Cagayan de Oro Handmade Paper started out as a hobby, which turned into a profitable enterprise.
With the aim of providing communities with jobs and additional income, Lolita “Luchi” B. Cabanlet formally established her paper-making business back in 1993 while still working as a manager at the Philippine Ports Authority.
The business had to hurdle several challenges with every successes. Being design-driven, the business is in constant need for better, innovative and novel ideas. One of her daughters, Maria Francesca Nicole B. Cabanlet, graduated with a degree in interior designing. This factor has helped the company move forward into greater heights.
Three years ago, Nicole suggested that Cagayan de Oro Handmade Paper’s products be diversified from handicrafts into home furnishings and fashion accessories. They did this shift in products following the European economic recession which affected the company’s export to Europe.
The company experimented with different lamp designs by taking inspirations from nature, playing with different methods and taking cues from trends and competitors. After coming up with their original collections, they went massive in terms of trade participation and online presence. So fittingly, the Department of Trade and Industry’s line-up of trade shows became a delight to them.
DTI provided subsidies in their participation to trade shows and exhibits which include the following: Brunei International Trade and Consumer Exhibit 2016, Kahimunan Regional Trade Fair 2015 & 2016, Manila FAME 2015 & 2016, National Arts & Crafts Fair 2016 and Kahimunan Christmas Bazaar 2015 & 2016.
On the other hand, Cagayan de Oro Handmade Paper gave their all in maximizing their participation with the intent of not only increasing market access but also to benchmark with other exhibitors who have adapted current design trends. Because of this, Cagayan de Oro Handmade Paper was able to reconnect with old-time buyers, met with interior designers and other instrumental people that paved way for more opportunities for the company.
During the “Negosyo, Konsyumer At Iba Pa” activity of the Department of Trade and Industry on August 19 last year, the Center for International Trade Exposition and Mission (CITEM) visited Cagayan de Oro Handmade Paper’s factory. CITEM has noted their exciting collections in Cagayan de Oro Handmade paper’s previous Manila FAME participation. They were impressed with Luchi’s personality and most especially with the novelty of her creations.
CITEM Executive Director Rosvi Gaetos has commended the uniqueness and elegance of Cagayan de Oro Handmade Paper’s products. It was impressive enough that CITEM decided to increase the company’s allotted space in Manila FAME October 2016 exhibit into 18 square meters without asking for additional cost. Add to that: CITEM also bought many of Cagayan de Oro Handmade Paper’s newly-launched jelly fish lamp to accentuate the Café Resto located at the World Trade Center during the exhibit. CITEM also requisitioned tokens for the exhibit’s corporate giveaways.
During the Manila FAME October 2016 exhibit, an Italian buyer took notice of their attractive lamps and decided to book a 20-footer container van full of jellyfish-designed lamps which will be bound for Italy.
With Cagayan de Oro Handmade Paper’s strong presence during the Manila FAME 2016 exhibit and with its impressive track record, CITEM chose to endorse and subsidize Cagayan de Oro Handmade Paper’s participation to Ambiente International Fair to be held in Messe Frankfurt, Frankfurt AM Main, Germany on February 10-14 this year. Out of the 17 exhibitors from the Philippines, they are the only one to represent Mindanao.
Luchi is ecstatic to know how their products are being welcomed abroad. Every time she attends international trade shows, she always come back with high spirit. In Cagayan de Oro Handmade Paper’s participation during the Brunei International Trade and Consumer Exhibit 2016, her products got sold out before the last day of the exhibit. This gave her enough time to tour around. In the Global Sources Fair in Hong Kong last October 2016, their “Beehive Chandelier” was chosen as one of the Top 3 Most Innovative Products of 2016.
Luchi said that the company is hopeful for the outcome of the new designs they intended to unveil in Ambiente, hinting that it is inspired by “corals”. “Hopefully it would be another international hit,” she remarked. (Loraine Brillantes/DTI-MisOr)