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27 May 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

The staunch supporters and movers of the Philippine gifts, décors and houseware sector are shown during the MA’I Lifestyle relaunch at the 69th Manila FAME. Present are: DTI Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) Assistant Director Anthony Rivera, DTI-EMB Director Senen Perlada, Philippine Federation of Furnishings Associations (PhilFFA) Secretary-General Chiqui Veneracion, HAPI President Leah Reyes, ANP President Christina Gaston, PhilHHDA President Romeo Balderrama Jr., PCHEAI President Milagros Lacson, Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (FOBAP) President Robert Young, BOI OIC-Director Fe del Rosario, DTI-Citem Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan, Philippine Exporters’ Confederation Inc. (Philexport) President Sergio Ortiz-Luis and Philexport Vice President Leonor Abella.

INITIATIVES to further boost the country’s gifts, décor and houseware are finally paying off as the Philippines continues to carve a niche in the international market as the preferred source of globally competitive, innovative and quality GDH products. Twenty-eighteen trade statistics showed that while country’s total export sales went down, the GDH sector’s growth continue to shoot up with a 23.9-percent increase in exports from $166.54 million in December 2017 to $206.34 million in December 2018.

The continuous growth of the country’s GDH sector is largely boosted by the collaborative efforts of the government and private sector stakeholders to further push the competitiveness of the industry through various initiatives such as industry policy interventions, product development, strengthening the supply chain and promotion activities.

A key promotion initiative was the relaunch of MA’I Lifestyle, the sector’s official brand, during the recently concluded 69th Manila FAME at the World Trade Center in Manila.

Conducted through the cooperation of five business support organizations (BSOs), namely the Association of Negros Producers, Home Accents of the Philippines Inc., Mindanao Trade Exposition Foundation, Philippine Chamber of Handicraft Exporters and Artisans Inc. and the Philippine Lifestyle, Homestyle and Holiday Décor Association, the relaunch was a strategic move to spark brand recall for MA’I Lifestyle and further promote the Philippines as a primary source of reliable GDH products.

Upcoming initiatives to uphold MA’I Lifestyle were announced during the activity, including possible partnerships with the Department of Trade and Industry Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-Citem) and Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) in tapping into new markets abroad by conducting missions and joining trade expositions. Likewise, seminars will be organized to help MA’I Lifestyle member-companies comply with international buying standards. Select MA’I products were also showcased at the Design Commune, one of Manila FAME’s special show features.

The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), the country’s lead industry development and investments promotion arm, played a vital role in the conception of the MA’I branding for the Philippine GDH sector with the development of the GDH road map. During the road map’s launch at the BOI’s Trade and Industry Development (TID) Updates forum back in July 2016, the need for the GDH companies to focus in building their corporate branding was raised.

The BOI, along with BSOs and concerned stakeholders worked together to build a unified brand for the Philippine GDH sector, which includes the creation of brand name, logo, tagline, and visuals that will be used for the GDH sector’s web site, catalogue, and participation to international exhibitions.

MA’I was first unveiled to the public during the 66th Manila FAME in October 2016, following the conduct of nationwide branding workshops and consultation sessions spearheaded by the BOI and the GDH BSOs.

For this year, the BOI will continue supporting the sector through partnerships with relevant agencies in identifying training opportunities that can further capacitate the industry.

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