4-day fair makes fresh pitch for Marikina shoes

STEPPING UP. Hosted by Marikina, the 1st Philippine Footwear and Leather Goods Trade Show hopes to entice a new generation of craftsmen, designers and entrepreneurs. Lyn Rillon

Marikina City is not letting up in its efforts to revitalize its homegrown shoe industry till it regains its stature here and abroad as source of exquisite, well-crafted footwear.

City officials led by Mayor Del De Guzman on Friday opened the first Philippine Footwear and Leather Goods Trade Show, a four-day fair where the local government invited foreign and local companies as well as embassies in Manila to see the best products offered by 29 Marikina-based manufacturers.

“We intend to further level up by penetrating the world market as a competitive shoe exporter. In this day and age, going global is the way and we are confident our shoemaking competencies in terms of distinct craftsmanship and world-class design would be able to carry us through,” De Guzman said.

To entice a new generation of craftsmen, designers and entrepreneurs, the trade show being held at the New Legislative Building also features hour-long pocket seminars showcasing the latest practices, technologies and trends in the industry.

The topics include standard operating procedures in footwear assembly, international sizing system and width classification, among others. This Monday, renowned designer Brian Tenorio will talk about creating shoe designs and how to start a designer shoe business.

The trade show, which De Guzman described as part of a “monumental work in progress” in reviving the shoe industry, is the highlight of the city’s two-month Sapatos Festival, which is now on its fifth year.

How’s the online shop?

In July, the local government in partnership with Luzon Brokerage Corp. Express Inc.-Lubrocor Commerce Corp. (LBC-LCC) launched an online shoe store showcasing a number of Marikina brands.

To date, LCC’s Alex Parel said, the website (www.marikinashoes.theshop.ph) has seen a weekly average of 10 transactions since its launch. He considered the number to be modest while admitting that much work still needs to be done in marketing the products at the online shop, including the promotion of lesser known brands.

To address situations where online customers may have to try on various sizes when the product is delivered, Parel said at least three different sizes of the chosen style will be brought to buyers residing in Metro Manila.

While most of the online orders have come from within the capital, some buyers are from the provinces as far as Samar, he said.