06 January 2017

9 Ideas to Grow Philippine Creative Culture in 2017

It’s 2017! The year that most people dread is already over, and we’re on to another chapter of our lives. Here at PURVEYR, 2016 was kind of surreal. It was the year when we decided to fully focus our time and effort into it – seven days a week, most of the time. In addition, 2016 marked our first foray to print media. It was the year when we chose to invest ourselves to a realm that we’re inexperienced in, but with full passion and ambition. A foolish endeavor or an appropriate expansion – we really can’t say yet. All we have is the belief that all we are doing now are in line with our mission. Another notable project we did in 2016 is Pursuit Fair, which is something we look to do more of this year.

PURVEYR has been running for more than four years now. It started as a side project, then became a full-time passion project, and now a responsibility. We never did this for ourselves, it was always for the local culture, and also to create something meaningful. As we go into the new year, and as we examined our role intently and the current domain of the culture, there appears a deeper task at hand. We realized that expressing ourselves more this year can be another way of pursuing our mission. So to start off 2017, in a clichéd manner, we would want to show you our own wishlist for this year. It is composed of ideas that we think will help the local creative culture grow. As much as we will do our best to achieve these wishes, we hope you all will do your part as well.

Photo from dbtkco.com

1. Encouragement over Criticism

The youngest version of the so-called “Crab Mentality”, misguided and uncalled-for criticisms can never be valuable to anyone’s growth, more so for a community’s progression. The most known form of criticism we see online are hate comments – criticisms fall under this term due to its intention, or lack thereof. While criticisms are sometimes deemed beneficial to one’s growth, we propose that at least for now, we fully commit ourselves to encouragement instead. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the one who will take criticism – what will play a bigger part in our pursuit: uncalled-for criticism or encouragement? Maybe 2017 is the time to ponder more about how we influence others, and most importantly, how we can contribute to everyone’s progress. A sense of community in all levels is what we aim for, from amateurs to experienced, and beginners to experts, ideal growth relies on collective effort.

Photo from Salad-day.com

2. Celebrate Different

One of the unconscious principles PURVEYR follows since we started in 2012 is to celebrate what’s different. Although it was never for the sake of being different, but a way to show that being different should be acknowledged and welcomed. This is an idea we want everyone to adopt – understand that being different does not make you or others lesser of a person, but it makes you invaluable instead. The world can only have so much duplicates, the differences among us make each individual important.

Photo from Highsnobiety.com

3. Not all Mainstream is Bad

While we advocate diversity, PURVEYR also understands that mainstream is not all that bad too. Accepting that mainstream is a permanent part of society widens our perspective. Through knowing all the significant parts of society, we are able to manuever ourselves to achieve our potential. More so than a call to a change of perspective of consumers, this is also directed to great local brands we look up to.

Take this into consideration: Supreme, an outlier in the independent fashion world, is mainstream in terms of its consumers, but authentic in essence and with its brand. It is a company who can pay for themselves and their employees, a true business, in every sense of the word. But even with this almost-corporate setting, they still remain authentic. So definitely, there’s a way to be successful in this pursuit. Their way might be uniquely theirs, but remember that it is possible. We believe that you need not to remain small to be authentic. Authenticity is not based on how many people follow you, it is how true you are with your principles. So maybe it’s time to rethink the term “mainstream”. The Philippines has more than 100 million people, so even appealing to just .01% (10,000) which certainly includes the so-called “mainstream” can make a huge difference in your business. Let’s grow this year. Grow to pay ourselves enough and to continue doing what we love doing.

4. Better New Local Brands and Businesses

In PURVEYR, we always get excited when we see new brands and businesses. It’s a sign that more and more people are becoming more passionate about expressing themselves. In the past year, we’ve seen a slew of new brands and businesses, from new cafés to restaurants, fashion brands to paper brands, and a lot more. It’s a great indication of how bustling the local industry is, and will be even more. However, this year, we would like to see more that are well-thought-out, genuine, and focused. There are some that are conceptually compelling but lack great branding and communication. Then there are others who are great at branding and marketing but have an uninspiring product. But the worst of them all are those establishing brands and businesses just to ride a trend to earn a quick buck. While there are a lot of notable local brands and businesses out there, we think there is still a lot of gaps in the market. It’s just a matter of investing more time and effort in conceptualizing and creating ideas within the local context, plus a dedication to uplift quality of culture and life in the Philippines.

