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The decision was made during the Philippine designers’ meeting with the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) and Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC) on July 20  at the Innovation Hub of EMB.

Philippine designers emphasized the need to have regular OBMs in Japan for design services, saying that, traditionally, clients observe during the first two years before taking orders in the third year. Philippine designers proposed to conduct the 2017 OBM for one whole month with other events, like pop-up exhibit, seminars, designers’ talks and buyers’ week.

They proposed a fashion show featuring celebrities and the hiring of publicists.  Plans will be in consultation with Yoshio Yokobori’s renowned Japanese fashion and lifestyle professional, who was hired as consultant during the 2016 OBM.

There should be one-on-one business meetings, and bigger space rented for proper storage of products to show to buyers.

In the meeting, Philippine designers, DTI-EMB and FTSC discussed the experiences, learnings, recommendations, ideas for future events and the next steps in promoting design capabilities and expertise after participating in the June 2016 OBM in Japan, particularly in the Good Design Marunouchi.

The DTI-EMB hired Yokobori of Side Company Ltd. in Japan for the event.The event generated 55 business meetings during the OBM. The Exclusively by Hand Philippine Design exhibition was advertised in the social media and various web sites in Japan to generate more buyers and public interest to visit the booth at the expo.

It is expected the leads through this business mission could generate $5,419,400 in six years.

Assistant Director Anthony B. Rivera made observations and learnings from the Japan OBMM. He said Japan has a very robust fashion and lifestyle market.  The significant number of tourists contributes to the rise in retail growth.  Branding is essential as experiential shopping is typical in Japan.  He said advertisement can generate a lot of inquires and interest.

Rivera reported US and Europe brands have strong markets in Japan; and that traditional retail spaces have a high demand for design-led international lifestyle and home-style brands. He said outsourcing for design services is in demand and Japanese companies maintain a high level of trust in Philippine companies.  He added that online shops are worth promoting.

EMB Director Senen M. Perlada suggested coming up with better plans and preparations and more effective ways of promoting the sector, which conclude selling products during the exhibit or even on line.

Rita Nazareno, owner of Zacarias1925, said the three-day pop-up activity generated more leads and other buyers. She said Yokobori’s invited buyers/contacts were serious ones and perfect for the business-to-business (B2B) meetings.

Ativo, a Japanese designer, is interested in Zacarias designs, the watermelon bag from Amina, and the product of Adantes. It is carrying the summer and midsummer collection of its pop-up exhibit in the summer of 2017. This negotiation was also outside of Yokobori’s network.

Amina Alunan, owner of Aranaz de Lujo Inc., said a Japanese buyer is interested in having their company make new and exclusive designs.  Perlada said developing the design-service capability of Philippine designers is what EMB aims at, in capturing the interest and trust of the Japanese.

Philippine designers said Good Design Services Marunouchi is a great location for its accessibility to the public and buyers, and its diversity of brands.  The Philippine designers said they will join the Tokyo Fashion Week from October 17 to 23 if they are able to get a place like Good Design Marunouchi or get a showroom provided by the government.

The group reiterated that without follow-up, Japan will forget Philippine designers. Perlada suggested to have another group consultation to better prepare for next year’s event and suggest to look for new possible partners.

Perlada emphasized the premium given by the Japanese to commitment and personal business relationships. □

Gliceria N. Cademia, Trade and Industry Development Specialist, Export Marketing Bureau, Department of Trade and Industry



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