SM partner Kea International provides opportunities to countryside  handicraft makers

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Kea International owner Eloisa Bautista-Flores’ journey with Conrad Manila started by consistently doing good work. Conrad Manila is one of the hotels under SM Hotels and Conventions Corp.

Backed by years of experience in supplying handicrafts in the hotel industry, Bautista-Flores understood what needed to be done to supply products to SM Hotels. It is to showcase the excellence of their handicrafts.

She shared, “Being one of SM’s suppliers for many years, we were referred by buyers of baskets to Conrad Manila. From there, we presented our production capacity.” It was a decision that paved the way for more success not only for Kea International but for the handicraft communities in the countryside.

Established in 2010, Kea creates handmade products including baskets, storages, gift boxes, furniture, woodcrafts, and other home accessories.

“I supply Conrad Manila with leather-made guest amenities. This includes holders of notepads, TV remotes, and directories. These are being produced in our main warehouse in Batangas. We have in-house production that creates 100% handmade accessories. Everything is hand-sewn, hand-wrapped by skilled box makers in our province,” Bautista-Flores further shared.

Going beyond guest amenities, Kea also supplies Conrad Manila’s kitchen with pantry trays and wood boards. “For woodcraft like boards and trays, we have satellite factories in Tarlac where these are being produced,” she shared.

Her products’ presence at Conrad Manila also led to better and brighter things for her company: “While I was supplying Conrad Manila, I met one of the executives and he asked me to approach SM Store. We presented our Buri Hamper Set. This was the first item we sold to SM Store.”

Bautista-Flores further shared that from usually selling 100 sets, it grew to about 1,000 a year. In her journey with SM, she shared that there were a lot of learnings along the way.

“One thing I admire about SM is that they truly treasure the partnership, and I am proud to be one of their suppliers. They are with me every step of the way. I am just amazed at how systematic their operations are attending to thousands of suppliers. Being in the handicraft industry where low-income workers are thousands, orders from SM have brought good livelihood to the countryside,” she said.

For Bautista-Flores, the growth of her company is also the growth of the people who work with her. 

Just this year, Conrad Manila was named a verified luxury hotel by Forbes Travel Guide 2023 Star Awards, the world-renowned authority on excellence in hospitality, and amid the elegance at Conrad Manila are beautifully made handicrafts created by workers who take pride in what they do.

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