Photo from Thebreakaway.ph

5. Diversity in Local Websites / Blogs that give Value

Next to personalities and celebrities, we believe that the most powerful influencers are media brands. And as we looked at the online landscape locally, most websites fall under crowded categories like current trends, food, news, tech, fashion blogging, and more. While we have great websites under those categories, we at PURVEYR think that we also need diversity to open Filipinos to more varied lifestyles, views, and thinking. Furthermore, we wish for more niche channels, maybe one that’s focused on Filipino literature? Art? Men’s fashion? Photography? Drinks/Beverage? There are thousands more topics and categories to talk and write about, let’s create and have content for those this year.

Photo from Pursuit Fair

6. Stop just Supporting Local, Start Acquiring Local

There’s no lack of campaigns to support local, from local-advocate Instagram accounts – Try Local PH, Discover MNL, and What’s to Love PH to big companies cashing in the movement like Bench for their Love Local campaign two years ago. But why do most local brands still seem to struggle even with such successful campaigns? We think the message lacked something. The campaign asked us to support, which was fairly easy to do, but the problem is that some people stopped there. A show of support will not directly make any business earn, or survive even. So this year, PURVEYR wants to encourage everyone to acquire local. It’s not enough for us to just show our support anymore, it’s time to start purchasing local products and services. Find things that you need that have a local alternative, and convince yourself to put your money there instead. Local businesses grew in number substantially in the past years, so we think it’s the consumers role now to step up for the “Support Local” movement to grow even more.

7. Let’s put more Cultured Local Shops in Malls

It is no secret that the Philippines has a strong connection with malls, so even though most malls lack soul and authenticity that we yearn for, we think malls play a substantial part in influencing Filipino society. Mall culture here is deeply rooted to our daily lives, and it will take a long time to completely change that. So with this, malls could be the channel that we need to impart messages and influence changes in a bigger scale more successfully.

Let’s put it in perspective. Malls are in major areas where people work, commute and live. So it is safe to believe that more than any other leisure area, we hit the mall most times in a month. But you might argue that the fulfillment of going to destination areas like Poblacion in Makati, Maginhawa in Quezon City, or Kapitolyo in Pasig is more significant than going to a mall near you. While this is true, you should also admit that you will only go out of your way a few times a month to experience that fulfillment. There are a number of ways why this is the case – Metro Manila traffic, Manila’s car culture, parking unavailability, Manila’s inefficient transport system, and a lot more. But remember though that the unconscious decision of choosing the mall over and over again is not bad, it’s just how it is, most of the time we really choose comfort and ease first.

So our proposal for 2017 is to put more cultured local shops in malls. There are people who go to neighborhood areas, and there are those who go to malls. And to effectively grow the culture we have to invite more people into it. So let’s influence them from the malls first, and then invite them to go out after. As much as PURVEYR advocates local communities outside malls, we need to focus on other ways to grow the culture effectively. For years, the thought of putting a “streetwear” store in a mall was frowned upon, until recently when Commonwealth was put up. Yes, it might have not amused all people, but being there opened up “streetwear” culture to a wider crowd and potentially help the market grow. A growth that even local brands can take advantage of. There are a lot more things to consider, but we think this is another probable way of growing in 2017.

8. Enough Food Parks, we need Lifestyle Parks

This goes hand in hand with our previous idea, as we wish for more great shops in malls, we also want to have more areas (or parks) that cater to local culture. If malls can be too expensive for small shop owners, maybe Lifestyle Parks are the way to go. PURVEYR recognizes the brilliance in the recent trend of Food Parks, so we would like see it recreated this year. Maybe, instead of just providing affordable spaces for aspiring food entrepreneurs, we create parks that express certain lifestyles and ideologies. For example, imagine a space that conveys the way of living of artists – so small galleries, an art supplies store, his favorite food joints, lifestyle stores, and more will take the spaces instead. Wouldn’t that be a little more interesting? And this way, it will be unique, consistent, and inspiring. Just look at how HUB: Make Lab in Escolta St., Manila, or Cubao Expo in Quezon City are doing it, we think that’s what we need more of this year.

9. Investment on Existing Local Businesses

Lastly, this is for those who are capable of investing and putting up their own businesses. In 2017, we encourage you to invest in existing local businesses you believe in. We know that you are able to put up another café, barbershop, fashion brand, etc., but please think twice if you are doing it just because it’s a trend or a promising industry. What we don’t need right now is another business that lacks soul, purpose, and authenticity. If you don’t have passion for that certain business, we encourage you to find an existing business who has that instead. Did having your own coffee shop ever cross your mind? Maybe partnering with a small coffee shop owner to expand that business is the better choice. Let’s try to help promising small local businesses this year, their owners might be the most passionate and driven individuals you will ever meet.


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