Betting on statement shirts

Taga: The Origin’s co-owners Maureen Eliot (left) and Noreen Tormis are surprised at the favorable response to their pro-local clothing line products.

Two women entrepreneurs, co-owners of clothing line business, eye Sinulog market

With the close of the year and the start of a new one, most local entrepreneurs are looking forward to a major event in Cebu in January — the Sinulog celebration. These include 40-year-old Noreen Tormis and 24-year-old Maureen Joy Eliot, co-owners of their newly launched business, who are setting their eyes on getting a slice of the Sinulog market.

Tormis and Eliot are hoping to further grow their nearly a month-old business as they recalled how their instant ideas caused them to change their careers to set up their pro-local clothing line venture called Taga: The Origin.

Their Taga business was launched on Dec. 15, 2017, barely two weeks since they first discussed the concept.

“Everything happened so fast. One time Mau visited me at work, the next week we decided to give it a go then we left our jobs,” said Tormis.

Taga concept, designs

Taga’s brand concept is taking pride of where one came from and to promote local tourism.

“The idea of Taga is just like how we understand the term ‘taga’ which answers the question ‘Where are you from?’, ” said Eliot.

“For someone so proud of where one came from, being able to wear it as a statement, is something that we would look forward to,” Tormis added.

Taga T-shirt designs came in 6 colors initially: black, gray, white, yellow, red, and green. The first designs that were launched on December were ‘taga-statements’ for Lapu-lapu City (Taga-Opon), Mandaue City (Taga-Mandaue), and Cebu City (Taga-Sugbu).

In two weeks after the clothing line was launched, Tormis said that they were overwhelmed by the response of the Cebuanos through their social media page.

“We are just so glad of the turnout. There are so many people sending inquiries through the page already, which we did not expect on our very first week,” said Tormis.

Taga owners use social media to market their products. The T-shirt design samples and size chart can also be browsed on Tormis and Eliot’s Facebook page.

“Most of the young generation are always online. We want to make use of that edge to penetrate our market,” said Tormis.


Marketing a product is not new to either Tormis or Eliot since their marketing jobs became the gateway to their partnership.

Tormis, who is a single mother of two, has been in the marketing and media industry for years. She was a marketing writer for Cebu Daily News before she became an executive producer for a regional TV network. She later joined a print media group where she handled the account of a hotel where Eliot also worked as a marketing executive.

“We basically knew each other because of our jobs, then we became friends until we came to the point that we wanted to switch jobs,” Tormis said.
Meanwhile, the idea of a business is never new to Eliot.

“I’ve been a very business-minded person since I can remember,” she said.

Eliot, who is from Puerto Princesa in Palawan, said she got her business mindset from her parents, who raised the family, through their fruit business.

She was with the marketing department of a hotel in Cebu before she collaborated with Tormis on their new venture.

“We have been working for our bosses for a long time. I think it’s just time that we use our talents for us to grow in the business industry,” said Eliot.


With the fast-approaching festivities on January, Taga has also made available Sinulog design shirts that come in a set with either a headdress, a dream catcher or a bracelet with a drawstring bag as packaging.

“We want to provide them with designs that they can actually use throughout the year. The designs are very minimalist so that they can still have their freedom if they want to reinvent it or how they want to wear it,” said Eliot.

In its Sinulog pack, Taga reiterates its cause to support local craftsmanship with the accessories being designed and handmade by Cebuano artist Carlo Rodriguez of Lilila Primitive Art.


Eliot said that they would have wanted to jointly launch the Sinulog T-shirts with their shopping website on February, but they could not ignore the demand and the opportunities presented by the Sinulog celebration.

Aside from the Taga clothing line, a shopping website is also a project to look forward to for Tormis and Eliot.

“It’s still in the works. It’s not only for Taga but also for other local sellers. It’s an online shop with a regionalistic touch,” said Eliot.


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