Giga Natural Products Specialist Corporation (GIGA) started as a garage business established in 1999 by husband-and-wife tandem Marcos Jose “Peping” and Rowena Joyce “Joy” de Villa. With an initial capital of Php30,000, the pair developed a variety of products which soon became a hit to consumers from here and abroad.
Before GIGA, the couple was into selling ladies’ ready-to-wear clothing and accessories from 1986 to 1999. This grew to be a lucrative effort for some time until they decided to close the business and embark on a new industry line. Thus, the establishment of GIGA (which stands for “God is good always”): an enterprise that manufactures natural personal care products made from plant-based and locally sourced ingredients.
Since its inception, GIGA has developed a variety of natural products such as soaps, scalp conditioners, massage oils and rub cream, baby soaps, body sprays, and dog shampoo bars which generated a generous amount of revenue at the company’s participation in the recently concluded 63rd Manila FAME at the World Trade Center last April.
The company’s best-selling product, the Massage Rub Cream, was a hit among local and foreign trade buyers visiting the company booths at the Department of Agriculture (DA) Pavilion, which was supported by the DA-Agribusiness Marketing Service (AMAS).
Using virgin coconut oil as base, the company boasts of a wide array of plant-based natural ingredients used in its products such as peppermint, tea tree, lemongrass, ginger oil, virgin coconut oil, beeswax, and seaweed.
“Our products are composed of 99.5 percent natural ingredients which make them really effective. We do not advertise in TVs or in magazines. The effectivity of our products speaks for themselves,” said Jocelyn Bacay, sales coordinator of GIGA.
The company’s partnership with DA and the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) gave GIGA an opportunity to touch base with its regular local and foreign clients as well as introduce its new products at Manila FAME.
“I am amazed by the comments made by our regular buyers; those who already used our products. I am also overjoyed to introduce them to the first-timers. As a sales staffer in GIGA, meeting these people makes me so proud!” exclaimed Bacay.
From being a single proprietorship company, GIGA has already expanded and built its presence in the local and international market. The company has established several retail outlets in select supermarkets and contracted a number of resellers nationwide, including the locally based online shops Lazada and Cudsly.
GIGA also has arrangements with foreign distributors in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia and is seeking distribution to countries particularly in the Middle East.
“The company stood strong not just because of its products. It’s also about the people behind GIGA, who are Bible-believing Christians who have a heart in managing their staff,” added Bacay.
Bacay shared that she is a survivor of the super typhoon Yolanda that hit the country back in 2013. A month after the disaster, she moved to Manila and found refuge at GIGA, where her career as a sales coordinator blossomed.
“I started at a low salary. But after three months, my superiors noticed my performance. They let me visit the different branches of the company and appointed me as an assistant in their office. Now, I am here and I am thankful that they are giving me their full trust. I am truly blessed to be part of GIGA!” said Bacay, who solely manned GIGA’s booth at the DA Pavilion in Manila FAME.
GIGA won an auspicious award at the 35th Agora Awards for the Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship in the small-scale business category held at Manila in 2014.
Ann Ong – “Create something great for your country.”
Ann Ong has made a name for herself, creating exceptional pieces – bracelets, necklaces, and minaudière – that are worn and adored by the chic and classy women in the country as well as abroad through many international shows in Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Jakarta.
She was recently interviewed by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) after coming back from a successful exhibition at NY NOW Winter 2016 trade show where she was the first Filipina to win an award for NY NOW’s design competition. NY NOW is a trade exhibition which features 100,000 home, lifestyle, and handmade products.
Her handcrafted gold SustainAbility clutch was chosen as the Best New Product Design under the handmade collection category Artisan Resource at the trade fair which ran from January 31 to February 3 at the Javits Center, New York City, USA. Asked how she felt about her recent recognition, Ann says she feels “blessed and overwhelmed.” The winning clutch is made of the ubiquitous coconut wood. “It is how I manipulated it, how I designed it from something [so common]…and putting it together in a very artistic way that makes it special,” says Ann.
