Bernie Liu, an architect by profession, is an entrepreneur at heart with a dream and a vision. In 1986, right after the People Power Revolution, Bernie together with close friends from college and supported by his family who were then garments manufacturers, conceptualized, produced and marketed an initial product line of one-sized T-shirts with catchy prints–all targeted at the youth market. And so Penshoppe was born! Today, the merchandise mix of Penshoppe, the anchor brand of Golden ABC Inc. a Cebu-based corporation where Bernie serves as the chief executive officer, boasts an extensive collection of casual wear that lives up to international standards of quality fabrics and exciting designs. It likewise features basic and fashionable accessories. It even offers body and bath personal care products. Currently, it has 80 company-owned boutiques and over 300 concessionaires in department stores and specialty shops nationwide. Oxygen, the second brand, caters to the alternative, more fashion-forward young crowd.
Within the Metro Manila area and other more progressive cities in the country, it has 30 shops and over a hundred in-store outlets. “Our unflagging focus on the 13 to 20 age bracket market enables our trademarks to adopt to their evolving lifestyle and preferences,” says Bernie. Active as a member of the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity Philippines wherein he heads the Visayas Advisory and the Youth Build Councils among other civic and professional affiliations, Bernie has won various entrepreneur and retail awards.
The citations include The Success Story of the Millennium-Entrepreneurship Category at the 16th Philippine Advertising Congress in 1999, the Agora Award for Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship by the Philippine Marketing Association and the Outstanding Filipino Retailer for two consecutive years (2000 and 2001) by the Philippine Retailers Association. In December last year, the Philippine Junior Jaycees at the awarding ceremonies at Malacanang Palace chose him as ne of The Outstanding Young Filipinos for 2001. Raised in a deeply-rooted Catholic family, he considers himself an instrument to a cause that promotes better lives, as he pursues the growth of his business while he offers an alternative pop teen culture where clean fun, love for life and homegrown moral values are espoused. Married to the former Alice Tio with whom he has three children, Bernie Liu is a firm believer of the dictum pray hard, work hard and play hard.
He admires the Holy Father, Sun Tsu and Thomas Alba Edison as honest-to-goodness geniuses. Late last week, I joined Bernie and his fascinating wife Alice for a leisurely lunch, where he said that the three traits he looks for in a friend are “honesty, sincerity and integrity,” and admitted that the three things he would never do are “sing solo in front of a crowd, be the first in line at a buffet dinner party and answer a call on my mobile during Mass . “