In 2016, Michael brought in Commonwealth, a streetwear and sneaker boutique from the U.S. owned by Filipino-Americans Omar Quiambao and Larry Incognito. On social media, Commonwealth tantalizes sneakerheads with teasers of Yeezy raffles and Fear of God drops. The store carries a range of obscure Adidas collaborations along with clothing labels like Neighborhood, APC, Human Made, and Nanamica, which again, are a mix of the edgy and the cultish and the uniquely Japanese. With three branches of Ronnie and Joe and two branches of Commonwealth, Michael’s raising an emerging retail empire serving a highly attuned market that is thirsting for, and what’s more, can afford these niche brands.
Early next year, Michael will be unveiling the as-of-yet super-secret Aesop store, adding luxury skincare to his portfolio. Iconic for its amber bottles and clinically designed labels, the Australian brand is also known for appearing in the bathrooms of fancy restaurants and hotels around the world. He's gathered these brands under Welcome Worldwide, a company he formed relatively recently, judging by the zero posts the account has on Instagram. That’s not all, however—Michael’s got his finger in the restaurant pie as well, working with his father, John Concepcion, on the Standard Hospitality Group, which owns Yabu, Ippudo, Mighty Quinn, and Elephant Grounds. Chances are, you’re already their customer.
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“A lot of what we do is synergistic and we see how these things connect, there’s a keen understanding of who we’re trying to sell to, and what narratives we’re trying to tell, whether that’s through food, skincare, sneakers, eyewear,” says Michael. “We see this as part of an ecosystem or universe we’re trying to build.” The mark of any successful entrepreneur is the ability to identify a gap in the market and fill that gap, but also staying on top of the game. “I think I’m just very lucky that I entered into this space when it was still early days,” he says. “I think five years later, if someone wants to put up an eyewear or sneaker concept, it’s been done, and you’d have to approach it from a completely new angle.”