Mausio’s journey

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Michael Mausio. Picture: SUPPLIED

Managing the relationship you have with your customer is crucial to many businesses and even more so in the fashion industry where clothes are more than something to wear.

Michael Mausio has used the pandemic and the lulls and lows during the crisis to get to know the people who wear his “House of Mausio” pieces.

And seems to have found consistent success as a result of it.

Young yet now an established fashion house having shown collections at almost all of Fiji Fashion Week (FJFW) shows, the young business executive-turned-fashion designer brought lessons from other businesses into House of Mausio.

The most important among those lessons is the value of customer relationship management or as he describes it, listening.

“It was mostly a trial and error run ever since I started fashion and so I would just choose to focus on women first, then the men, then children.

“But the returns on that investment and so I started to look at how some of the bigger fashion houses worked for their markets.

“We took the time to get to know our clients, to listen to what they want and to tailor our style to respond to that.”

The House of Mausio style could be described as island chic, a celebration of the loud vibrant colours which depict the tropical paradise that the Pacific is with prints which are drawn from traditional motifs of island customs.

He is unapologetic about bringing Pacific back into mainstream fashion wear.

“My products are primarily based around Pacific prints. I look to more traditional prints and then incorporate the latest trends in terms of style, cuts that are trending right now in Europe and in America.

“But we wanted to give our customers, who are mostly rubenesque island women, beautiful silhouettes while keeping it truly Pacific in terms of our prints and colours. But we also want to make sure that while they tend to be more voluptuous, our Pacific bodies are beautiful and should be shown that way.”

That meant making sure that while they could get corporate looks for the office or dramatic flair for event outfits, each House of Mausio piece is something the customer can stand out in while feeling comfortable.

It led to changes in pattern making and fabric cuts, modified and redesigned to suit the curves and form of the modern Pacific women, that is to say customers who want to feel comfortable in their own skin.

Those changes produced success at the opening of Michael’s new boutique on Suva city’s Pier St.

Now a definite stop on the fashion traffic of Fiji’s fashion forward customer base, House of Mausio’s stock turnover is high as Michael churns out new collections regularly.

“Since we have started to listen to our customers, our designs are a big hit and we are creating new collections to put out there quite regularly.

“We have stuck to our signature look which is a focus on Pacific prints and colours but changing the cuts to make room for the Pacific body has made a difference.”

With that market segment taken care of, Michael is going for a muted look for FJFW x Palmolive which takes place from May 21 to 28 at the Vodafone Arena, Suva.

Drawing from the look, colours and feel of the Pacific pearl, the new collection will also be quite unlike Michael’s recent look for the fit to the form look by giving the new pieces some room to breathe.

“It is going to be more flowy and loose and so it is very different from what we are used to. We are changing our design concept to be soft rather than fitting with darker and lighter shades instead of using every colour in the rainbow.”

Taking his cue from the rejuvenated success of Pacific, particularly Fijian pearls in the global jewellery market, the House of Mausio is creating garments to complement the pearls.

Bringing back a lot of loose cuts, Michael is focused on his specific clientele who he said have grown with his business, both figuratively and literally.

“We know who our clients are now and their sizes have changed along with changes to their lifestyle and we want to always make sure we serve them first. So you can expect a lot of changes to our look at Fiji Fashion Week 2022.”

“The main thing I want people to feel is beautiful and comfortable in our designs.

“We try to make sure that the garment is comfortable on our women and to flatter their body. We don’t want a customer to feel like our pieces aren’t for them.”

The House of Mausio will show at the 15th edition of FJFW alongside Fiji’s leading designers and featuring invited international designers from May 21-28.

Michael’s new line will show at the “Resort Cruise” show on Friday, May 27 at 6pm.

Row A tickets for the 15th FJFW are now sold out.

Tickets begin at $15 and are available via tickets@fijifashionweek.com.fj.

 

• Lice Movono is a freelance journalist and independent public relations advisor.

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