Risque Designs is a social enterprise from Manila, Philippines, which supports local artisans, above all sculptors. Over the years they carved mainly figurines and religious symbols, interesting only for few potential clients. Tal decided to use their skills in an unique way.
People, often from poor communities, have amazing skills, but they are not really innovative in terms of design and that’s why I decided to go there and see what we can do together. Everything started a few years ago, when I tried to import shoes and I was really frustrated by taxes and other related problems. So I thought: what if we start to produce shoes in the Philippines? I wanted to create a unique brand, so I invited sculptors to collaborate.
Today skills of sculptors and other communities are used to produce untypical shoes: hand-made heels, traditional patterns and materials. Although, producing shoes is not really an easy task.
We have to face a lot of challenges, especially connected with production and sales. When I started, I had a selling company, many problems with production, the quality was not good, shoes came back because clients were not satisfied. It’s hard, because there are so many different parts of the shoe which can go wrong. I think that among fashion items shoes are particularly difficult. For example, for clothes you can have just three sizes: small, medium, big. For shoes you need so much more. One of the biggest problems was creating the balance between demand and how much we produce. Now we are about there, getting balance, but trying to still improve it.
After a few years Risque Design already has its own place in one of the shopping malls, till now they only took part in fairs, also international ones. But their priority is the local community.
We try to do it parallel, grow local and international, but I think local will go first. We try to get some personality to collaborate. People are driven by personalities. We want some people who are not only popular but those who support locals. It’s important for us, we are Filipino, doing things in the Philippines. Being Filipino is one of the most important points for most changemakers from the Philippines, with whom we had a chance to talk. Their will to change the world is deeply connected with the need to act and improve the lives of their compatriots.
How to do that?
Be one who helps people, just that. Be really prepared for a hard journey, if you deal with communities, they don’t have systems… we work differently. You have to be able to adjust. You cannot expect a community to relate to you the same way as coworkers in corporate. You have to be able to understand and be prepared to make adjustments. There is a chance your community will not meet the deadline, because someone died or there is a festival so you won’t reach your target and you cannot do anything because this is the way they work.
More about Risque Design: risquedesignsph.com