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Entrepreneur eyes Cebu’s high-end furniture market

By: Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo February 12,2017 - 09:44 PM



A C EBUANO entrepreneur is showing her growing confidence in Cebu’s furniture sector as she opens a gallery featuring high-end furniture pieces from eight Cebu-based companies.

“There is a strong demand for high-end furniture pieces here in Cebu and even in the Visayas and Mindanao area. Over the last 10 years that I’ve been working as an interior decorator, I have had clients who want high-end furniture pieces, but we can’t seem to find any of them in Cebu,” said Elaine Cooper during last Thursday’s media launching of Elaine Cooper Interiors and Gallery.

Cooper, who runs the gallery, said Cebu as the furniture capital of the Philippines is home to companies with world-class craftsmanship and world-renowned designs.

But these pieces are not readily visible to the locals who want sophisticated and high-class furniture items.

She said she would often fly to Manila and foreign countries to look for furniture pieces which would suit her clients’ preferences.

“On the other hand, some companies here do not want to open a gallery or a showroom so we talked and I told them I can do their marketing by placing their pieces in my gallery. It’s a win-win situation,” said Cooper.

She invested less than a million pesos to prepare the vacant space of the 12th floor of the Link Building located within Cebu IT Park, where she welcomes guests.

She said she converted this into a gallery which is now filled with veneer beds and bedside tables, and living room pieces among others.

A veneer bed costs at least P100,000. But clients would pay half a million pesos for a classic eight-seater dining table set.

“The demand for high-end furniture pieces has not waned even when the crisis hit the country 10 years ago. The demand is there, that is why I am confident in opening this gallery because I can finally have a place where I can show my clients’ classic and contemporary pieces,” said Cooper, who studied fashion design at Slim’s School of Fashion in Manila.

She has dabbled in different entrepreneurial ventures in the past 26 years. These included creating casual clothes, hotel and office uniforms, and bridal gowns; owning a flower shop; and doing interior work projects.

In 2008, she established Elaine Cooper Interiors.

Cooper also collaborated with visual artist Fred Galan as she believes in the Cebuanos’ superior creativity and unmatched skills in creating world class products.

“It is a worthwhile cause to support locally-made products. More importantly, the Cebuanos’ craftsmanship and ingenuity is showcased here because the furniture pieces are made by Cebuanos working for these companies,” said Cooper.

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu City, furniture, it park, Philippines

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