By Kate Bondoc | Office of the Undersecretary for Trade and Investments Promotion Group

04 April 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

In Photo: Zapateria is a cocreation hub where designers can create and attend shoemaking workshops.

THE Department of Trade and Industry’s Trade and Investments Promotion Group (DTI-TIPG) lauded the opening of a cocreation hub for shoemakers in Marikina City.

Zapateria is a cocreation hub for shoemakers, designers and hobbyists that intends to foster innovation and creativity in the shoe industry. DTI Trade and Investments Promotion Group Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado said the opening of Zapateria in Marikina is a significant step in reviving the shoe industry in the country.

“This initiative by the private sector plays an important part in expediting efforts to revive Marikina as a primary source of quality and truly world-class shoes. It means a lot for key players in the industry as we bring the community together to make Philippine-made shoes more attractive to buyers from across the world,” Terrado said.

Founded by Rico Sta. Ana and his daughter Unyx  Sta. Ana, the Zapateria serves as a workshop/playground for aspiring shoemakers and designers with the opportunity to get them connected with the market and vice-versa.

“This signals a stronger call for designers in tapping artisans and skilled Filipino shoe designers in making knowledge, facilities and resources accessible especially to small entrepreneurs and young designers,” Terrado said.

Zapateria officially opened its doors to the public on  February 24 in San Roque, Marikina City. During the simple opening ceremonies, designers and key players in the industry attended and showed their support to the establishment of the hub.

Unyx Sta. Ana said shoes played an important part in the growth and history of the Marikina community and the families living there.

“My father started as a shoeshine boy at age 13 working for his dad at their factory. He got involved in every production process and learned the ins and out of the business,” she added.

Sta. Ana said generations of shoemakers in Marikina City included her family’s business, which was then among the exporters of Marikina-made shoes abroad.

“The family shoe business was one of the successful companies during that time. We were the first shoe exporter to the United States,”  she added.

With Zapateria, the Sta. Ana father-daughter tandem wanted to put up a platform where the next generation of designers and artisans of the shoe industry can reconnect, gather, and cocreate new wave of Philippine-made shoes.

“The thought of Zapateria without the full concept yet came into mind when my dad got into accident in 2015. When he was at the hospital, shoes was still on his mind, he thought maybe the reason he got through it is because he’s still not done with shoes,” Sta. Ana said.

Zapateria calls for greater collaboration through its shared pooled resources and facilities, shared research and development, and knowledge exchange. It also calls for cocreation through design partnerships, crowdsourcing, personalization and mass customization. It also provides market facilitation and retail.

Sta. Ana said more than the platform that Zapateria provides for key players in the shoemaking industry in Marikina City, they also see the hub as a form of movement that focuses on fostering local artistry and craftsmanship.

“Celebrating the rich history of Marikina, we see Zapateria as a movement to increase awareness and appreciation together with all the members of the community,” Sta. Ana added.

For 2018 the DTI aggressively promotes Filipino creativity through support programs for the creative services sector. Terrado said Filipino ingenuity in design is highly evident to wearables, including shoes produced by Filipino artisans.

“Marikina-made shoes once made it to the world map as a source of top-notch shoes. As we promote more and more of passionately produced and design-driven Filipino products to the rest of the world, we see Zapateria as a contributor in further urging designers and makers to keep up with cool, modern and trendy products,” Terrado said.

Sta. Ana also shared the important role of the government in sustaining these initiatives made by the private sector for the shoe industry.

“[The] Government’s role is to create an environment where entrepreneurs have easier ways to thrive to a more convenient access to shared services facilities for the processing of materials and development of tools like shoe lasts. Community development programs and marketing would also help to bring everyone closer together and attract more talents,” Terrado said.

Zapateria is located in 56 Midtown Subdivision, San Roque, Marikina City.