Julia Velasquez, Shop Clerk at Tenant Manila
How long have you been working at Tenant?
I started working at Tenant last April, so about a year and three months.
Is this your first job in retail?
It’s my first job ever!
Really? How did you end up working here?
It was a crazy moment in my life when I had dropped out of fashion school and took a very long break. It came to a point where I was just sick of not doing anything, so I decided to look for a job. I found out about Tenant through social media.
Was working in retail always in your plan?
Honestly, not until it happened. Having no experience, I was lucky to even get the job. Tenant was also just starting out as a business, so I really had no idea how things worked. I just had to do study overtime and get used to customers and the general flow of things.
How do you describe your day–to-day at the shop?
Well, luckily the job means free coffee, so I usually dose myself with caffeine at the café downstairs. Then I head up to do my chores: watering the plants, taking care of the space, checking inventory. It’s usually just one person at a time per shift, so you kind of have to catch up on what your last co-worker did so that you can continue their work. This village is pretty quiet—not too much foot traffic—so you also get that downtime to read and study. Nobody really trained me; I had to teach myself how to do everything, from the inventory to how talk to customers to proper body posture and even the tone of my voice.
So making a connection with your customers is something that’s important to you.
Yeah! Because I didn’t want to seem like some random person at a store. I wanted to be remembered by our customers so that when somebody shops here, the next time they can be like, ‘Hey Julia!’. There’s a relationship.
That’s cool. How would you describe the culture at Tenant versus other retail spaces?
Two words: super chill. We stay true to the idea of beach and surf culture. People come here to have some peace and quiet, because when they head out, it’s super noisy and chaotic. I think that’s the reason why we’re not in a mall either—most people come here because they know it’ll be quiet. It’s not so crowded that you can’t get your work done. I definitely think that’s a pro.
Do you have a go-to uniform for your shifts?
My style is very laid-back. I always wear sneakers because I like to keep moving. I don’t have a car, so I try to dress comfortable yet stylish and minimal. I don’t think you’ll ever catch me being too extra, like I’m going to the Met Gala or something. There’s always a lot of moving going on in the shop, like when I’m doing visual merchandising or when new shipments come in. I have to be the one to lift boxes and do inventory, so I always keep it comfortable but professional.
PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRISTINA MARAVILLA
TENANT IS LOCATED AT 9639 KAMAGONG STREET IN MAKATI.