This year marked the fifth anniversary of the Taobao Maker Festival (TMF), and with that came a switch up of their usual approach – as TMF held their exhibition both virtually, and with a physical merchant road trip for the people!
The online virtual exhibition was an innovative first for Taobao, allowing users to visit a six-themed online pavilion by way of Taobao Life, Taobao’s very own 3D avatar-based virtual world. Users can experience the exhibition through their uniquely created avatar, allowing for fun-filled navigation of merchant stories and their creations, collection of virtual clothes and props from the festival for their avatar, and interactions with the virtual figures of celebrities that represent the six themed zones.
Those who yearned for something more physical also had something to cheer about with the special TMF merchant road trip. Merchants embarked on a 20-day road trip to meet TMF fans in four cities in mainland China — Hangzhou, Chengdu, Xi’an and Wuhan – in-person and showcase their product concepts.
Another first this year is a collaboration between Taobao, *SCAPE Singapore and the National Youth Council to bring the excitement of TMF to Singapore through two local projects that celebrate the creativity of Singaporean youth.
The spirit of entrepreneurship had been well and truly evident in the past decade, evermore so in youths now, who are heading businesses and producing new and exciting products on the market. This year’s TMF coincides with the introduction of an all-new merchant rating system on Taobao which will reward outstanding merchants who have taken part in TMF in the past five years. This will help young creators with much-needed brand exposure and marketing resources over the year.
The revamped four-tiered rating system will see approximately 200 merchants rewarded with digital badges, placing their products within the personalised product recommendation feature “Good Find” section on Taobao. This added advantage has helped garner more visibility for their goods to consumers and boost their profiles.
“The new rating system promotes and celebrates originality and creativity. It will enable merchants to leverage their participation in the Taobao Maker Festival into a source of year-round benefits for growing their business and customers,” said Chris Tung, Chief Marketing Officer of Alibaba Group.
“This is an initiative driven by our longstanding goal of helping small businesses and young makers to achieve their dreams and find success.”
Merchants who are part of TMF 2020 include: Chunfeng Daxiaoqiao, Tinyl Shop and BANU – three very different businesses with intriguing products from a varying range of verticals.
We start with Chunfeng Daxiaoqiao, a Taobao store specialising in costumes for cats. Founder Ms Wu Qiuqiao, a passionate cat-lover herself, started the business over her joy of dressing up her cats, creating clothing inspired by the elements from Japanese kimonos and Han-style clothing (Hanfu).
Next, we have the Tinyl Shop, designing vinyl records and players – coming in at just 3 inches apiece. Their unconventionally small vinyl players take the form of trendy toys, in order to address the price issues of conventional vinyl record players and records. Having previously worked at a rock music label, the founder of Tinyl Shop, Joker, hopes to promote vinyl culture in China and revive the popularity of physical music media.
Last but not least, there’s BANU, an authoritative leader in championing original designs and intelligent manufacturing of high-fashion sneakers. Their secret has been their proprietary 3D printing technology used to manufacture their sneakers, alongside their influx of fashion designers joining the team. These two factors have been crucial in securing massive collaborations with other well-known brands, including Nike, and in fostering a huge fanbase. This year, BANU introduced a limited-edition sneaker collection that celebrates the city of Wuhan – a tribute to the city’s fight against the COVID-19 virus.
Back on our local shores; the Singapore extension of TMF 2020 featured two prominent collaborations with Singaporean youth, highlighting their elements as innovators and trailblazers in the local maker scene.
“Singapore has a melting pot of diverse cultures and young individuals who are eager to break creative barriers, make their own mark, and showcase their creativity to the world, and this resonates deeply with TMF’s values. Through TMF’s Singapore debut, we hope to continue our efforts to showcase the millennial generation’s unique creativity and provide a solid platform for them to do so,” explained Miko Tse, Marketing Manager, Taobao Singapore.
The first collaboration was a Smart Skateboard Showcase – where local skateboarder Muhammad Kenny Bin Kamil was invited to artfully navigate a patented Smart Skateboard from Taobao through a short film. The captivating film produced by local entrepreneur, Brendon E, Founder of FastTrack SG, used the *SCAPE’s skateboard park, known for its youthful energy and skateboarding subculture.
The second collaboration saw Chinese qipao designer, 金文聪 (Jīn Wén Cōng) partnering with award-winning local filmmaker, Kassandra Lim, to photograph the various qipao designs against the renowned landmarks in Singapore as its backdrop. This collaboration exemplifies Singapore’s rich urban culture, together with Chinese traditional culture.
If you’re unable to make it down to the showcase. Fret not! They are also available for viewing digitally via the Taobao app, and through Taobao’s various media channels. You can also check out the local collaborations on *SCAPE’s website until 14 August.
Through these two collaborations and by extension, the entire Taobao Maker Festival, it is with high esteem that youths would be further inspired and that new budding entrepreneurs will be given the courage to chase after their creative inclinations. We can’t wait to see what comes next!
This post was brought to you by Taobao.
Photos courtesy of Taobao, BANU, Tinyl Shop and Chunfeng Daxiaoqiao.