Her first participation at NY NOW was August 2015 where she joined a delegation of designers handpicked by CITEM to represent the Philippines. Ann remembers how she was well-received by the international trade visitors and buyers, all noticing and praising the uniqueness and high-quality craftsmanship of her pieces. This convinced her to come back for the second time at the NY NOW Winter 2016 show where she exhibited her three Katha-winning pieces and her Lawiswis Kawayan collection. The Katha Awards gives distinction to ingenious designs and encourages entrepreneurs to raise their design standards for Philippine export products and pursue a skillful exploration of new materials and processes. It is held concurrently with Manila FAME.
Now, Ann returns to Manila FAME this April to unveil her two fashion collections for the year 2017 titled The Guardian of the Mountains and Man’s Best Friend, with the latter collection crafted in collaboration with her son.
CITEM asked Ann Ong what advice she would give to aspiring designers and Filipino entrepreneurs who want to make it to the international scene like her.
Ann’s response was, “I always say to young designers that they should have the mission to promote the Filipino artisans. It’s not just you want to be a designer because you want to be famous, you just want to create a name for yourself. You’re not going to last long in this industry, if you think that way, but if you think of your people first, you can create something great for your country.”
Ann Ong will exhibit her award-winning collections as well as her new creations in the upcoming Manila FAME Boutique Edition to be held on April 21-24, 2016, at the World Trade Center, Pasay City, Philippines.
Manila FAME is the Philippines’ premier design and lifestyle event. A bi-annual trade show, it features finely selected furniture and home furnishings, holiday gifts and décor, and fashion accessories, designed and crafted in the Philippines for the global market. It is owned and organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
For more information, visit www. manilafame.com.
The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) forge a partnership that aims to fortify the foothold of Philippine design and architectural enterprises in the global scene.
“We recognize the magnitude of this partnership as it establishes new networks for Philippine MSMEs with major players in the industry. It will open new platforms to showcase products and new opportunities to demonstrate the local arts and crafts of artisans and designers not only to the 24,000 members of UAP but also to the leading architects and builders worldwide who are connected to UAP through significant organizations such as UIA (Union Internationales des Architectes, or International Union of Architects) and ARCASIA (Architects Regional Council),” said CITEM Executive Director Rosvi C. Gaetos. UIA represents more than one million architects in 124 countries all over the world while ARCASIA is an association of 17 national institutes for architects in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Through this reach of UAP to numerous architectural organizations and events, the collaboration between CITEM and UAP will strengthen the presence of Manila FAME and Philippine MSMEs abroad, connecting the trade show and its participating manufacturers, exporters, designers, artisans, and entrepreneurs to key individuals in the construction and building industry, various related sectors, and numerous architects and builders associations in the world who are constantly searching for top quality, eco-friendly, and innovative products and services in the market.
CITEM, on the other hand, is the owner and organizer of Manila FAME, the Philippines’ premier bi-annual showcase of design and craftsmanship. The exhibition features unique, innovative, and sustainable furniture, home furnishings, holiday gifts and décor, as well as fashion accessories, all designed and crafted by Philippine artisans for the highly discerning global audience. A show attended by industry decision-makers, Manila FAME brings thousands of local and international trade buyers and visitors, including owners, managers, and purchasing directors of global lifestyle retail companies to source from the best export manufacturers in the Philippines.
Manila FAME is also attended by seasoned and rising design talents, both from the local scene and abroad, looking for the latest trends in design, materials, and production, and most especially, for stirring, one-of-a-kind, design concepts.
“Creative inspiration is vital to all architects. UAP’s collaboration with CITEM and Manila FAME will provide the NATCON-CONEX delegates an invaluable source of inspiration and innovative ideas,” said UAP National President Architect Ma. Benita O. Regala.
Over 2,400 Filipino and foreign architects are expected to attend NATCON-CONEX 2016, all of whom will be granted access to Manila FAME. Similarly, top buyers and VIP guests of Manila FAME will also be welcome at the NATCON-CONEX 2016.
