- Manila FAME October 2019 features the stories of two rags-to-riches shoe-makers from one of the shoe capitals of the country.
Upon reaching the quaint town of Liliw, Laguna, you will already see rows and rows of footwear makers and distributors lined up along the cobbled street of Gat Tayaw. Here, they offer different shoe designs in export quality that became one of the many if not the main reason tourists are attracted to Liliw.
Determined to make it big in the shoe industry, two homegrown shoe makers heed the call of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to join trade exhibits not only to widen their market but to hone their entrepreneurial skills.
Just a year in the business, Ai-She Footwear already made its first foray in Manila FAME. Owner Corazon Coligado’s marketing approach was to actively join DTI’s regional and national trade fairs. This paved the way for opportunities she never imagined could happen on her first year and first try in Manila FAME.
“Because of Manila FAME, we are now a long way from retaining two employees and having a small nipa hut as a makeshift factory. Our first exhibit in the Manila FAME marked our very first export to Panama,” Coligado excitedly said.
After the success of her first participation in Manila FAME, it has become a yearly ritual for the Coligado’s. Her husband no longer needs to work as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and can stay with the family to help manage a growing company with workers that grew from two to 10 and now 60.
Ai-She’s mere nipa hut turned into a full-blown factory located in a vast land where the Coligado family now lives and where their employees have a place to raise their families.
“In Manila FAME, we meet new foreign clients every year. We were also able to join international exhibitions like the China-Asean Expo,” Coligado added.
Ai-she’s main raw material is abaca, a leaf fiber abundant in the Philippines. They use it for their most famous product, the espadrilles.
“To keep the interest of our local and international clients, we keep on developing new designs. We also source from areas such as Zamboanga and Ilocos as they deliver high-grade raw materials perfect to maintain the quality of our products,” Coligado explained.
“Our shoes are specially handcrafted and fully Filipino. I think that is our edge in the global marketplace. But, having a platform like Manila FAME to showcase our products is really the secret to our success that is why I am urging other aspiring SME’s to join Manila FAME,” she shared.
“Shoe-making is already in my blood, that is why at the first test of fate, I came back to this industry that I love most,” said Nephtali Moneda, Owner of Jhaz Footwear.
Jhaz has an interesting story to tell. As teenage love blossomed to couple Nephtali and Elvira, they felt the heavy burden of supporting a family. Opportunely, the livelihood that saved them also led them to great success.
The business started from just borrowing shoe stocks from friends and reselling them to different provinces around the country. The income generated were used to support their growing family, but they made sure to save, enabling them to open their own shoe stall at a then bakery stand.
In a place where throngs of creative shoe-makers were everywhere, Nephtali needed a venue to market his shoe designs and elevate his game. He found an opportunity when he was introduced to the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Nephtali’s first Manila FAME was way back in 2011. This edition introduced Jhaz to a Japanese buyer who has been their client ever since.
“Manila FAME made a big impact to our little shoe business. My mind was opened to export possibilities and opportunities and we were obligated to further develop our factory and our products,” Mr. Moneda added.
The success they reaped from hard work and smart ventures rippled in their community. Aside from employing 20 people in their factory, they also support households composed of 90-100 individuals who handle their abaca braiding, embroidery and other side jobs they can offer.
“We met clients in Manila FAME that really appreciate and patronize Filipino products. That is really different from just waiting for clients to visit your store. It really pays to have a channel to present your products,” Moneda ended.
The Manila FAME is slated on 17-19 October 2019, at the World Trade Center Metro Manila in Pasay City, Philippines. It is positioned as the country’s best platform to discover Filipino design and lifestyle products.
Manila FAME is one of the longest-running trade shows in Asia-Pacific and the first trade event in the country approved by the Union des Foires Internationales (UFI), the global association of the world’s leading tradeshow organizers and fairground owners, exhibition associations, and selected partners of the exhibition industry.
CITEM, the export promotion arm of DTI, organizes the Manila FAME as a signature event dedicated to Philippine design and craftsmanship.
Manila FAME is a launch pad for new Filipino export products and advocates for the promotion of Filipino talents in the global design industry.
Learn more about Manila FAME on www.manilafame.com. To receive show updates, follow Manila FAME on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
- DTI-CITEM tapped stylist André Chang to lead the agency’s product development initiative for the fashion sector in the upcoming edition of Manila FAME.
If you are looking for OOTD inspirations that are more on the flamboyant and vibrant side, look no further than Manila-based stylist, André Chang. With his visually striking geometric outfits and colorful ensembles, he is sure to draw attention and double takes wherever he goes.
Apart from being a stylist, he also works as a product and brand consultant and has worked for numerous campaigns and fashion shows for brands like Uniqlo, Forever 21, Folded & Hung and SM Malls to name a few.
This year, he takes on a product designer role for the fashion sector of Manila FAME’s recurring product development initiative.
“I feel like working with local entrepreneurs is such an honor for me because I believe in Filipino talent,” said Chang. “There’s so much creativity, expression and ideas from local brands. To be part of that and to be able to collaborate with these people and these brands is a huge thing for me.”
The upcoming edition of Manila FAME will once again hold its product development program through the Design Commune. This initiative aims to connect the country’s top designers with the local community’s up-and-coming fashion and design brands. The program provides them with an opportunity to collaborate and create new pieces that blend the designer’s vision with the exhibitor’s medium and style. The Design Commune will feature and highlight the results of these partnerships at the upcoming trade show to be held at the World Trade Center Metro Manila, Pasay City, Philippines.
