AN IVATAN-made watch for dad, a stylish bayong (market bag woven from dried leaves) for mom, wooden carabao and jeepney models for the children, a scarf printed with local flowers for the winter, and Filipino snacks for unexpected cravings — shopping for notably Filipino items is now possible just before a flight abroad.
Go Lokal!, the concept store of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), opened its latest branch at the Kiss and Fly area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3. This is the first Go Lokal! at the airport.
The concept store, aimed at promoting local micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and Filipinos designers, partnered with the craft store Common Room and Team Manila Graphic Design for exclusive lines in the new souvenir collection.
At the launch on July 19, DTI secretary Ramon M. Lopez said that they further aim “to mainstream MSMEs” so that it may “no longer be limited to a trade fair type of activity” held on weekends.
Modern designs and quality are valued.
“We are trying to elevate the quality of Philippine products, especially the souvenir line of the Philippines. [We’re trying to] veer away from the usual products that we see in resorts which have outdated designs. [We’re trying to] come up with better and a wider collection of items making use of local materials,” Romleah Juliet P. Ocampo, Go Lokal! program manager, told BusinessWorld.
The exclusive souvenir collection includes Team Manila’s “Habi Hiraya” collection of shirts, Philippine-themed stickers by Cheryl Owen, Filipino dessert-themed bracelets by Catherine Limson, and flower-themed designs by Alessandra Lanot.
“[DTI] tapped me to create an exclusive souvenir collection for Go Lokal! But as a designer who has been around the Philippines, I said that one person cannot really capture the entire Philippines through his or her design. So, as a partner of Common Room, I decided to invite the Common Room team to join me in developing the whole collection,” Alessandra Lanot, the pattern designer behind, told BusinessWorld of her participation in the project.
“We tapped 16 artists, including myself, to create a line of souvenirs based on the theme: ‘The things that we love about the Philippines.’ It’s up to the designer to interpret the theme and execute it in their own products,” Ms. Lanot said.
For this collection, Ms. Lanot incorporated flowers in scarves and caps. “I call it ‘Playtime in the Garden,’ because they’re composed of flowers that we used to play with when we were kids like gumamela, santan, kalachuchi, [and] makahiya (hibiscus, west Indian jasmine, plumeria, and Mimosa pudica),” she said.
As an artist, Ms. Lanot values the opportunity to create Philippine-themed designs. “It’s really an honor to have that opportunity to showcase your design and to create something for the Philippines. It’s my personal dream to really do something on this scale as a designer. I always try to incorporate Filipino elements in my design as my way of bringing the Philippines to the bigger stage,” she said.
The DTI is currently planning to open more store branches in the other NAIA terminals, to target Cebu city in the expansion of operations in provincial terminals, and to test market the products in Japan and the USA.
“We plan to go abroad and bring the business template of Go Lokal!, which is basically a partnership with retail operators. The first project will be in Tokyo, and the next will be in San Francisco or in New York. We’re targeting the two major export markets of the Philippines (Japan and USA),” she said.
The Go Lokal! concept store is located at Kiss and Fly, Level 3, Departure Area, NAIA Terminal 3, Pasay City. Store hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman