When it comes to great Filipino design, there are no borders–physical or otherwise.
That’s true for Manila FAME in more ways than one. This year, the trade show swaps its floor area for digital space through FAME+, a digital trade and community platform offering more opportunities for exhibitors to showcase their products to a more global audience. At the same time, buyers from all over the world get a wider array of quality items to browse at a click of a button.
The website (fameplus.com) is specifically designed to put the spotlight on its exhibitors through engaging content, sleek product presentation, and an easy-to-use business matching system. Every product and brand page have been carefully crafted to create a comprehensive catalogue experience for local and international buyers. Since its launch in October, some 127 exhibitors are on the site , improving the searchability of their products online.
Exhibitors are free to launch new collections or answer queries from interested parties 24/7. The same goes for buyers who can browse through all the listings anytime of the day or night, wherever they may be.
“Connecting exhibitors and buyers is easier and more seamless than ever before as both can schedule meetings within the platform via Zoom or Google Meet. Today, brands are still welcome to join, sign up, and become FAME+ exhibitors,” said Pauline Suaco-Juan, executive director of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).
Inside FAME+’s catalogue, buyers can search items by simply typing a brand name or a product type, or use the filtering tool to select a category they prefer. The catalogues are divided into sections such as Home Decor & Houseware, Beauty and Wellness, Festive and Seasonal Decor, Fashion, Furniture, Gifts, and Lamps and Lightning.
It has to be clarified that FAME+ is not an e-commerce site as it does not have shipping and fulfillment features. Instead, exhibitors include links to their e-commerce sites where retail buyers can proceed with their desired purchases.
FAME+ features a wide variety of items–from basket and weaves to stools; candles to footwear; clothes, bags, and all different kinds of home accents. In other words, anything that an individual needs to create a modern home that is equal parts stylish and functional.
Manila FAME features some 400 dynamic and creative enterprises in each edition and attracts more than 7,000 local and international buyers. Over the years, it has served as a cultivating ground and springboard for innovative, top-of-the-line Philippine products and designers to break through key international markets.
In the future when physical shows are possible, it is envisioned that FAME+ shall serve as a good way to continue business for Manila FAME exhibitors and buyers once the trade shows have ended. Suaco-Juan said: “FAME+ will complement—not replace—the onsite show. We are hopeful that when circumstances are better, we will be able to capacitate both the onsite show and our digital platform.
Plans to go digital were introduced to stakeholders in 2018, even before the pandemic had put the world into a standstill and accelerated the digital push for many industries.
“Putting the finishing touches to going online was no easy task as it was a new way of working for Manila FAME and CITEM. But lots of creativity, determination, and hard work allowed Manila FAME to strengthen its digital footprint,” Suaco-Juan said.
This isn’t the first time though that Manila FAME dipped its toes in the digital space. In September this year, it joined Maison&Objet and More (MOM) Digital Trade Fair, which introduced Manila FAME and featured artisans to a more international audience. This yielded amazing results which exceeded last year’s performance even without a physical show.
Once the world has come out of the pandemic into the “better normal,” the hope is to see hybrid events, where the actual Manila FAME exhibition and the FAME+ online platform co-exist side by side.