“There’s actually a lot to look forward to,” explained Chang about the April edition of Manila FAME. “To come in as a product designer and see all these brands come together under one roof and witness all the creative designs that they come up with every season, is like being a kid in a candy shop.”
Chang visited each of the fashion exhibitors to collaborate with them and get a better sense of their respective brand identities and who they are as artists. In every meeting, Chang sketched multiple designs inspired by the artistic elements from the exhibitor’s product lineup and his own interpretation of “Heritage Reimagined,” the theme for this year’s Manila FAME. The purpose of these meetings is to create tailor-fit products that seamlessly blend the existing styles and mediums of the exhibitors with the fresh design inputs from Chang.
The exhibitors take the sketches and begin working on the new designs to present at the trade show. These fashion exhibitors that Chang collaborated with come from all over the country, some of which include: renowned Albay-based bag and shoe designer Jelvin Mujar of EMBE Creations whose primary advocacy is to showcase the craftsmanship of the local artisans from his community; art reproduction gallery owner, Gigi Lim of Walls Gallery Quezon City; and Laguna-based shoe designers Corazon Coligado of Ai-She Footwear and Nephtali Moneda of Jhaz Footwear.
What’s New in Manila FAME
In addition to his product designer role for the Design Commune, Chang also served as a fashion consultant to 22 of the country’s rising fashion entrepreneurs and designer commercial brands to introduce the first ever E-Tailer Special Setting. This new initiative will bring the online fashion marketplace to the trade show floor and feature the latest trends in both couture and ready-to-wear fashion.
See André Chang’s designs come to life and all the other talented exhibitors at the Design Commune special setting on April 25-27, 2019, at the World Trade Center Metro Manila, Pasay City, Philippines.
Manila FAME is the Philippines’ premier design and lifestyle event organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
For more information, visit www.manilafame.com
HallONE, the year-round sourcing facility and creative space of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Mission (CITEM), proved coco coir as a unique, sustainable, versatile, and marketable manufacturing material by generating more than PhP 20 million potential export orders of coco coir products at the recently concluded 63rd edition of Manila FAME last April 21-24, 2016 held at the World Trade Center, Pasay City.
Uplifting the humble fiber from its traditional use in horticulture and soil management, HallONE showcased newly developed and innovative coco coir products for the home, fashion, lifestyle, and seasonal décor, drawing remarkable interest from its local and foreign buying companies and receiving a total of 213 inquiries during the Manila FAME event. The HallONE exhibit featured resort footwear, ladies’ shoes, Christmas ornaments and table tops, mats, carpets, mattresses, hanging and table lamps, vases, magazine organizers, storages, pet products, side by side with its traditional applications in the country.
In cooperation with the regional offices of the country’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), and the Design Center of the Philippines (DCP), the newly developed coco coir products were designed and produced by the Philippine exporters and manufacturers from the home, fashion, lifestyle, and agri-industry sectors based in the provinces of Laguna, Quezon, and Bicol. These include Pilipinas Ecofiber Corporation, Coco Technologies Corporation, R. Cabrera’s Gifts and Collections, Charles and Clara’s Footwear, Ai-she Footwear, Jhaz Footwear, Sarilikha Handicrafts, Yarnyaa Handicrafts, Likhang Liliw Footwear Cooperative, Rolyolikha Atbp. Handicrafts, KAP-WESL Multipurpose Corporation, Martha’s Handicrafts, and Sowerscrafts Enterprises.
Miniature animal ornaments with strings and sticks, and animal-inspired Christmas trees made from coco fiber and coco peat were among the fast-selling products during the show, along with the ladies’ sandals, men’s slippers, beehive and nipa hut-inspired hanging lamps, cat houses and toys, and doormats as secondary favorites by foreign and local retailers and wholesalers.
“The products are very interesting and cute. The use of coco coir as raw material is something new to us buyers,” said Margie Adrada, a Filipina based in Seattle, who owns five Dekorasyon retail stores in the US, and never fails to visit every Manila FAME for product sourcing.
Initial orders from the US, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Japan were also placed through HallONE, while some serious orders are under negotiations with possible factory visits from Russia and Norway.
“It’s very surprising that the coco coir products would get this much attention and interest from foreign buyers and even from the local community. This is our first time to participate in this event, and we’re extremely happy with the outcome,” said Ramonito Bernales of Martha’s Handicrafts.
Besides the exhibit, HallONE’s Material Showcase, in partnership with the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA), the Philippine Coconut Authority (PhilCOA), and Timbermate-HMT Industries Corporation, also attracted buyers who checked and studied the featured raw materials available in the Philippines. The guests found the information from the books, magazines, and the online material database prepared during the exhibit very helpful especially with regard to each of its biological origins, production characteristics, supplier information, and relevant application and manipulation techniques.
“It’s an excellent showcase! Exhibiting the materials that can be found in the Philippines is a very good idea. I’m very happy that I was able to see and feel each of the local raw materials that are being utilized in this event,” Charles Ting, a CEO of a company who manufactures wall coverings from Taiwan, exclaimed.
HallONE is located at the International Trade Center (ITC) Complex, Roxas Boulevard corner Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Pasay City. It is a sourcing venue for features high-quality export products from the Home, Fashion and Food industry sectors. To visit its design-driven venue, contact its secretariat office at telephone number (+632) 831- 2201 local 253/600.