Local retailers are bracing themselves because with the dawn of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), our local consumers will eventually be exposed to heretofore unseen products, marketing schemes, promotional gimmickry, payment modes and many others that have already taken place in our sophisticated neighbours’ retail domains and which they may bring here.
Pretty soon, there may be consumer experiences like what the Financial Times describes as “pop-up stores to satisfy demands for immediacy and surprise.” According to Spire Research, to create instant buzz using short-term leased space and cost-effective ways for new products, a theme is created for each floor display which is sponsored by a brand.
Crowd funding is also getting to be popular among start-ups because people with good business ideas can get funding to launch their concepts. The crowd funding research firm, Masssolution, said 600 global crowd funding platforms raised US$5.1 billion in funds in 2013, up from the 308 made in 2012 which raised US $2.7 billion.
The Financial Times also cites the trends towards more regional trade hubs where there will be reshoring or production close to markets, as well as more intra-regional investment flows and trade that will shift economic power from West to East and North to South. With its huge potential for economic power, the ASEAN will eventually be a testament to this.
Traditional retail models in the Philippines has not yet broken down because Filipinos still prefer to go to stores, especially in malls, to feel the thrill that go with canvassing, window shopping, and ultimately, buying. Although online marketing and consumption have gained popularity in the last decade, we still enjoy the mall ambience, perhaps make our senses enjoy the sights and sounds, and then buy what we need or don’t need. The middle class, with its burgeoning consumption power and young demographics, are at the forefront of the buying frenzy. Brands which have benefitted from this growing base are the following:
YOUR OWN TIME (Y.O.T.), ITS FRANCHISING TIME HAS COME
Those mechanical gadgets called wrist watches or pocket watches used to be just functional time pieces. Through centuries, these watches have evolved to become objects of desire, necessity, and fashion. There are now a variety of commercial watches, leisure and fashion watches, and sports watches. If these are not on everybody’s wrists, they also appear as pocket watches, in pendants, in the car dashboard, in one’s personal computer and lately, as an ubiquitous feature of smart phones.
Most of the important players in the global watch industry are in Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, and Mainland China. New names have come in and are starting to create buzz such as the number one selling brand in Brazil.
Your Own Time (Y.O.T.) arrived in the Philippines in 2009, glowing with youthful, bright, and cheerful appeal. The young especially fall for its interchangeability, making it perfect for fashion and easy on the yuppies pockets. One Y.O.T. kit contains one watch and 5 different cases, bracelets, and bezels. Imagine getting 125 watches for the price of one, to match any personality or style.
Y.O.T. is designed to be worn by both men and women, making it an accessory that can be shared. It is presently enjoyed by fashionistas in Latin America, Europe, North America, the Middle East, and in the Philippines, where 10 outlets have been opened. It is now a franchise business beckoning entrepreneurs who want to join the global watch revolution. The Y.O.T. franchise is a turn-key package for a kiosk inclusive of franchise fee, construction of its signature kiosk, and initial inventory. With the enormous youth population, the market potential for Y.O.T. is as huge. Franchisees In Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao are invited to bank on this franchise and their time starts now.
POIS BELLY AND KIDS
The race is on between homegrown brands and international apparel brands who are now competing on a level playing field because of the entry of well-known clothing lines from all over the world into the Philippines. Since 2012, global name brands have started sprouting in Metro Manila– the likes of Uniqlo, Cotton On, Forever 21, Miss Selfridge, Superdry, American Eagle Outfitters, and Sperry Top Sider are in high-end and mid-end malls.
The situation has challenged our local apparel outlets to level up and because Filipino consumers love design and quality which are both present in global and local brands, they are willing to purchase both. And with the growing consumer power and fashion-conscious outlook of the middle class, especially the young professionals, apparel will always enjoy capturing a sizeable chunk of the market.
According to the Euromonitor International July 2013 Report, though online retailing of clothes is getting to be popular, buyers still want to go to stores and experience fashion for themselves. Department stores or boutiques are still the destination if one wants clothes, sportswear, and footwear.
With a rosy outlook in the fashion industry, many Filipino brands are confident about their prospects. One of them is Pois Belly and Kidswhich housesthree fashion-niche brands – Pois, Belly Maternity, and Great Kids . Pois Belly and Kids is committed to building a world-class brand and continuously cater to the dressing needs of fashionable tykes and ‘tweens as well as expecting moms.
From a home business in 1999, selling a maternity line called Great Expectations to friends and family, it gradually expanded into girls’ wear. In 2004, in view of the demand for good quality and stylish fashion clothing for children, the Great Kids brand of apparel was conceived to cater to mini fashionistas aged 2-12 years old who look up to and want to emulate their stylish mothers. Great Kids was a hit for parents and their girls as the brand not only provides an extensive range of choices but also boasts of quality and comfort (clothes are mostly made of imported, high quality, breathable cotton and bottoms have adjustable waist systems).
Rowena Velasco, president, explains that in 2006, the brand Pois was conceptualized after much demand from loyal customers who have “graduated” from the Great Kids children’s sizing. Pois is a play on the English word “Poise”. Without the “e”, the name evokes curiosity and reflects a playful and yet sophisticated touch – apt for ‘tweeners who are enjoying the in-between years of childhood to womanhood. Pois is a range of pretty and fun fashion that reflects the light-hearted mood of the ‘tweens and teens.
Now that Pois Belly and Kids is “poised” for greater growth through franchising, expect more stores that would reflect the stamp of unique beauty and craftsmanship that only a Filipino apparel boutique can boast about.