Princess Peach and Princess Paisley Tan are two sisters who’ve built a brand of their own– Atelier Princess & Princess.
In the competitive fashion industry, these two Chinoys were able to rise up from the competition through their bespoke pieces. Celebrities and influencers like Sue Ramirez, Maymay Entrata, and our very own CHiNOY TV Host, Janeena Chan have worn their work. You may have also heard about them through their LED-lit gowns which made headlines in the news!
The led-lit gowns
We were able to get an exclusive interview with the sisters. Check it out here:
What started your interest in fashion, considering that not many Chinoys go into this industry?
Princess Peach: When I was younger, I never considered that I would end up working in fashion. However, there was a point that decided to take up fashion, a lot of people were wary of it. Chinoys believe that art is not business, it is only a hobby. This let me doubt my choice, as almost everyone is saying it. Then I realized that I always have a tendency in choosing a different option. So I just seize my choice like failing is not an option and slowly make my own path to a different opportunity.
Princess Paisley: In all honesty, I wanted a simple and stable life. This is why I took up a corporate course upon entering college. I wanted to just have enough for my needs. However, it turned out, that path wasn’t for me.
I took the leap and shifted my course without hesitation because I heard a calling within me. There were doubts and uncertainties, but you also have to stand firm to what you believe in.
“Fashion as an expression became a place for my sister and I to keep growing, working, creating, pushing, and pouring our hearts.”
What was it like growing up in a Chinoy family?
Princess Peach: It is a blessing to grow up in a Chinese-Filipino household, either traditional or not. It has taught me to be both family-oriented and business-minded. Whilst this upbringing may not have directly helped lead me to the fashion industry, being business-minded certainly did. The Chinoy belief that a good business should be able to sustain you helped me to push my passion into my business.
Princess Paisley: Growing up in a Chinoy family had pros and cons. In our family, they were practical and driven yet emotional and loving, close, and toxic yet healthy and respectful. There was a balance between being conditional and unconditional. At such a young age, you become curious to question things around you and where to place yourself. You become mindful and mature immediately.
The truth for most Chinese families, they always drive us to earn money on our own. They push us to take professional jobs as they provide a high rate of salary. Their love, I would say, is a tough kind of love. They always wanted the best for us, but they also sometimes hurt you, forget what you feel and think. Fashion as an expression became a place for my sister and I to keep growing, working, creating, pushing, and pouring our hearts.
“My sister and I would have never imagined opening up a business at the age of 20 and 22.”
Why did both of you decide to work under one brand and what made both of you decide to transform your art into a business?
Princess Peach: It is hard to start a business, so having a partner makes it a lot easier. I think that there is no more suitable partner than my sister. I have frequently heard others say that when you enter into business, do so with family rather than friends. My father has always said that he wants my sister and me to work together because he tells us that family will always be the best people to help you.
As Chinoys, we are high-risk takers, so my sister and I took a leap of faith to turn our art in business at a young age.
Princess Paisley: My sister and I would have never imagined opening up a business at the age of 20 and 22. We both knew that it was impractical and there was still a lot more to learn, before opening up one. It was on the right timing, that our ama angkong suddenly decided to celebrate their 50th anniversary. I just shifted my course back then, and my sister was in her 4th year in college. We had little to less knowledge to create gowns. Our ama and angkong demanded us to create the whole entourage, including her wedding dress. It was a lot of pressure for both of us, as we had a month to accomplish over 10 dresses. It was a tough kind of training from a Chinoy family. They will support you, yet constructively criticize your flaws and creations. You have to really know where to stand and keep in the right mind, that your family only say hurtful things because they want the best for you. Criticisms hurt within your family, but they will hurt more when they come from other people. Because your family will always tell you the truth. It was a good training ground for my sister and me.
Our business launched a month after we created our grandparent’s 50th-anniversary gowns. It took us a time to pass by the challenge, celebrate, and heal. Then a month later, my sister and I also saw the opportunity to jumpstart our business.
Princess Peach Tan
Like any family business, there will always be struggles. What is it like working together from that standpoint?
Princess Peach: When my sister and I were starting out, a lot of people would be surprised that we were young. There were a lot of compliments, comments, and complaints that it was surprisingly overwhelming. There will come to a point that you just want to stop and give up. But then you’ll just realize that struggles are inevitable. They come from any and everywhere and sometimes from the people you least expect. I have learned this through my journey. Although, honestly, I am now thankful for the struggles, because they are stimuli that have helped our business improve and grow.
Princess Paisley: My sister and I never had a problem with handling our business. We may have had small quarrels on little things, but after a few minutes, we let go and forgive each other. We always had a good relationship with regards to our partnered business. We have built our trust with each other through the triumphs and challenges that we have faced. It is always important to unconditionally give, love, respect, and listen, without expecting anything in return. We never let money ruin our relationship. We never count how many times we give or receive. We just do it because we like it, it is the right thing or we simply love it.
“It is always important to unconditionally give, love, respect, and listen, without expecting anything in return.”
Out of all the pieces you’ve created, which one is your favorite or is the most memorable for you?
Princess Peach: My project runway piece during my college years is still one of my most memorable and one of my favorites. The challenge was to only use synthetic fabrics and I decided to use PVC plastic and synthetic leather. I made the dress within a week and had to repeat it 3 times and the last day before presenting it, the zipper broke. I was on the verge of giving up because it was already past midnight, but I did not. I fixed it with whatever I could find and still managed to get 2nd prize.
Princess Paisley: It’s so hard to pick from all the pieces we have made throughout the years. I think every piece we have made, had a story we can tell and brings so much value to us. Every piece made has experienced much love, a challenge to create, and beauty of triumph in it.
Princess Paisley Tan
There are many misconceptions regarding the Chinoy identity. With your work, is there a stereotype you’re hoping to break?
Princess Peach: I hope we can break the stereotype that we only got successful because we might have some connections in comparison that we have worked hard for it.
Princess Paisley: One misconception I would say is that Chinoys are kuripot. The success of our business reflects that Chinoys aren’t kuripot. In fact, I think that Chinoys are fun-loving people who love and support each other. Our business thrives because of all the people who continue to trust, help, and support us.
There are a lot of misconceptions around, I hope our work inspires them to break those stereotypes. Our work reflects that every piece and person has their own unique story to tell. Never judge them, but remain a patient open heart to listen first.
What advice can you give to young Chinoys who want to work in creative fields?
Princess Peach: There are no easy routes to enter an industry. Little steps will take you there, do not give up and believe in yourself. Be thankful and be sure to learn from criticism, both positive and negative.
Princess Paisley: The creative field is a competitive place to be in. You have to always believe in something you think is reasonable and rational, yet also learn to listen and pick up the right amount of noise around. Never work for the money or glamour, but continue to give and love unconditionally. Sometimes take a leap, but never expect, and you will be surprised by the things that will come your way. When you put your heart into it, there’s nothing you cannot attain. Be patient.
And that’s it for our Q & A with the Princess Tan sisters.
Check out their Facebook page: Atelier Princess and Princess, IG: @princesstansisters, and their website: princesstansisters.com/!