Re-Branding the FAME FAIR with Michael Cleghorn

  • 2 year project to double Foreign attendance
  • Mentoring, Designing & Developing Cross Merchandised Products with 70 Home and Fashion Accessory Factories
  • Fair Setup and Visual Merchandising Leadership
  • Guest Speaking, PR and Marketing

Manila Fame is a globally recognized International Trade Fair. It showcases the diverse range of Philippine products. The Philippines Department of Trade and Industry identified that this major Trade Fair for home lifestyle products was showing signs of declining popularity. Traffic, and more importantly, sales were declining.

The Project: We engaged with the Centre of International Trade Exhibitions and Missions to create and implement a strategy to rebrand the Philippines as a credible source to discover innovative and world-class products.

Grew foreign attendance at the fair by 50%

Manila Fame Press

2 year project
Show rebranding
Product Development-70 factories
Visual Merchandising
Guest speaking throughout the Philippines

Project awarded by CITEM and Josie Natori

The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions(CITEM) is the export promotion arm of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Experiential Visual Merchandising

Throughout the fair we installed “Creation Stations” where artisans showed how products were made with sustainable materials that are indigenous to the Philippines

Creation Stations

were to be discovered throughout the Fair manned with artisans creating with the indigenous materials from the Philippines. This highlighted various woven crafts that is the unique signature of Philippine lifestyle products.

Opposites Attract

Factory and Importer Projects-China

Artisan Licensing – Factory Customers – Mud Pie, Creative Coop, Transpac, Demdaco,  Hobby Lobby

April Cornell

New Brand Sketchbook Vision

Mismatched reproduction tableware-painterly and informal is being developed along with hand-painted soft home, tie dye napkins, handed-painted milk and clear glass drinkware and pitchers.

Factory and Importer Projects-China

Fabric and Plush Development Factory Customers-TJX, Mud Pie, Transpac, Demdaco, Bethany Lowe, etc.

India Projects and Development

The Healing Garden with Crystal Accents

Silvestri-DEMDACO Portfolio
Multi Million Dollar Licensed Brand Development-Giftware

  • Sandra Magsamen-Messages from the Heart-5 yrs- $65MM
  • Joey Heiberg-Dolly Mamas-3 yrs- $17.5MM
  • Karen Rossi-Fanciful Flights-5 yrs- $28MM
  • Lori Siebert-Glass Fusion-11 yrs- $10MM
  • Flavia- Flavia Home-3 yrs- $12MM
  • Lib Cummings Mead-Larkspur Lane-3yrs- $6MM
  • Kelly Paulk-Kelly Paulk Tassels-3yrs- $2.5MM
  • April Cornell-April Cornell-Home and Fashion-3 yrs. $4MM

Included artists discovery, brand extension and direction, packaging, marketing, overseas development & contract negotiation

(Some Examples Shown Below)

  • We met Sandra in Baltimore where she was operating a pottery studio and had written an aspirational gift book.
  • Coinciding with the 9/11 tragedy we developed her signature ceramic wall plaques along with other Home décor merchandise.
  • The plaques acted like aspirational ceramic greeting cards, a perfect gift to communicate feelings resonating with this emotional time when we craved support as a nation. We also designed display racks for our retailers to merchandise which helped them to stock and rapidly turn sales profitably .
  • The plaques were an instant hit and at the end of 5 years sales had reached $65MM.
  • DEMDACO a leading giftware/home decor importer based in Leawood, Kansas.
  • They are known for featuring innovative licensed products that set them apart from their competition.
  • Pictured here is their Glass Fusion line, first invented by us in 2009 with a Chinese maker using licensed artwork from Lori Siebert. This was ground breaking as the only fusion like plates that existed were too expensive. Voids in the market should be addressed!
  • This line in the first 5 years brought in 15 million dollars and it is still going strong in 2019 even after others have copied the technique.
  • Challenge: Silvestri, a seasonal company was bought out of bankruptcy after being on of the premier seasonal trim importers. They lost their footing staying with mainly 1 artist and solely in the Philippines where prices were too high while other competitors had gone to China. Every distribution was selling Christmas. They needed lower prices, fresh collections, and Everyday Collections sales for year round sales to keep afloat.
  • Goal: Find new artists, find voids in the market, and create new brands.
  • Amazingly Fanciful Flights, licensed flying sculptures were the first multi-million dollar “everyday gift” license for Silvestri (now called DEMDACO). Each flight was hand-painted, decaled, and appropriately “charmed“ and sold in a Chinese takeout box with a related rhyme.
  • Because Fanciful Flights by Karen Rossi were a more artful laser-cut metal collectible with broad appeal, by first 6 months, 12 skus brought in $1.5MM and over the course of the next three years, sales totaled $17.5 million. This collection put the company back on its feet as the product was priced right, had a displayer for retailers, and had broad appeal.
  • A well known Canadian artist, April Cornell authors fabric, fashion, and soft home and has written dynamic decorating books. Her style is spontaneous, and unformulaic, a refreshing departure from others resonating with the DIY young home dwellers today.
  • She is also a philanthropist, bird enthusiast, and factory owner in India.
  • She entrusted us to envision and expand her brand to include home décor, paper party goods, hand-painted glassware and fashion bags. $5MM
  • A monumental messaging program was developed that coincided with the horrific 9/11 twin towers demise in NYC. This was a time with people needed new ways to sensitively communicate with one another.
  • After our first sentiment line it was time to collaborate with a known artist and poet Flavia Weedn Her prose was as warm and lyrical as was her imagery.
  • The display unit helped display, store products, sort messages by theme and finally aided in using retail space profitably. Every painterly plaque carried her signature brush-stroked, canvas surface texture which made each item uniquely stand-out as an objet d’arts. $6 MM

Larkspur Lane

  • We searched for unique artisans at local craft fairs and galleries to continually set our lines apart and fulfill our mission of becoming an artistical-driven company with clever merchandising stories and displays.
  • Lib Cummings-Mead from South Carolina created a storybook land with collectible characters that repeated each year with different costumes. That strategy created a collectible following for us. Lib made the original samples so we could sensitively follow her hand-painted details and paper mâché textures. We created packaging, a display fixture and scripted each character with a storybook hangtag and packet of glitter we called magic. This merchandising called out the special nuances of this storybook brand.
  • The public loved Lib’s sophisticated vintage look, and it drove multi-million dollar sales for 4 years. $7MM Sales

Personal Business Launch-Smart Mats Studio

  • Recognized opportunity in the decorative door mat category that is still surging ahead. Various types of decaled low end rubber, flocked rubber mats, poly woven cloth mats, and finally every price and quality of coir.
  • Problem-Shedding, mildew, ripping, cracking, hard to clean, unfashionable, and lackluster designs.
  • Our Solution-looped, digitally printed polypropylene fashion mats are a smart new mat type. Traps dirt, durable, fade resistant, soft for feet, traps dirt and sand, easy to close off and clean.
  • We are a stand alone company with 63 styles. We put 1 year into testing all inks-not easy to copy.
  • Great for the growing pet market. They love lying on them and are super trapping crumbs under bowl!
  • Check us out at smartmatsstudio.com