Retail hub serves as launching pad for budding entrepreneurs

LAUNCHING PAD. Maze has been the retail partner of many successful homegrown fashion brands in Cebu since it opened spaces for rent some 15 years ago. Today, even with the popularity of online shopping, startups still invest in renting physical spaces to make sure their products are accessible to the market. This corner inside Maze offers startups a rental space for P7,500 per month. (SunStar Photo / Katlene O. Cacho)

AMID the entry of global fashion brands opening in malls, homegrown concept retail space Maze remains an incubation hub for startup entrepreneurs.

According to Carolyn Tan, owner of Maze operated by Hype Management and Development Corp., startup entrepreneurs with social media as their primary selling platform still turn to them to rent spaces to display their goods.

“True, online (selling) has affected the sales performance of brick and mortar stores but we still see a lot of entrepreneurs renting (physical) spaces here,” said Tan.

“Our tenants are still doing good in their business,” she added. “They travel often to bring in new stocks and to remain updated with the latest trends in fashion.”

Maze, which has been leasing a space from Ayala Center Cebu for 15 years now, offers spaces for sublease for as low as P7,500 per month.

The retail hub known for its wide selection of fashion items occupies 600 square meters at the third level of the mall.

It became the launching platform of homegrown brands like Mags, Lava, iTech and What A Girl Wants, whose business success stories started in Maze.

Mags, for instance, now has a stand-alone shop in malls.

“We are helping our tenants sell their products. Once in a while, we organize bazaars in high traffic areas inside the mall,” she said.

More service offerings

From being an incubation hub for new businesses, Maze diversified its offering to include selling of tech and gadgets.

It later on offered services.

“We are catching up with the changing market preference,” said Tan, adding that if they rely only on selling fashion items and accessories they will be hit hard by the big-marketing campaigns of global fashion brands, especially if they all go on sale.

“Services helped bring traffic in our area,” she said.

Maze offers services such as watch repair, printing, tattoo salon, money changer, massage and gadget repair.

Moving forward, Maze wants to bring more services inside its retail zone to offer a comprehensive retail experience to Cebuanos.

“We will constantly be on the lookout for more homegrown brands to join us in Maze. We will also expand our services offering,” said Tan. (KOC)


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