How Being Bipolar Pushed This Young Entrep to Start Her Own Biz
One common misconception about having a mental illness is that it's a barrier to success. But we say, having a mental illness is a sign of strength and 25-year old Martinna Mañalac proves exactly that. Diagnosed with bipolar disease, Martinna chose to fully embrace that side of her, capitalize on it, and channel her energy into creating a business—LOCA. "I have a mental illness and as much as it has pained me in the past, I consider it now to be one of my best assets. I see the world in two different worlds and there is nothing more beautiful about that," she shared. Read on to find out how Martinna embraced her mental illness and channeled her energy to create a money-making biz!
How it started. "Loca started on the day that I was diagnosed clinically bipolar. See, I have spent four years in advertising, doing campaigns, and advertisements straight from a brief that was molded by the opinions of my superiors and my clients. It was a great run, but I felt like I was slipping from what I really wanted to do. I wasn’t content with what I was doing and with where I was at the time. I knew that I had to break free from all of it. For the first time, I wanted to do something that I could consider mine–something that I knew I was doing all for myself. I wanted to create.
"I wanted to tell the world my story: that it’s okay to have ups and downs, it’s okay to be different, it's okay to be a little bit crazy; so I turned my disorder into an outlet, and I did it through fashion.
"I am Loca. But what started as a form of self-expression, later on, became a narrative that other people could relate to. Being bipolar was no longer an obstacle. I understood then that what others deemed to be my weakness was just another strength waiting to happen."
Why LOCA? "I come from a tropical country and though swimsuits are always in fashion, most people only really wear them to the beach. I wanted people to find relevance in my brand anywhere and all throughout the year, so I created bodysuits instead. Loca can't cover up every nook and cranny of your skin. It shouldn’t. What Loca can and will do though is empower you to feel your best in every Loca suit that you wear."
Aesthetic. "I've always believed a woman should be two things: sophisticated and sexy. These two words are key in shaping my brand’s aesthetic. Everything is bold and simple, focused on the right cut, shape, and silhouette; but each piece should also be a bit naughty–just enough to show the inner cray in you."
Loca is craywear, at its most sophisticated.
Young entrepreneur. "Being a young
Drawing inspiration. "From Amelie to Pulp Fiction, from Audrey Hepburn to the Kardashians, from Balmain and Versace to what my two-year old nieces are wearing."
Flying solo. "I am the sole owner of Loca. However, I do work with a supplier who has more expertise and experience in sewing and creating patterns. There is no actual team, but there are people–photographers, models, videographers, HMUAs, and brand people who have been with me since day one. I consider them Loca’s family."
Little challenges. "When I started Loca, making people believe in the brand was the hardest. I came from nowhere and I never thought of myself as a fashion designer. I was never sure people wanted to see what I had to offer. But I think once you've set your mind and heart into something, and you've decided that it is what you really want to do, and apply every bit of yourself- you are bound to do something great. People will see that. They will believe in you and your brand.
"Right now, making enough profit is the biggest challenge. See, digital behavior is very different from regular consumer behavior. As an online shop especially, you have to key in that though people may like your product, that doesn't directly translate into sales. At the end of the day, you just got to learn to be more creative so you can build more trust–and eventually, sales will follow."
Staying original. "We try to look different because we are different.
Loca is more than risqué swimwear. It's a character.
"Every piece Loca has to offer is tailored to be different and playful. We like to create pieces you've never seen before, or better: never dared to wear. Underboob cuts, chokers, and exceptionally low-cut necklines, dressed in equally naughty names and quirky models. It’s all about sending the message- Loca isn't afraid."
What's next? "Opening both a digital and physical store is the main goal for Loca in the next few years. We’d like to be able to continue to work with more creative people in fashion, advertising, and all kinds of industries. Hopefully, we manage to get more exposure so we can continue to build the community we started and engage a larger audience for when we release our next collections."
Entrepreneurial philosophy. "To be an entrepreneur, you need to stop wasting time living someone else’s life-building someone else’s dream. Take time to find in your heart to know what you really want and follow that no matter what. Truth is, not everyone is capable of following their dreams. Dare to dream, follow through, and continue dreaming even when you fail."
Before this world believes in you, you have to believe in yourself first.
To young budding entrepreneurs. "Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. You will fail not only once, but how you manage to keep your head up is what makes the difference."
Know any young entrepreneurs? Leave a comment below and you just might see them on the site next week!
