Moms and Dads

The Real-Life Fairy Godmother: Inday Shopper

Fairytale princesses get glass slippers and a ball gown. Real-life ones splurge on designer purses and heels — and Mello Briones, also known as Inday Shopper, makes luxury wishes come true.

This story first came out in Modern Parenting’s 2022 print edition.

We often wonder how celebrity and society moms always seem to be up-to-date with the latest trends, considering their schedules and social calendars are filled to the brim. This brings us to a working mom of two, Mello Hazel Briones, otherwise known in shoppers’ circles as the ever-trustworthy Inday Shopper. The name “Inday” had always been a term of endearment, proving her trustworthiness and honor as a personal shopper of highly coveted items. A specialist in bringing in luxury goods for the rich, famous, and fabulous, she shares with Modern Parenting her experiences in purchasing luxury items for her clients — many of them good, some unimaginable.

Mello Briones, Inday Shopper

Inday Shopper: A Busy Woman’s Secret Arsenal

What originally was just a favor for a friend then developed into a full-fledged business — Mello began building her profile with designer brands such as Chanel and Gucci, traveling as far as Florence to procure pieces for her discerning clients. “Majority of my customers are usually very busy like CEOs,” Mello shares.

“But nowadays, I bring in all sorts of luxury goods. And sometimes, it can be difficult to get these luxury items because you need to build a good rapport with the sales associates. It’s what I learned from first bringing in Hermes Bags. The transition of the Hermes Bag is now evolving; people now know everything and there’s an it bag. Back then, people didn’t even know what material it was made of — leather or whatnot.”

Mello’s efforts in establishing herself as the fairy godmother for the busy allowed her ever-growing base of clients to realize the convenience she offered. “I would physically travel to get the bag. It saves them the trouble dealing with customs and the sort. But one of my most unforgettable ones was the one when I had to go to Hong Kong to bring back a bag on December 24,” she shares.

Today, her client base has expanded to different parts of the world such as Hong Kong, the US, and even Nigeria. Mello says her role as shopper is important in adding more value to an already luxurious item. “As a personal shopper, I see myself as the one who helps create a resale value. Otherwise, it’s just a simple bag. Personal shoppers create the hype.”

As someone who has been dealing with luxury items for a while now, the million-peso question remains: can she spot a fake? Mello laughs, “Sometimes, I can even smell it!”

Beyond the Business of Bags

Although designer purses remain in high demand, Mello knew she couldn’t stop at luxury bags alone. “I forced myself even to study diamonds,” Mello shares, adding that she learned the intricate knowledge of grading diamonds at HRD Antwerp, the European counterpart of the Gemological Institute of America “because it was so interesting.”

As Mello’s clientele grew, so did the items she shopped for: aside from jewelry, women liked shoes and bags, while men had an affinity for watches.

Those were the usual things in Mello’s cart as Inday Shopper. But those who could afford these luxury brands also asked her to buy peculiar items. “There were a lot of crazy things I’ve bought,” she realized. “An Hermes Bike—as in a normal pedal bike! —made of wood, a bag with diamonds— many of these things I wouldn’t even imagine buying!”

Despite shopping being one of the more enjoyable aspects of her job, she shares she’s more invested in fulfilling the dreams of those who wish to own a luxury good. The heart she pours into the business is what makes her stand out amid the thick competition, aside from her reputation and credibility. “Inday Shopper is 100 percent registered as a business. Although there are other personal shoppers out there, it’s still interesting to me that there are people who willingly send a lot of money even though they have not seen the item. But that’s because there’s a sense of trust and they know that the shopper is credible,” she says.

Mello Briones, Inday Shopper

The Fairy Godmother as a Mother

Mello lives in Flemish, Belgium with her family yet her job as fairy godmother and purveyor of luxury goods continues to take her places. Despite living abroad, Mello shares that her Filipino heritage and values guide her in her parenting style. The mom of two shares that she also wants her kids to grow up proud of their heritage as Filipinos. “There was a time my son came home, feeling bad, that someone told him he was Chinese! I told him that there are places in the world where racism still exists but those were the times he had to stand strong. But when we return to the Philippines, I wanted to show them that they are so lucky that there are kids who are not as fortunate as them,” she recounts.

That said, Mello ensures she still carves out time for her kids, eight-year-old Jamila and 14-year[1]old Judeus. “When you’re a career woman, it’s hard to split it and that you’re good on two sides. But I just want to make sure that the kids and I have activities together. Like, we go swimming or biking. We have activities together.”

More about wish-granting?

Bianca Gonzalez Grants Lucia’s 7th Birthday Wish
Modern Parenting’s Mother’s Day Wishlist 2022
Why Puss in Boots: The Last Wish Shows Different Types of Families

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