Cover Touch of Craft's festive wreath

The late artisan Emily Campos was known for promoting handmade art through her company Touch of Craft, leaving us with colourful and proudly Filipino decor to our homes

Touch of Craft has succeeded in promoting Philippine-made products around the world since it began operations in 1986. What was once Campos’ passion and hobby evolved to an enduring, loving community of Filipino artisans. Having patrons across the globe, Touch of Craft’s products have reached the USA, Europe, and Australia, not to mention making it to stores such as El Corte Ingles, Pier One, Hallmark and Bloomingdales. Founded by the design philosophy of “art handmade”, each piece in every Touch of Craft collection is uniquely handsewn and purposefully created to beautify our living spaces. From Christmas wreaths to a functional piece like doorstops, the company advocates superior quality, uniqueness, and expressiveness. Founder Emily Campos has left an indellible mark in the handcrafting industry. Before her untimely passing, she shared to Tatler that more than craftsmanship, what’s important for her is that their community of artisans is continuously inspired and fulfilled

Were you ever this passionate about artisanal handmade products and craftsmanship even before Touch of Craft started?

Absolutely. I like making beautiful things from simple and complex materials, giving them a purpose beyond what was originally intended, and letting people experience the value of something unique. For example, I have this line of handbags, [which are] colourful cloth totes made from pre-loved neckties.

Tell us more about your admirable work with the artisans you have been supporting for over 30 years.

I have been working closely with the artisans of Touch of Craft at every step of our creative process. I do not see them as my “workers” as most people may initially assume; our bond is familial and we do venture into new ideas and projects together as a family would. I believe that creating any piece of art comes from sharing what inspires you, which in turn inspires everyone else. Before you know it, you are all together discussing how to bring this idea to life as a team.

Any tips for other entrepreneurs in this industry?

I always put my team first and I encourage every entrepreneur to do so. It’s paramount that my team conceptualises and creates pieces together with me. My compassion for my people and my inspiration to create make me fall in love with what I do. This creative energy flows into my team, and further flows into all our creations. This philosophy and practice has been the soul of Touch of Craft for over 30 years, and has been the winning formula of our success.

What are the new styles that you foresee to become a hit for holiday decors?

Our Christmas line has always drawn inspiration from such imagery, and we re-interpret these into our signature handmade style. Take our Christmas villages, wreaths, reindeer and Nativity sets for example; all are inspired by traditional icons of the Christmas season but recreated into something unique and instantly desirable. You see an item that initially sparks familiarity, but you are taken to a whole new emotional level when it’s playfully interpreted with textured materials, lively colours, and an imaginative touch that instantly draws you in.

What are the qualities or characteristics they are usually looking for?

Currently, we have a mix of foreign and local clientele. The majority of our clients are local buyers who love our dedication to quality, style, and one-of-a-kind nature of our products. We are always blessed to have clients who continue to appreciate the qualities of our artisan products despite the proliferation of cheaper, massproduced items that come from mega-factories.

What's your comment on our industry of artisanal handmade products today and why is it important for us to showcase our masterpieces to the world?

I am so delighted to see that artisans who love making handmade products are making a come-back, especially among the youth. I see so many of them producing beautiful, handmade products by hand from locally-sourced materials, with particular attention towards product quality. What’s even more uplifting is that there are artisans who share this gift by taking the less fortunate under their wing and training them to become skilled artisans in their own right. Production runs may be limited, but the attention to detail and quality is absolutely without peer, and cannot be matched by even the best mass-production machines. These are the masterpieces the world deserves to see, hold and own.

This story is written in loving memory of Emily Campos, to celebrate her legacy and honour the community of artisans that gave her life, love, and joy

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This story was originally published on Tatler Homes Philippines Volume 29, available in bookstores this December 2021.

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