Alumna designs career path towards fashion

After an interest in nursing dissipated and classes for health education were impacted, Mayette Delos Santos defaulted to an unsure educational path in business, a major that prepared her for a career at major online boutique Tobi. 

The California-based startup has offices in the Bay Area and Los Angeles and serves more than 150 countries around the world. The company’s mission is to provide high quality clothing and fashion at affordable, accessible prices.

Delos Santos, 24, has served as the community coordinator for the online boutique for six months but it was a journey of six years to get to where she is today. 

With a concentration in marketing at SF State, Delos Santos was involved in Associated Students Inc., as a senior representative and was working on campus at the Office of Academic Planning in the Administration building.

“I was doing a lot at that time and I wanted experience in my marketing major so I quit the on-campus job and landed a job in downtown Oakland for an electrical company,” Santos said. “It was something very foreign to me but I decided to give it a shot.”

After six months on the job, Delos Santos said she resigned to venture outside of her comfort zone and find a more passionate trade. 

SF State alumna Mayette Santos, community coordinator of the clothing website TOBI, takes a moment of her work day at the office in South San Francisco Monday, March 2. (Zhenya Sokolova / Xpress)

SF State alumna Mayette Santos, community coordinator of the clothing website TOBI, takes a moment of her work day at the office in South San Francisco Monday, March 2. (Zhenya Sokolova / Xpress)

“I felt like at that job, I wasn’t going anywhere or learning anything new and I felt stuck and that’s never a position you want to be in,” Santos said. “So after half a year on the job I decided either I stay in something I’m really comfortable in or take a leap of faith.” 

Following that leap of faith and after working a short time in retail, the SF State alumna said she found herself perusing Craigslist for a job that would offer her more stability and a stepping stone toward a career she would enjoy. That is when she discovered an advertisement for a customer service stylist at Tobi. 

“Clothes have always been a thing of mine,” Delos Santos said. “I’ve always liked shopping so I thought I might as well do something that interests me.”

Shortly after working as a stylist, Delos Santos was presented with an opportunity to become Tobi’s community coordinator, whose main responsibility is to reach out to fashion bloggers to showcase the brand’s clothing through social media and fashion blogs.

“I feel like the position I’m in now is catering to a demographic that we otherwise can’t reach,” Delos Santos said. “It’s kind of nice because customers get to see the clothes on an actual person rather than it being on a model.”

Since beginning the role, Delos Santos said she and her colleague Ingrid Liggayu have built relationships with more than 500 local and reputable fashion bloggers.

“(Delos Santos) always makes communication personal, whether it be with customers or bloggers,” Liggayu said. “That’s important since at the end of the day, the key to a successful business is the relationships you build.” 

It was those partnerships formed with fashion bloggers that have created a new platform that intriuged a new group of customers for the online boutique, who can now envision the clothing on the “average girl,” Delos Santos said. 

“The one thing that I most enjoy is seeing the customers and bloggers wearing our clothing and feeling comfortable in our clothing, it says a lot,” she said. “It’s the most satisfying part of my job.”

Delos Santos described a very young and open atmosphere at Tobi, where it does not matter if employees are just starting, a seasoned employee or the CEO, everyone is approachable and works as a team, she said. 

“(Delos Santos) was one of the first people I met my first day at Tobi. She was so friendly and immediately made me feel at ease in my new work environment,” said coworker Muna Ibrahim. “She has a unique, creative eye and a passion for the work that she does, and it’s truly apparent in her work ethic.”

Even though this was an unexpected path, Delos Santos said she is confident in what she has contributed to the company and sees a bright future for herself as she moves up the professional ladder.

“When I first came to Tobi, they asked me what I was looking for and I told them I’m looking for a company that has the ability to provide me with such growth,” Delos Santos said. “And in just a year, I did not expect myself to be in this position. It’s been a good year.”

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