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these sheets that exactly remind me of how I gushed in between my pillow and space you filled in the longing of my burned sorrow put smile to my sober face just like how a three year old receive her lollipop
i searched you everywhere and here you are laying down beside me in my imagination the walls that our screens built a boundary and an obvious message that says i can never have you because you wear clerical shirt and obviously you loved someone else before me
oh god, do I really want this forbidden love? that only exist in my imagination? that only exist through my words? would you, meine liebling, notice me and my art one second? because I am dying to say I love you.
A Simple Learner Who's a Great Pretender
Maybe I'm just a learner, not a weirdo. A learner that knows how to listen and pretend. A simple learner who's a great pretender. Pretending to be slightly dumb enough not to be judged and criticized by those who do not appreciate my existence. We surround ourselves with people who's levels are either beyond or below our intellectual behavior, because as for reality, people may use you either for their success or your downfall. Since then, people tend to judge someone who has an intellect with things they shouldn't be. Making them a criticizer, and most of all, calling them weird.
Honestly, I'm one of this "weirdo" who actually loves to learn things, and for the record, I'm bullied and stressed out for making myself not to learn more and go with the flow to dumbness I had. Have you ever feel being assigned to some task where you know every process to make it easier and faster to finish but turns out to hesitate to voice out because some of your mates put themselves in charge. There are times where I know what to do, what to say, or how to react, but kept myself silent and pretend not to know anything that may help us. Maybe it's a good thing to just go with their ideas and learn from their perspectives, but sometimes you can't control it and says something, and once again called to be a weirdo and let you finish the work by yourself.
It's annoying that you only know one process yet they gave you the whole work and let you finish it by yourself because they insist that "MAGALING KA DIBA?". It's not your fault being an intellectual person, knowing such things that may help you to pursue your dreams, and have the basic knowledge about something. You don't need to know everything, just the basics. And as for those people who do not appreciate your existence, let them be and continue what's the best for you. In some cases, you'll be annoyed by this but most of the time you'll be thankful for it. Not for now but maybe later. Just be yourself either a weirdo, a great pretender, or a simple learner, and always remember to lower your voice and behavior because no one loves that.
Just be a great pretender not to hear any runts and be a good learner that appreciates everything. It's out of nowhere thoughts of mine, but simply I leave you this my favorite life quotation; "Don't introduce yourself, Let your success introduce you"
Dear me in six years, I wonder how life will treat you when you’re already 26 years old. Will you be financially stable? Will you be working in an advertising agency while pursuing everything about the arts? Will you be doing freelancing and living in a condo by then? I don’t know since things are very uncertain. I hope by the time you graduate from college and face the real meaning of the world, you’ll know what the real purpose of doing and living in the art will be.
I know it’s been so tough ever since you turned 20 but that’s how life works, I guess. There will be a lot of hopes and trials, breakdowns, and breakthroughs but I have high hopes of you becoming the better version of yourself. You always do, though. You were never a quitter. Making decisions is getting harder and harder as you grow but I hope it doesn’t make you stop doing what you really love to do. You will face different people with different perspectives. You will feel like a stranger once again, it’s like you were back in your freshmen year. It’s going to be tougher than you’ve expected but you can do it. I believe you can.
Most of the time, people's perception of us as a strong person makes us feel that we are not entitled to be vulnerable because they might be disappointed for seeing our weak spots. And so when we are hurting, we are often scared of extreme emotions and so bury our feelings. We deny them, trying to avoid the pain we feel.
But by doing that, we are just allowing it to come back to us and haunt us. And when it comes back, it might be stronger and it will be harder for us to get over it than when we faced them first. I realized it just now that facing those emotions will scare them until they're gone. The saying 'Let it hurt until it hurts no more' goes true. Admitting your pain to yourself doesn't make you weak. It only proves that you are strong enough to acknowledge such extreme emotions without avoiding them. We are humans and it's okay if we hurt sometimes.
Before, sliding over the rainbows
Now, our hearts are bruised
Days once full of love and laughter
Became dawns of forfeited ever after
Smiles that bring ticklish sensations
Turned to cold question and answer
Figuring who would be the next instructor
The queen’s awake
Grappling to the happiness that the sorrow and sadness take
Going back to all the promises he couldn’t make
Poetry #2: YOUR VOICE
When you talk, your voice brightens my days. You provide me comfort in all the little things that you do. Your deep and mellow voice sends a tingling feeling inside me that makes me want to keep you in my life. I love talking to you every time, every day, every night and every minute if I could. You're someone just simply amazing.