Likhang Habi Market Fair, an annual three-day textile fair by the Philippine Textile Council has now put up an online marketplace for its Habi sellers.
Established in 2009 after the second ASEAN Traditional Textile Symposium in the Philippines, the fair is known for bringing together the best local weavers and artisans from all over the country as it provides a venue for them to showcase and sell their handwoven textiles, new product designs, as well as connect them to the international market.
Now as a way of adapting to the “new normal,” the council has decided to launch a Facebook page that will allow their Habi vendors to promote their products and services despite the community quarantines. The page, called #HabiCommunity Virtual Marketplace, is meant to serve as a platform to connect old and new buyers with vendors and communities to help spark trade and commerce consequently reviving sources of livelihood even amid the pandemic.
“Weavers started to send us messages worried and concerned about how they had little to no income because only a few people are buying due to the quarantine. We asked how we can assist them since they usually either supply to brands or join our HABI Fairs each year and so, the HABI Virtual Community Marketplace was born out of the need to uplift them during this time.” Kelly Marian Murga Mortensen, a member of the council, tells us.
Upon being granted access to the group, you will already find posts from pages of communities weavers from all across the country sharing detailed information and images of their products. Through this, members can simply reach out to sellers like the Rurungan sa Tubod Foundation (RSTF), a non-profit organization from Palawan, which provides alternative sources of livelihood for rural communities in the island by teaching piña weaving technology.
You can also find the growing casual Filipinana bran Camisa Amana in this group.
The page isn’t limited to weavers, however, as handicraft sellers of all the rage like Milvidas, which sells crocheted items for furniture and kitchenware, are also part of the roster.
Following this new online community, the council also launched a campaign called “Threads that Bind Us” within the page, which aims to feature stories of the various communities and artisans behind the marketplace as well as how they are coping during the COVID-19 crisis. Its first feature for this campaign is a Mother’s day tribute to their weavers who are mothers from different communities which can be seen in this video.
As of writing, the Facebook group has over 400 members which comprises of local weavers and buyers. The group admins regulate the online marketplace’s posts to ensure that members who are posting their products are their usual trusted partners during the fair.
If you are a new local weaver or seller, however, you can try to register your organisation or company as a promotional partner or a new member that wants to participate through this link. Whereas, you can join the Facebook page here by sending a request whilst logged into your account.For any inquiries, you reach out to them at [email protected]
Header photo courtesy of Habi the Philippine Textile Council
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Writer: JOY THERESE GOMEZ