“World-Class, Filipino-made: The Best of Local Home Décor and Furniture”

October 26th, 2017

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On October 25, Go Negosyo sa Radyo hosts Sen. Bam Aquino & Faith Salaver were joined by two exhibitors from the recently concluded Manila FAME—Benjamin Aquino (Benjamin Aquino Exports Inc.) and couple Antonio & Remedios Garcia (RU Garcia Furniture) for an episode talking about the thriving furniture and home decor industry in the Philippine which attracts buyers from across the globe.

Benjamin Aquino’s namesake company was established in 1983 in San Fernando, Pamapanga. He shares that he entered the business of furniture and exports because of his uncle. Today, Benjamin Aquino Exports Inc., supplies to big name companies such as Pier One and Pottery Barn.

Joining Benjamin were Antonio and Remedios Garcia, a couple who established RU Garcia Furniture in 1993 at Pantay Daya, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. The business saw its beginnings through Antonio’s idea of turning the wood, sourced from the business of Remedios’ brother, into furniture. With hard work and a lot of creativity, Antonio Garcia continued to create furniture with his background in carpentry. Today, their products have already reached Japan, Hong Kong, and continue to expand worldwide.

During the episode, our hosts asked the entrepreneurs about challenges they’ve encountered doing business. Benjamin shared that in terms of export it is difficult to manage orders and ensuring that the buyers are happy. “Your shipment should be on time. Also, you have to be able to show them that the quality and the design of your product is good so that they increase their orders from you. It’s hard but kaya naman,” Benjamin said.

Prompted by Sen. Bam, Benjamin also give advice to his fellow guest on how to delve deeper into the export business. “For me, I first joined CITEM and then I gave my best designs. There will always be a client or buyer from another country. And they will add to your design. Until little by little, they will tell you make your items exclusive to them,” Benjamin said. Benjamin was only 18 when he first had an exhibit with CITEM and was approached by a buyer from Japan  who was impressed by his vigor and work. The client eventually offered an order worth USD1,000. “Number one in export is QUALITY,” Benjamin says and he insists that entrepreneurs should be hands-on with checking of the quality of the products.

Antonio and Remedios agreed with Benjamin. They share that when they source the reclaimed wood they use in making their furniture, they ensure that they check each supply they buy. They also work with trusted suppliers who source wood from places such as old houses. They basically create hardwood furniture for homes.

In closing, the two groups also agreed that joining trade shows and listing up with DTI & CITEM have greatly helped get their business to greater heights. The Manila FAME exhibit allow draws a multitude of opportunities for any business involved in furniture, decor or retail. They highly encourage entrepreneurs looking to expand their horizons and get into export by joining the next Manila FAME in April 2018.