Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Donya's children, Sophie and Henri, in costumes made by Baby Fashionistas.

I first met Gleizl Ann “Donya” Versola-To when we were classmates back in grade school. We were not close, but everyone in our batch knew her because of her fabulous birthday parties, for which everyone, even those in other classrooms, were regularly invited. Despite everyone’s grandiose impression of her childhood, she was never the bratty nor the braggy type. She just had a doting mom who, just like any mother, wanted the best for her daughter.

Donya with her family.

Fast forward to almost 2 decades, Donya is now a mother of two adorable little kids. Growing up without siblings (thus, the petname Donya), she showered her son, Henri, and daughter, Sophie, with all the love and care that’s probably twice the amount her own mother gave her. It’s just a misfortune that Donya’s mother never got to see her grandchildren grow. Nevertheless, Donya stepped into the role of motherhood with her late mom as her benchmark, never thinking twice when it comes to guiding her kids to discover their purpose in life.

Of course, a boyfriend and girlfriend are out of the question. Donya confesses that she is very protective of her kids, and she refuses to contemplate thoughts of them getting into the love zone when they reach their teens. This is quite normal for any parent, I guess.

Donya has gone a long way from being an only child to full time mother. 
 “I engage them in activities that can enhance their talent, and things that will help them discover their inner self. I allow them to enjoy whatever privileges we have and, at the same time, I make it a point that they share their blessings. I am a full time mommy and I specifically enjoy the times when my kids involve me in their hobbies and interests.”

Fashion plays a big part in Donya and Sophie’s mother-daughter bonding. “If you are a proud parent of a baby girl, you’ll realize that there is nothing more fun than dressing her up! Kids are lucky nowadays because they have more choices in clothing than we had when we were young. I gave Sophie the freedom to discover her personal style, and to learn how to mix and match pieces all by herself. I just make sure that the fabrics are comfortable on her, given the activities she has everyday. After all, fashion is also about comfort.”

Their mutual love for fashion led them to discover Baby Fashionistas, a clothing brand which originated in cyberspace.

“The brand was created by Primrose Co-Chua. It was originally an online showroom for made to order pieces, which little girls can wear on special occasions. You see, Prim is also a stage mom. Her personal desire to dress up her child in unique and trendy clothes inspired her to translate it into a brand, which, I can say, does not carry the typical designs found in other local retail shops.”

“I usually order pieces from Prim for Sophie’s birthday parties. My daughter and I fell in love with the custom made dress that Prim designed Sophie’s 2nd birthday. We became her loyal clients as the brand grew over the years. Eventually, what started as a client-seller relationship turned into a business venture, when Prim granted my proposal to bring Baby Fashionistas to Davao.”

“More and more mothers get hooked to kids' fashion. My girl friends would buy their kid some dresses from Baby Fashionistas, whenever they are in Manila. So, I thought, maybe I should take the initiative to bring the brand to Davao for all mothers and daughters to enjoy.”

Donya leased a space within the Robinson’s department store in Abreeza-Ayala Mall. “I share ownership with my sister in law. I’m lucky that my daughter is more than willing to model the clothes for us. In a way, she is involved in this business, too. As my daughter would plug it, ‘Baby Fashionistas has the chic-est clothes ever!’”

“We also have shoes and accessories under our brand. I can proudly say our shoes are stylish and of great quality. Where else can you find lace covered platforms for little girls?”

“I made sure the dresses we have in stock are those that are easily wearable by little girls. Yes, the cuts are not the usual ones we see on kids, but the dresses are still comfortable. The designs still suit their age. Our clothing line is a mix of classy and chic, with colors ranging from sweet pastels to bold colors.”

“We have dresses for all occasions. For your little girl’s recognition day, I’d recommend you get her the tulle dress and pair it with our strappy sandals. For her birthday party, I’d say go for the dress with a bit of lace appliqué and a pair peep toe platform shoes to make her stand out. If you’re going to a park or mall, she’ll enjoy running around in our jumpsuit and sandals.”

Visit Baby Fashionistas at the 3rd level of Robinsons Department Store in Abreeza. For inquiries on custom made clothes for boys and girls, please call or text Donya at 0928 799 9951. You may also check their Facebook page, or order online via http://www.babyfashionistas.multiply.com.

Story published on my newspaper column, Metro Mom.

A2, INdulge section, Edge Davao newspaper, Vol. 5 Issue 82, 27 June 2012.


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