The Art of Handloom
In our journey of product creation and development, we have been constantly working with craftsman and bag maker, Jess Rellama. We met Jess as college students, back then, we had no background or knowledge on bag making and design; just pure and concrete ideas.
We led a series of searches for the right manufacturer who was able to catch our vision, and found this person in Jess right after we saw his sample of our initial product, the Habi binder. We are fortunate to have met a talented crafter who could translate ideas to reality; sometimes even further than what we’ve imagined.
Through our story with Jess, we realized that he is just one of so many other undiscovered yet skilled craftspeople who reside at the very heart of our cities. This was when we learned that it is imperative for us to highlight the stories of the people behind our products - their story, their groundwork, their artistry, and their vision.
This is the story of Jess Rellama. May it cause you to always consider the hearts and hands behind your purchases; find value in asking the process behind the manufacturing of your belongings, and encourage you to rediscover local ingenuity and craftsmanship.
Jess learned the skill of making bags from his relatives, and since then has been making bags for over a decade now. He worked in a factory, but eventually decided to shift to independent bag making due to financial concerns and his desire to grow in his craft.
His is a story of redemption and perseverance. During the peak of the online businesses, he started gain more clients. It was also during this time when he decided to quit his vices as he saw that his work was being affected - “Kaya kinailangan ko talaga ang disiplina sa sarili” (I knew I needed self-discipline). Today he is living a better lifestyle. “Bag making,” as he said, “renewed his focus, skill, and craft."
He draws inspiration from unique designs, concepts, shapes, and material qualities. He studies every design meticulously, combined with hard work and creative discipline - a fulfilling work for him is one that is both purposeful and excellent in quality. Through his work, he is able to provide for his family, finding purpose and fulfillment in bag making.