“At first, I thought the only way to support a business was to just purchase their products,” James Magpoc, a 23-year-old entrepreneur, told Manila Standard.
But after purchasing a couple of items from small local shops and experiencing selling his own products in bazaars as part of his college thesis, he realized he could do more.
“I realized that sharing their posts and referring them to friends and family are other ways to support small and local [businesses],” he shared. “They appreciate feedback on their products and services.”
With this idea in mind, Magpoc created Shop Local Brands PH in 2020.
Hundreds of brands on one page
Shop Local Brands PH is a platform on Facebook and Instagram that features small local businesses. Products and services range from food, clothing, personal and home care, to fitness equipment, plants, artworks, and more.
“I realized that marketing was difficult for small businesses,” said the Gen Z founder, a discovery that urged him to create @shoplocalbrandsph, which he envisioned to be a vehicle that would encourage consumers to support local, as well as “recognize the efforts that those owners dedicate to manage their businesses”.
Businesses and brands featured on the platform are those who reach out to Magpoc. On slow days, “I search up businesses via Instagram related to certain categories, and ask if they’ll be interested in a feature. I also go through the ‘Suggested for you’ portion, and just scroll through possible accounts I could feature.”
Shop Local Brands PH currently has over 2,600 followers on Instagram, and over 2,400 “follows” and “likes” on Facebook.
“Each time I make a feature, I always make sure to have the logo of the small business as the first photo shown for brand recognition,” added Magpoc.
Local does not mean subpar
Magpoc, a graduate of Legal Management minor in Enterprise Development from the Ateneo de Manila University, is aware of many Filipino consumers’ preference for global and established brands over small and local.
“I have heard people label small businesses as ‘pangit’, mukhang peke’, and in other instances, ‘sayang lang ang pera’,” he lamented.
“I remember in the first bazaar my barkada and I joined, mall-goers would snob and ignore us. No lie, it was [disheartening], and I thought to myself, ‘Is that really how we come off towards other sellers?’”
“What people forget is that those well-known brands started off small. Entrepreneurs create start-ups because they put value in their creativity. They need to be recognized and supported for their efforts,” emphasized Magpoc.
The Shop Local Brands PH founder noted the pandemic and the ensuing acceleration of online shopping have increased the support for local brands. “People would share Instagram handles of businesses, even taking pictures of the products they order, and telling their viewers to follow those accounts.”
With over 700 brands featured on its social media pages, as of this writing, Magpoc “firmly” believes that every Filipino entrepreneurs has something unique to offer, so, in his own way, he encourages them “to dedicate their efforts to building their businesses”.
And for consumers, he said, “If you have something nice you want to say about their products, don’t be shy to let them know. It encourages them to keep pushing for their businesses.”