Sinulog celebration spurs retail

Brisk Sales. A sidewalk stall vendor shows off his merchandise. The Sinulog Festival is a busy time for Cebu businesses, particularly the retail sector. Local retailers are quick to snap up the opportunity to cash in at a time where local and foreign visitors abound. For those looking for cheaper options than what the malls have to offer, shoppers can find bargains in street stalls set up just for the occasion. (Sun.Star File)

(Source: Sun Star Cebu | January 14, 2016)

A busy Sinulog Festival is just what local business owners need to keep their businesses thriving.

Islands Group, for instance, is gearing up for the high customer traffic expected to flood their Island Souvenirs outlets before the Sinulog Weekend revelry.

Come Saturday and Sunday, Cebuanos and local and foreign visitors will surely put on their best colorful and customized Sinulog shirts with matching creative accessories to highlight the festive mood.

Jonathan Jay Aldeguer, CEO and founder of Islands Group, said they sell approximately 130,000 Sinulog shirts during the festival. Outlets of Islands Souvenirs in Cebu usually register a high volume of orders approaching the Sinulog weekend.

Big event

The brand’s biggest Sinulog campaign, Cut and Style, is a sales booster. The campaign, which is now on its fourth year, has taken the festive vibe to the next level.

“Cut and Style gets bigger every year with more designs and more embellisments. This year, we’ve added a styling center, which includes face painting, hair coloring, etc. We’ve also set up more Cut and Style centers around the city,” he said.

This year’s theme “revolves around the playful, vibrant and colorful aesthetic of pop art, paying homage to an iconic art movement that brings creativity and culture straight to the people,” the company said in its press release.

The campaign has also added new features, with new accessories and products like flash tattoos, whistles, headdresses and new embellishments and iron stickers that can be applied on bags, caps, and bottoms. The store also sells hair chalk and festival dust.

‘Strongest month’

Islands Souvenirs has about 11 Cut and Style Centers around the city in different malls.

“We grow the campaign every year because the demand grows. Plus, we need to be innovative every year to keep the interest growing,” Aldeguer said.

For Cebu, January is their strongest month, with Sinulog-related items contributing about 45 percent of the total sales for the month. For nationwide sales though, summertime is still the strongest, Aldeguer said.

Now that customizing Sinulog shirts has become a tradition, Aldeguer pointed out there are several businesses who copy their shirt designs —a downside of being a trendsetter.

He warned, though, that they will be going after these copycats. “We have an intellectual property lawyer that monitors these things. We will be going after them,” he said.

The Cut and Style campaign will culminate with a grand fashion show at The Northwing Atrium, SM City Cebu today. It will feature international artist and Cebuana designer Kate Torralba, who will showcase her original pieces for the runway.

Other homegrown firms also hope to cash in on the crowds during this time of the year.

Ria Hofvenschoild, managing director of Halland Konsultants Inc., organizer of Sinulog Central: Food and Lifestyle Bazaar at the Ayala Center Cebu, said 25 exhibitors have already signed up to join the three-day bazaar, which will open today until Jan. 17.

“We have prioritized Cebuano firms for this bazaar, but there will also be a number of Manila-based shops and international brands that will be joining,” said Hofvenschoild in a phone interview yesterday.

Sinulog Central: Food and Lifestyle Bazaar is one of the six activities organized by Cebu Holdings Inc., operator of Ayala Center Cebu, for the three-day Sinulog Festival dubbed as Fiesta at the Park.

The bazaar, which is mounted on the Cardinal Rosales Ave. stretch (in front of Rustan’s) will highlight Cebu’s best delicacies like lechon and chicharon, as well as clothing and accessories and other food and beverage items.

“With the estimated 100,000 foot traffic in Ayala on Sunday, concessionnaires will have quite a lot of customers to cater to that will surely boost sales of their businesses, “ she said. “We have designed a bazaar that will showcase items that are unique in the market at bazaar-prices.”

A Sinulog Fiesta Fair was also organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Cebu Provincial Office in collaboration with the Cebu City Government and the Sinulog Foundation in SM City Cebu that runs from Jan.8 to Jan. 18.

The agency targets to achieve P6 million in sales this year, according to Elias Tecson, chief trade and industry specialist for Business Development Division of DTI-Cebu.

This annual trade fair, which serves as an opportunity for producers and manufacturers to meet new buyers and establish linkages with suppliers, features improved gifts, decors, housewares, fashion accessories, processed food, health and wellness products.

“What consumers can expect is that items showcased in this year’s trade fair are more improved from last year, especially in terms of quality, packaging and labeling,” said Tecson, in a phone interview yesterday. He emphasized that prior to joining trade fairs, exhibitors underwent trainings on product development.

Some 52 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Manila, Palawan, Zamboanga, Baguio City, Dumaguete City and Davao City have joined this year’s trade fair.

“Entrepreneurs as far as Baguio and Zamboanga come here to seek opportunities. They know that Sinulog is a big crowd drawer and a good vehicle for international exposure,” said Tecson.

Exhibitor Jamellah Sangcopan of Fyroze Fashion from Palawan said she is happy with the good reception of the Cebuano market. A first time exhibitor here, Sangcopan said they were endorsed by the DTI and DEpartment of Tourism- Mimaropa Region to venture out into other regions to gain exposure and expand customer base.

“We were encouraged to try entering the Cebu market. So far, business is good. We are happy to be here because Cebuanos love our pearls,” said Sangcopan. “We will surely join next year.”

Sangcopan sells jewelry and fashion accessories made from freshwater pearls, cultured pearls and South Sea pearls.

On the first day of the trade fair, her business earned P30,000 from balikbayans and foreigners.

Last year, the Sinulog Fiesta Fair generated P5.6 million in sales. It had 60 exhibitors.

Because of the good market reception, Tecson said DTI is planning to extend the trade fair until Jan. 31 to take advantage of the International Eucharistic Congress.

The agency is waiting for the extension permit from the mall management.

— by Katlene O. Cacho


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