Manila FAME eyes $10-million sales in April

MANILA FAME, the Philippines’s premier design and lifestyle event, is set to open its doors to global buyers of Philippine-made artisan products for the home, lifestyle and fashion industry from April 21 to April 23 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

Among the country’s most prestigious trade shows, it seeks to make over $10 million (P500.3 million) in sales as a result of the three-day fair.  The April 2017 event marks the fair’s 65th edition.

In last October’s Manila FAME, participants reported export sales totaling $9.685 million (P487.16 million).

As one of the oldest trade shows in Asia, the biannual event offers a vast selection of exquisite products, including furniture, home accents  and fashion accessories from the country’s best artisans and designers.

Manila FAME is organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem), the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Leading Citem’s renewed efforts into the global market is newly appointed Exevutive Director Clayton Tugonon, who said he intends to capitalize on the export-coaching programs instituted by Citem to bolster the export-readiness of Philippine companies and manufacturers. The DTI sub-agency will hire experts as consultants to advice on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) on the pricing and design of their products, he said.

Tugonon also vowed to institute reforms and streamline Citem’s operations, as well as institute cost-cutting logistic measures, to effectively use the agency’s fund for promotional efforts.

“Citem will be more aggressive in its promotional efforts in positioning the Philippines as a global destination for quality-export products and services as we continue to maintain the highest standards of creativity, excellence and innovation,” Tugonon said. “Citem recognizes the vital role of MSMEs in building the Philippine brand globally. We are also aware they need support so they can compete in international and local markets. It is important that we uplift small-scale businesses so that they will receive the same opportunities as other established corporations.”

Tugonon will lead Citem in organizing the 65th edition of Manila FAME from  April 21 to April 23, and the 11th edition of the International Food Exhibition Philippines, which are both held at the World Trade Center Metro Manila  and Philippine Trade Training Center.

“Ensuring the success of these two shows will be critical in supporting the government’s strategy for inclusive growth since the food and design-oriented furniture and garments industry are two of the 12 top priority sectors identified as priority development areas in generating quality employment and higher-income opportunities,” Tugonon said, adding it will lead “to poverty alleviation and a better quality of life for Filipinos.”

Tugonon seeks to intensify the creative collaborations among local MSMEs, exporters, designers, and manufacturers in Citem’s events and overseas participation.

He said he will be talking to the exhibitors at the shows to encourage them to improve their products, with emphasis on “innovation and transfiguration.”

Tugonon met with members of the Davao Fashion Council and the Bagobo weaving community to drumbeat participation for the upcoming Manila FAME.

Tugonon is Citem’s first Executive Director hailing from the Visayas since the subagency was established on 1983. He is a graduate of Bachelor of Science, major in Biology, and an alumnus of the San Carlos College of Law in Cebu.

Before his appointment, he became known as a businessman for the family-owned Raphael Legacy Design from 1988 to 1994 and later on, as the owner and president of the Classical Geometry Export Trading which he established in 1995.

Throughout his career as designer-manager, Tugonon has brought international prestige to the Philippines for some of his crafts, including the “Una Cebu Car,” which is the first automobile in the world manufactured using indigenous materials exclusive to Cebu designed after a 1959 Porsche 356.

His aptitude for design innovation and management skills earned him several awards, such as the ‘International Awardee for Furniture Design1 in Slovakia, Singapore and Japan, and the ‘Presidential Awardee for Design’ during the Arroyo administration.

For his expertise, the multi-awarded Cebuano became part of the Board of Trustee of the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation (CFIF), and the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as a mentor of the One Cebu Obra Negosyo Skuwela.

Before his appointment to Citem, Tugonon traveled across the Philippines to encourage more local companies and stakeholders to participate in Citem’s key events and international exhibits.