Isaac Saliendra knew from an early age that he wanted to have his own business. His passion for entrepreneurship was ignited by his father, who sold watches and eyewear to support the family. After graduating from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in 2015, Saliendra started his own brand, Peculiar, which sold bags and watches before eventually switching to eyewear.
Since his parents wanted him to gain some experience in a corporate setting first, Saliendra found an office job as a recruitment specialist and juggled this role while working on Peculiar at night. Even while working at his day job, however, it was clear to Saliendra that running his own business was his true passion. He was determined to make Peculiar work, despite having a capital of just 10,000 Philippine pesos (USD180). Seeing the potential of digital commerce, he contacted several online platforms and received a reply from Lazada, which invited him to meet with its seller acquisition team.
“I was a 20-year-old fresh graduate with barely any business experience, and yet Lazada took me seriously,” Saliendra recounted. The tools and free online courses that the eCommerce platform provided, including ones related to brand building and financial and inventory management for new sellers, was also instrumental in helping Peculiar gain traction and allowed Saliendra to build up enough confidence to quit his day job and focus on running his online store full time, he said. “With Lazada, I didn’t have to think of overcharges or any cost in maintaining my store. I was able to focus on product development, inventory and optimizing my operations.”
Peculiar has now been on Lazada for almost seven years and is one of the platform’s biggest eyewear stores. Working directly with suppliers, designers, manufacturers and even eye-care professionals, the brand offers high-quality but affordable eyewear pieces, including computer eyeglasses, starting at just PHP88 (less than USD2) – a fraction of the market prices. This forward-thinking business vision has proven to be a smash success with consumers; in 2018, for example, the brand sold 15,000 pairs of eyeglasses during a two-hour flash sale on Lazada. From being a one-man team, Peculiar has now grown into a successful business with more than 100 employees. The brand has also won numerous accolades, including being honored with the Best in Fashion Accessories title at the Lazada Awards 2020.
Products from Peculiar Eyewear.
Peculiar’s success has motivated Saliendra to give back to the seller community. He is currently a trainer at Lazada University’s LazStar Academy, an initiative designed to upskill top sellers so they can impart practical eCommerce lessons to their co-sellers. In this role, Saliendra has helped multiple local brands grow their assortments and scale their businesses. Some of the sellers he’s trained have even become the top-performing merchants in their respective categories.
Though Saliendra has come a long way since starting out, the 28-year-old businessman is still eager to continue growing with Peculiar.
“Building on the success of leveraging eCommerce platforms like Lazada, I want to continue scaling my business and bring our products to customers outside of the Philippines,” he said. “I want to grow Peculiar into a well-known and trusted international brand for eyewear. That’s my next goal.”
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