Otop fair traders see increased sales-A A +A
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
TRADERS at the Sinulog Fiesta Otop (One Town, One Product) Fair in SM City Cebu are reporting brisk sales this year.
R&C Donato Sculpturing Shop (RCDSS), a manufacturer and supplier of religious items in Visayas and Mindanao that is owned by the Donato family of Talisay City, has been trading in the Otop fair for three years now.
Romen Donato, the 23-year-old son and stall keeper, said they noted a sales increase this year and they are renting two booths to accommodate more products.
Donato said they started selling San Pedro Calungsod images this year and it is their best seller, along with Sto. Niño icons.
Donato said they are expecting more people to visit their stall, with Sinulog approaching. He said there are usually a lot of buyers three or four days leading to Sinulog.
Donato said more local tourists buy their products because foreigners typically just buy religious items as souvenirs. He said their items are priced from P25 to P3,500.
Marichu Manriquez, 35, custodian of Ferangeli Guitar and Handicrafters (FGH), said they extended for a week during the Otop fair last year and will probably extend again this year because sales are good.
Manriquez said FGH, a custom guitar business started in 1919 in Lapu-Lapu City, is a regular exhibitor in Otop fairs since the venue was transferred to SM City Cebu in 2006.
Foreigners and balikbayans frequent their stall to buy their items, which range in cost from P20 for a single keychain to P3,500 for a plywood guitar. A high end or export-quality guitar costs about P38,000.
First time Otop traders You Deaal, a guyabano tea business managed by entrepreneurship students from the University of San Carlos (USC), sold 20 boxes so far of the targeted 39 for the entire fair.
Exceeding their goal with a net of P25,000 from the 7th USC entrepreneurship fair in December at the Parkmall, You Deaal general manager Michael Robert Sy is optimistic they will get good returns in their first year joining an Otop fair.
Sy said they are receiving positive feedback from customers, including foreigners, with Cebuanos trying the tea in sachets while local tourists, especially those from Manila, buying in boxes.
Guyabano original and Guyabano with orange are priced at P160 and P185 per box and P15 and P18 per sachet, respectively.
As budding entrepreneurs, the owners of You Deaal are excited with the exposure provided by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Cebu.
Last November, the team participated in DTI’s speed matching activity wherein as suppliers, they were matched with buyers from different sectors, including hotels, restaurants and malls.
You Deaal is among the five USC groups in Otop, sharing the booth rent of P12,500 with SFC CO. VogaWise Matbag. Other student exhibitors are Eleganza, Little Hand Creations and Pro Accs.
Sinulog trade fair committee chairman and DTI Cebu business development division chief Elias Guia Tecson pointed out that the Sinulog fiesta Otop fair is an avenue for medium, small and micro enterprises (MSME) in the countryside to expand their market as they are the ones that need the most exposure.
Tecson said that second to destinations, products are also considered as important in promoting Cebu tourism.
“If you are marketing a town, it is important to consider what visitors can obtain as souvenirs,” he said.
Tecson said the fair showcases companies that underwent DTI programs like product design, development, packaging and labeling, food safety, costing and pricing, negotiation and skills upgrading and advisory courses.
These trainings, packaged in six to eight months, are also intended to prepare Cebuano traders in competing in national fairs.
Compared to the previous trade fairs, Tecson is confident traders this year are able to display enhanced products in terms of quality, design and packaging as many of them joined DTI trainings.
Tecson said they Otop fair is growing yearly in terms of sales and number of participants.
Tecson said they are eyeing P6 million in sales this year. Last year, they were able to log P5.6 million.
DTI officials reported on Monday that since Friday, the biggest sellers were guitars with sales reaching P28,000, followed by chicharon, with sales recorded at P27,000.
The Sinulog fiesta OTOP fair, which started in Plaza Independencia in 2003, is a joint annual activity by DTI-Cebu and the Cebu City Government through the Sinulog Foundation, Inc.
The exhibit will run from Jan. 11 to 22 at the SM City Cebu Atrium.
Tecson said they are planning to hold simultaneous trade fairs in other malls like Ayala Center Cebu in the future.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 16, 2013.