Kylie Verzosa makes a business case for what is sexy | Inquirer Business

Kylie Verzosa makes a business case for what is sexy

Kylie Verzosa makes a business case for what is sexy

UP-LIFT-ING Beauty queen, actress, and entrepreneur Kylie Verzosa, founder of the shapewear brand Sola, says cinching the waist is not all about hiding one’s insecurities. —RICHARD A. REYES

While the Verzosas of Baguio were known for the iconic Forest House restaurant up until its sudden closure in 2020, their daughter Kylie went on to try a different business altogether: show biz. But the sense of entrepreneurship was never lost on the 32-year-old who switched routes—winning the Miss International pageant in 2016, among others—after collecting her Business Management diploma at the Ateneo de Manila University.

These days, Verzosa is keeping herself busy attending film festivals in Cannes and acting in director-centric movies while also managing her own business: Sola, a shapewear brand catering to the Asian body type.


In an interview with the Inquirer, she says she wants to be known as an “actress, model and businesswoman” all at the same time, fueling her multihyphenate dreams a la Gwyneth Paltrow or Jessica Alba, two of her many business icons, with a startup that she can easily meld into her show biz career.


READ: Kylie Verzosa announces first business venture

“We studied the Philippine market, we wanted to see where we could enter, a place to start and something that I’m passionate about. And one of that is fashion. I love fashion. I was exposed to that,” Verzosa says.

Those tight-fitting underwear taking one’s breath away, literally and figuratively, while also sculpting the figure would always come in handy—whether underneath gowns for Binibining Pilipinas runways or dominatrix costumes for a movie character.

“It’s been under my pageant gowns. I have worn it to ‘Pedro Penduko’ for my action scenes … I was in shapewear … it has always been a part of my career and journey,” she says.

Verzosa also took the sexy route, so to speak, by choosing to sell shapewear. “I wondered how come there’s no local brand here that mainly focuses on shapewear. Thinking about it, too, what do I want a shapewear to be? I also want it to be aesthetically pleasing [enough] to wear as a top,” she says.

Partners, investors

Verzosa does not reveal how much was invested into the business. While she has partners in the venture, she says she dipped deep into her own pockets to make the concept work.


Research and development took almost a year. She and her team went abroad to look for the right materials and equipment to make the tricky designs she had envisioned.

Shapewear, for one, is not just simple lingerie. It’s not only cinching the waist but also making sure that butts are lifted and breasts, perky.

“So it’s finding the right lift … [details like] the compression here is tighter than the compression there,” she says as she shows parts of the garment like a scientist would show a specimen.

Sola, she explains, is a play on two concepts. Sola is Latin for “sun” and also a “woman who can stand on her own.”

So while women empowerment is at the core of the brand’s messaging, Verzosa says there is no disconnect when a woman wants to hide her flabs.

“I can say the same with makeup, why would you want to hide your natural beauty when you’re already beautiful? Sometimes, you need that extra push, that extra support, extra lift. You’re beautiful just the way you are … but sometimes we always need that extra lift and support. It’s worth investing in, and so we do that for you,” she says.

At the time of the interview, she revealed she was wearing one of her products because she felt “bloated” having come from a flight days before.

Kylie Verzosa makes a business case for what is sexyDifferent body types

As the woman behind Sola, it would only be natural to model for the brand. But Verzosa says Sola represents many body sizes.

“I know that I can only represent my body, and I have just one body and there are so many different kinds of women’s bodies out there. Sola is not just about me … In our campaign, there are six different types of [models]. They are all represented,” she says.

The current line, from a swimwear-type structure to a hip hugger, would easily attract the young and the “Coachella” crowd especially with its versatility. However, she was surprised to learn that “a lot of moms buy the shapewear just because it’s good for postpartum and it’s safe to wear for postpartum, but of course I advise you to consult your doctor.”

She says younger women buy for the aesthetic and older women buy it for the function.

There are also the drag queens, who were fairly represented during the product launch.

“I love the LGBTQ. They’re my best friends. They are my mentors. I love them so much. And of course (Sola) is for all genders,” she says.

Future plans

Sola was introduced just four months ago, but Verzosa says it’s now making a profit. At a makeshift warehouse inside a spacious office along Guadalupe, rows and rows of shelves are now empty, just waiting for a new batch of replenishments.

With a team of around 40 behind her, sales and marketing can be a breeze. She says she’s also thankful they have a good fulfillment partner for each product sold (or returned) via their website, Lazada, and Shopee pages.

“There’s really a demand for shapewear,” she notes.

What’s in store for Sola? Verzosa does not want to reveal her next plans just yet, saying only that she’s open to expanding the line: be it shapewear for men, ready-to-wear clothes, and even makeup.

As for her journey as an entrepreneur, she says she wants to keep on transforming herself.

Putting up her own restaurant is also not out of the picture. The Verzosa family is currently busy running Venus Garden, a by-reservation fine-dining concept that replaced Forest House.

For sure, the food industry is in her DNA. “My father is my best friend and mentor,” she adds.

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“I’m still growing and still learning … the Kylie in five years will probably be better than the now,” she says.

TAGS: entrepreneur, investor

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