lastly, she also advocates for teenage pregnancies. “My other advocacy is the early pregnancies among teenagers because I know how hard it is to raise a child,” Mags said. “It needs maturity and sufficient income to be able to build a family.”
To aspiring fashionpreneurs
In conversing with this amazingly creative entrepreneur, we asked her what advice she can give to aspiring fashionpreneurs.
“There are actually three important tips I would like to share: First, you must know and study the products that you wish to sell; then, identify your target clients; and lastly, don’t focus on the competition but rather on how you will satisfy your customers.”
And with regards to what advice she would tell herself prior to the establishment of MAGS, Mags says, “I wish someone warned me that it is really so [sic] hard to handle your own business—most especially handling employees.”
“Thank God, I am a graduate of BS Psychology […] at least [I have] a background on how to deal with people and situations,” she added.
A devoted wife, a loving mother
Mags ensures to guide and equip her boys with the values they will need as they traverse along in life. She also shared her experience as to what it feels like to be the mother of all boys, saying, “[being] a mother of four boys needs a lot of patience and understanding. Luckily, I am coping well with things and trying very hard to lead on the right part.”
“The hardest part is peer pressure, which is, you cannot control. Because they are always together with friends than family,” she added.
Today, Mags continues to walk gracefully, portraying her roles as a businesswoman, wife, mother, and as an influencer.
Catch her weekly vlogs on her YouTube channel Every day with Mags as she shares a part of her life.
MAGS has 23 branches nationwide including Sm North Edsa, Sm Fairview, Sm Southmall, Sm Pampanga, Sm Lipa, Sm Lucena, and Sm Sta Rosa in Luzon; Sm Cebu, Ayala Center Cebu, Sm Consolacion, Sm Iloilo, Ayala Bacolod Central, and Robinsons Dumaguete in Visayas; and Robinsons Butuan, SM City Cdo Uptown, Sm Downtown Premiere, Ayala Centrio Mall, Limketkai Mall Cdo, KCC Mall de Zamboanga, Sm City Davao, Sm Lanang Premier, and Ayala Abreeza Mall in Mindanao.
For online shopping convenience, they are also available online via ZALORA PH and magsonline.ph