Updated: Feb 19
The Guam brand, GACHA, is a passion project turned into a reality. Owner, Leslie Sanga, blends her passion for fashion, photography, and business all into her creative outlet-- GACHA. In this interview, Leslie shares inspiring advice about starting a small business and creating local fashion, as well as shares with us what fuels her creativity! For a little behind the scenes, Leslie from Gacha has been one of Pulan Magic's inspirations and mentor for all things business. Leslie's commitment to growing her businesses as well as her artistry is motivating and stirs our urge to create! We hope you enjoy this interview and gain some insights like we did!
1. What is Gacha and why did you start it? GACHA is a local slow-fashion e-commerce brand, which initially started as a womenswear brand. I started it because: 1) it was time for me to blend some of my passions together into a project I would create from scratch. Those passions were fashion, photography, business, & doing it for a meaningful purpose. Basically, a business that was a creative outlet. 2) I noticed the gap in Guam’s local market. There were not many–at the time of this brand’s inception– female brand owners, especially in the clothing space.
2. What is your mission at Gacha? GACHA’s mission, to say it simply, is to spread value in fashion, ethics, sustainability, and supporting local. And also spreading awareness about GUAM through our actions and our products. To dive deeper into this answer, check out our About Us section on GACHACLOTHING.COM
3. How do you get your inspiration for Gacha’s clothing designs? What is your creative process? I mix in a bunch of ideas- many that randomly come into mind, while mixing it with inspo ideas that I come across and absolutely love. I like to make things that I would look for that are hard to find; because when I personally look for things in the marketplace, I am finicky. My love is in the details. The other major inspiration is creating island/Guam-themed items that have a difference in style compared to what’s currently out in the market (especially for things created by Guam-makers). I also love creating items that leave people with major life-value; ex. our Affirmations sweaters. I also love how customers are giving us feedback about how our large sustainable bags are “such a big help” somehow in their daily life. Those types of comments are our fuel!
4. Do you have any news or plans for Gacha in 2022? We are still taking it real “slow” in 2022. This brand is being built patiently. As a mother & entrepreneur, I have other things I need to prioritize currently in life. Right now, our biggest priority is family since I just gave birth to our 2nd child in September 2021. I have two new releases I would LOVE to get done, but that’s if I can squeeze in those tasks to completion in my totem pole of goal priorities in 2022. Other than those two new releases, the goal for 2022 is to continue building our audience AKA “GACHA Fam” community online (and offline).
5. What advice do you have for aspiring clothing designers and business owners in Guam? For aspiring clothing designers: if you want to create, then work with what you have, and use the internet to your complete advantage, while continuing to grow. In other words, you do not have to go to design school to create clothing. Of course it will hugely help, but it is not required! Start where you can start! For business owners: 1) Building a brand (or a company) takes a lot of time, so I think it is smart to set yourself up financially to where you do not rely on your “new” business to pay you. Keep a 🥴 full-time or part-time job while building your business until it is successful enough to pay yourself. But I speak in the sense, where one is starting a “passion” business and is self-funded (like most small businesses). Truthfully, I think it is pretty difficult to rely on your business to pay the bills and grow your business at the same time. You will put yourself in a lot of pressure financially. However, for some individuals - that type of pressure works for them to really get things done, especially if you are ready to fully commit to growing your business that way (and you’re willing to sacrifice a lot). Then that can definitely be done too. It truly depends on your current life situation. For GACHA, I did not want to rely on the brand to support myself and my family. This was created as a “creative outlet” type of business, and if I mix in the pressure of making money - I think it will affect my creative processes. With GACHA, this was self-funded, and currently we do not have any bank loans/debts for this business.
2) MARKETING, MARKETING, MARKETING. Even GACHA isn’t doing this enough (not even close)!! But marketing is the #1 weapon we all need in order to grow our business.
3) Other than marketing - of course, there are the other main factors needed to KEEP your customers, and to continue growing your community. And that is:
a) Quality in your products,
b) Great customer service (in other words, people’s interactions and encounters with the brand must be positive, pleasant, & memorable on a daily),
c) Keep adding value to your community of customers and future customers. For GACHA, that is continuing to spread messages congruent to our brand mission!
d) Lastly, if you truly are passionate about your business, STAY PERSISTENT. Keep growing and continue finding ways to share/communicate the true heart and vision of your business to the world!
I just want to say THANK YOU so much to Chelsea & the Pulan Magic team for giving GACHA the opportunity to get featured in this newsletter. We hope this added some kind of value to even one person out there reading this! Prayers & wishes for great success to the Pulan Magic Team. We love your concept of the business. We need more new ideas of businesses on Guam to grab market-share in certain daily products. Pulan Magic is exactly that - people love to use candles here, so creating candles as Pulan Magic does is amazing! So continue to create that competitive advantage against the big brands! We hope you, the readers, continue to support local first before purchasing elsewhere. Si Yu’us Ma’ase’ for your time, everyone. A blessed 2022 to all!