CITEM is the organizer of Manila FAME, the Philippines’ premier design and lifestyle event. A bi-annual trade show, it features finely selected furniture and home furnishings, holiday gifts and décor, and fashion accessories, designed and crafted in the Philippines for the global market. Manila FAME will run from April 21-24, 2016, at the World Trade Center, Pasay City, Philippines.
The country’s leading building and construction exhibition, the UAP CONEX unites all construction industry sectors and demonstrates state of the art products, technologies, equipment and materials in the market. CONEX will be held on April 21-23, 2016, at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City, Philippines.
For more information, visit www. manilafame.com
In a showcase of distinctly Filipino design and craftsmanship, the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) brought HomePhilippines to HKTDC Hong Kong Houseware Fair last 20 – 23 April 2013. The participation featured 18 Philippine companies, each displaying their very own design aesthetics imbued with uniqueness inherent to Philippine crafts.
Among the companies featured in the participation were Anastacio Ceramics, Apollo Trading and Mfg. Corp., Arden Classics Inc., Art-N-Nature Mfg. Corporation, Asia Ceramics Corporation, Balex Boxes, Finali Furniture & Home Accessories Co., Gillete International Export Corp. Inc., Legacy Renove Inc., Manila Welcome Industrial Corp., Native Crafts & Arts Ind. Inc., Nature’s Legacy Eximport Inc., Obra Nicolas Handicraft, Panay Accessories Corp., Redfern Arts and Crafts, Rodima Marketing Corp., Siloworks Inc., and Sunwood Export.
Buyers and showgoers found affinity with products crafted from natural materials. Products like Native Crafts’ food covers, Sunwood Export’s wooden tablewares, and Siloworks’ hampers were among the products caught interest during the participation and top companies in terms of sales were Sunwood Export, Rodima Marketing Corp., and Arden Classic.
Among other things, the participation to Hong Kong Houseware Fair did well in sustaining connections with buyers beyond Manila FAME as regular visitors of the Design and Lifestyle Event visited the HomePhilippines booth.
Don’t forget to save the dates for Manila FAME, 17 – 20 October 2013 at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Metro Manila, Philippines. See more Philippine-made, hand-crafted products at Asia’s Design and Lifestyle Event.
The Philippines has made an impression on the world: the country’s products embody high-quality design and multi-faceted craftsmanship. If the desire is for products that are contemporary yet carry a sense of heritage, the Philippines is the destination for such things. Philippine-made products are a brilliant mix of the ingenuity of modern designs, age-old craftsmanship, and the versatility of its abundant natural resources.
In a move to sustain the international market’s positive review, the Philippines brings its products to HKTDC Hong Kong Houseware Fair on 20 – 23 April 2013 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, representing the furniture, homeware, fashion, and holiday gifts and decor sectors under the unifying banner of Home Philippines, the country’s distinct brand for the best houseware products.
As Hong Kong is thriving hub for business, bringing Home Philippines to one of the biggest trade event for houseware in Asia is perfect for showcasing Philippine products and increasing exports to the global market, bolstering the Philippines positioning as the source of quality hand-made export products that represent the Philippines brand of design and craftsmanship. The participation is spearheaded by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions partnering with the Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC) through the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) – Guangzhou and the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong.
This year, 18 of the top manufacturers in the country were chosen to embody Home Philippines: Anastacio Ceramics, Apollo Trading and Mfg. Corp., Arden Classics Inc., Art-N-Nature Mfg. Corporation, Asia Ceramics Corporation, Balex Boxes, Finali Furniture & Home Accessories Co., Gillete International Export Corp. Inc., Legacy Renove Inc., Manila Welcome Industrial Corp., Native Crafts & Arts Ind. Inc., Nature’s Legacy Eximport Inc., Obra Nicolas Handicraft, Panay Accessories Corp., Redfern Arts and Crafts, Rodima Marketing Corp., Siloworks Inc., and Sunwood Export.
100% craftsmanship from Home Philippines will be at the Hong Kong Houseware Fair. Expect the most intricate designs brought to form through the indigenous materials from Home Philippines.
For more information on Home Philippines at the Hong Kong Houseware Fair, visit www.manilafame.com/hkhousewarefair2013