FURNITURE companies with a strong online presence are considered winners during this pandemic-stricken economic crisis.
Maria Booth of Mehitabel Furniture Inc. and Cebu Design Week (CDW) overall chairperson said the sector isn’t really struggling because there are some furniture companies that still continue to log exponential growth as customers, particularly in the US, stay at home and spend money on renovation.
“We actually have a great year. Everybody in the United States is apparently staying at home and redecorating. People are not spending money on vacations. They are not spending money on going out to restaurants, and many people are working from home so they are receiving salaries,” she said during a virtual press conference.
Booth said those people who are fortunate enough to still have their jobs are sitting at home with extra cash and they’ve been buying furniture and fixing up their homes.
“It has been a tremendous boom to us and we actually have our best year this year since the financial crisis in 2008. We’re hoping it will continue and it still remains to be seen if it’s going to be better,” she said.
But she noted that this is not the case for other sectors in the creative industry.
“We are fortunate that our new customer base are the ones who do a lot of online business and anybody that’s online is easy to deal with,” she said.
With people not being able to freely go out of their homes because of the Covid-19 fear and transportation restrictions as well, traditional furniture stores are having difficulty reaching out to their customers.
“Shops with really good online presence have a lot of good orders,” she said.
Meanwhile, Laurie Boquiren, CDW marketing chairperson, said demand for fashion accessories is low.
“It’s so down. They’re all hurting,” she said.
Boquiren said the pandemic has forced some international exhibits not to push through. They are supposed to serve as a platform for fashion designers to create sales and widen their market reach.
“We are creating all these social media outlets and platforms for all the creatives to have a chance to sell, expose and reach out to the clients that they have,” she said.
Earlier, the Philippine manufacturers of furniture and home decor participated in the global digital trade fair Maison & Objet (M&O) and More (MOM) in Paris, France, where they showcased and promoted Filipino craft and artisanship amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Themed “Bubble Living,” their virtual participation at the fair last September zeroed in on the “feeling of being cooped up inside a bubble” as people stay at home due to the pandemic.
Bubble Living featured pieces that enhance and address the way people live now that they are stuck indoors. These pieces highlighted techniques such as weaving, wood carving, and metalwork but were given new twists.
“M&O’s virtual presentation remains to be a great opportunity for bringing Filipino design talent and craftsmanship to an even wider global audience, outside the confines of its usual Paris venue,” the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions said.
Thirteen exhibitor brands participated in the virtual fair. The MOM digital platform helps professionals in decor, design and lifestyle to source new products and contact new suppliers. (JOB)