Through unique ideas and an attitude to dominate, Mike Concepcion remains a pioneer of culture and style
The DNA of an entrepreneur
Before his businesses grew into pioneers of culture and style, retail has always been something Mike Concepcion dabbled in. Back in his days as a student, he sold sneakers found online and apparel. “I learned the importance of offering something really unique that not only stems from a passion point but something of substance that really offers the market that’s truly worthwhile,” he explains.
Like any other entrepreneur, he recognizes the presence of fears especially in taking risks. It makes sense as he started and developed different ventures from apparel to eyewear to restaurants. As a leader, he assumes many responsibilities and a mistake can disrupt many things along the line. Yet after years of engaging in retail, Mike has learned how to deal with challenges. “Understand these things happen [and] commit to what you do and do it well, and let everything hopefully fall into place,” he says. What is essential is acknowledging having confidence in what one does and offers in the business.
It may come as a surprise to some but Mike’s passions were not the sole inspiration for his businesses. “It always starts with a consumer need: identifying what doesn’t exist and what could’ve done better,” he shares. He emphasizes one’s interests only come secondary in starting a business. “When you’re able to love what you do and it happens to be a business that
works, it could be a perfect combination” continuing “the primary reason you get into business is to create or to fulfill a need for the market.”
Inside the mind of a creative
It is easy to call Mike a thought leader with his unique concepts and his attitude towards developing those into ventures. “I’m very into disrupting industries. I like providing something completely new,” he starts. “I love the idea of coming up with something that no one saw and didn’t connect the dots to get to that point… something that people would say, ‘Oh, why didn’t I think of that?’ That’s where my mind is always,” he illustrates. Though ideas come naturally to Mike and he never runs out of it, he admits he has to restrain himself from overcommitments. “I’m of the philosophy that you have to focus, concentrate, and dominate,” he firmly says. “I really want everything that I do to have substance and to be worthwhile.”
With his busy schedule, one might ask where Mike gets his ideas. The owner of Welcome Worldwide shares he likes consuming content from books, podcasts, and magazines. He is a fan of Ryan Holiday and currently reading the writer’s Obstacle is the Way. Mike delights in great moderators generating and curating content that teaches people to live a good life. For him, it helps in knowing his priorities. “One big thing for me is getting off social media so I don’t have it on my phone anymore,” he reveals. “I may sometimes use it for work but it’s completely done [from] the perspective of work.”
In the digital age, a life without social media may seem impossible but Mike only points out the need to be in the right headspace to achieve more as an individual. “A lot of people understand what they want their bodies to look like but they don’t really know what they want their minds to feel like,” he says. Though he recognizes the value of social media, he recognizes the anxiety, stress, and depression that comes with it. “Everyone is obsessed about what everyone else is doing, and not focusing on themselves. That would be major advice to anyone. I wish I knew that sooner,” he muses.
The future of retail
Since the birth of e-commerce, more entrepreneurs are taking their businesses online. With the convenience it offers to customers, it is no wonder retail seems to be headed in this direction. Mike opened his first e-commerce last month and he is proud of how things are moving so far. “It was difficult to set up but we’re glad we did it,” he says. Yet if every business will take this path, then what will happen to physical stores? The entrepreneur comments, “It’s about bridging both of it together: the importance of online channel [and] of having a store for the full experience… you still want the experience of talking to a really great staff member and of having a similar interest on that brand and talking about the make. It’s a pivot for a lot of retailers.”
With this forward-thinking attitude, Mike is certainly bringing his businesses like Commonwealth to greater heights. Together with his team, he follows market trends. They continue to find and adopt ways to stay relevant across industries. In spite of their successes, Mike emphasizes the team remains humble. “We never feel like we’re good enough. We’re always learning, always [trying to] be better.” Thus, they welcome constructive feedback. “We love anything [that would] potentially [have us] say, ‘Oh thanks for letting us know. We’ll be better for you,'” he says.
Though Mike is in a position of influence, he never forgets about the people he loves, the ones who always support him. He mentions them when asked his definition of a meaningful life. “[It’s] a life where the people around me are taken care of and [are] generally happy.” He continues, “I want to create experiences, I want to better my society [and] to better the city I live in… I feel like I can offer something to the industry, to the city, and everything I do is in line with trying to do that. Everything else that comes with it is secondary.”
Photos: PATRICK DIOKNO
Art Direction: PAU DE MESA
Grooming: BYRON VELASQUEZ of MAC COSMETICS
Styling: BRYAN SOCHAYSENG and GEE JOCSON assisted by MODESTY MAE EUGENIO
Shoot Coordination: ALY TIMOG
Special thanks: MARC PAGDILAO
Shot on location at COMMONWEALTH, POWER PLANT MALL