“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” A quote that Pia Bernabe, Anne Medina, and Danielle Banares took to heart with their baby, Tierra The Line.
A slow footwear brand, Tierra The Line is an idea born from a desire to combine effortless style and Filipino craftsmanship. Or in the words of Pia and Anne, an ode to our local sapateros.
“We wanted to create designs that are simple, effortless, neutral, and something that all women of all ages can wear. We want Tierra to represent groundedness and stability by creating sensible and elegant designs and at the same time, keeping our pieces comfortable and durable,” Pia told PhilSTAR L!fe.
With just two collections out in the market, Tierra The Line has established itself as a local footwear brand that channels the elegance of a modern Filipino woman. And there’s no doubt why; the brand is owned by three empowered Filipinas after all.
Pia and Anne walk us through the story of their footwear brand and how it aims to showcase the best of our local culture while putting your best foot forward—literally.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
Pia: I think I wanted to be an entrepreneur since I’ve seen my mom and dad thriving in their own businesses. I want to have my own business as well. Contrary to my parents who are in the food business, I wanted to step out and create my fashion line. I’ve always been interested in fashion, so it made sense for me to harness my creativity into something that I can share with our fellow Filipinas and to the world if permitted.
Anne: It’s quite the opposite of what Pia said. I’ve never thought about starting my own business. I’ve been friends with Pia since college, so I’ve seen her start her own cupcake business. When she started Tierra, I wasn’t really surprised that she wanted to start a footwear brand. So, when she invited me, I thought, ‘why not?’ It was a nice thing to focus on during the pandemic. It was really inspiring to see Pia start a footwear line, so I feel very lucky that I’m invited to be a part of that.
What’s the story behind Tierra The Line?
Pia: The name comes from the Spanish word ‘Tierra’ which means land or earth and I think it best represented our brand because we wanted to create designs that are simple, effortless, neutral, and something that all women of all ages can wear. I want Tierra to represent groundedness and stability. Creating sensible and elegant designs and at the same time, keeping our pieces comfortable and durable.
I want our customers to feel proud to be Filipinas because after all, they are wearing something that is part of our culture.
Actually, our first design started by showing the best of what Filipino crafts can offer. We really wanted to use unique Filipino materials such as abaca or rattan, maybe in the future. That's the thing that started Tierra, and how we're going to infuse traditional craftsmanship or Filipino culture into our own designs and footwear.
There are so many competitive brands in the world of fashion, how do you make your brand stand out from the rest?
Anne: We want to focus on using local materials and the craftsmanship of our local sapateros. Another important thing for us is to simply design and create something that we personally would wear every day. While the world of fashion and beauty can be competitive, it can also be hard to be passionate about something if we constantly worry if other people would like it or if they would wear a particular design.
For Pia and I, we actually have different tastes in style. If you see us together, we would wear different things. But we both like pieces that are simple and comfortable which I think is a good middle ground when we come to designing our sandals and shoes.
Pia: I think that's what makes us unique. We are able to communicate with each other's differences and come to a common ground which is our very own kind of comfortable.
Anne: We like to emphasize the fact that we are a local women-owned brand that promotes slow fashion and Filipino culture through supporting our local sapateros. Every time we release a new collection, we only produce very-limited stocks per each design. It takes us a long time (longer than we would like to) to design and also make sure that the design would also be comfortable when we wear it. It's not as unique to say that we produce limited stocks per each design but I think that it also contributes to having a commercial appeal since our customers know that once a design is sold out, they won't be able to buy the same style anymore.
Pia: We make our stocks limited because we wanted to make our customers look forward to our design or they can still have the chance to have something new while waiting for our next collection. I feel like it's exciting due to the experience of waiting for the next collection.
The main theme of our brand is about fusing traditional Filipino crafts into a modern style. Creating designs that are applicable in our modern times and we will continue to find more ways to promote Filipino crafts and materials.
What other influences does your brand hold? How does your Filipino heritage or culture influence your brand values or identity?
Pia: Our brand is very much influenced by our local heritage and culture which is first and foremost seen in the materials used in creating our designs. For example, in our first collection, we focused on using handwoven rattan which is very popularly used for furniture here in the Philippines. Our second collection, meanwhile, is focused on using abaca.
So, the main theme of our brand is about fusing traditional Filipino crafts into a modern style. Creating designs that are applicable in our modern times and we will continue to find more ways to promote Filipino crafts and materials. Also, being a slow fashion brand, it means that all of our pieces are one of a kind since they are all crafted by our local sapateros in Marikina. As we progress and develop our brand, we will continue to promote our local shoemakers and keep them in our designs.
What is the role of social media to your brand?
Anne: I handle most of our social media, so I think it's been rewarding and challenging. Rewarding because of course, we're very lucky to start a small business during a time when we can utilize social media in a lot of ways. Not only to promote our own products but also to the makers of our shoes. It can be challenging to stand out with a lot of brands doing their own thing but we try to focus on our brand values and do what feels right.
Recently, we've been experimenting with Instagram Reels so I think it's a really cool way to reach other people. I also think it's a more interactive way instead of just posting pictures. IG Reels have been really nice to promote our collection. We also like to share outfit inspirations so we like to say na our sandals or heels are very simple, but they can complement any outfit. We still have a lot to learn but we know that there are so much things to try.
How do you want your customers to feel when they’re wearing your clothes?
Pia: I want them to feel how I felt when we first made our shoe designs. We want them to feel unique, one of a kind, or feel special. Because each pair is intricately made by our local sapateros, no pair is exactly the same. Each pair is handmade by our local artisans so I want our customers to feel proud to be Filipinas because after all, they are wearing something that is part of our culture.