The travel bag ladies

The travel bag ladies. Three of four movers of The Field Trip Project with the TFTP's first bag collection

WINNING comes in different forms. For these three ladies whose teams’ business pitch not making the cut in a British Council-hosted social enterprise camp, a bigger plan fell into place.

Fate had other plans for these like-minded young entrepreneurs who may have come from a diverse background but share the same passion for making a difference in the country.

It was through the boot camp that the connection connected between the four of them was established. Through that the collaboration was materialized for The Field Trip Project (TFTP).

“There are 4 of us working on The Field Trip Project,” shared Carmaela B. Alcantara, the designer for Crystal Seas, a company that produces beautiful bags and fashion complements using Mindanao’s hand-woven textiles.

Each bag you buy will tell its own story. The Field Trip Project's mission is to fund educational field trips for underprivileged children

The other three are Joycee Miranda, a freelance communications researcher and specializes in consumer insights and market testing; Tina Hipolito, who recently moved from the corporate world to serve in the public sector, specifically in National Youth Commission; and Alex Junia, who works in an art gallery in Makati and is knowledgeable about digital communications, photography and graphic design.

It was Joycee who actually had the simple idea of funding field trips for underprivileged children.

She knew she wanted to do it but had no idea how. She mulled over selling small travel items to raise funds, and approached Carmaela in late 2014 for advice on the products.

Carmaela then further expanded on Joycee’s vision. Why not dream big and do unique travel bags?

In the first TFTP collection- the travel backpack in cotton canvas with Yakan details

The team named the brand The Field Trip Project (TFTP) in connection to the team’s love for travel and the team’s goal to share the joy of travel to the underprivileged schoolchildren.

True to its name, the brand also features designs that are travel related and travel friendly.

It all fell into place: Crystal Seas was fully capable of producing the bags, and this was an opportunity for them to expand into a more casual line. Carmaela and Joycee continued meeting and refining the designs until early 2015 in preparation for the launch in Manila FAME.

The fist TFTP collection was launched at the Manila FAMLE in March 2015.

Joycee mentioned TFTP to Tina, who immediately volunteered to help in creating the marketing collaterals for the event, helping define the brand’s identity and positioning.

Later in the year, Alex joined the team to lend her expertise on social media promotion and web design.

TFTP was launched in Manila FAME in March 2015. The exhibition did not only provided a great opportunity for the team to share their advocacy with other people, but also opened the door to store spaces in Tesoro’s Philippine Handicrafts in its Makati and NAIA branches in August 2015, and more recently, in Eco Fusion-Davao Dwellings at Abreeza Mall in February 26 this year.

For TFTP’s first collection, it featured the Yakan hand-woven textile from Zamboanga in its design of backpacks, tote bags and sling bags.

“For summer 2016, we will be having a travel organizer and cross-body bags to complement the current product line. We want to showcase the interesting patterns and bold colors of the Yakan cloth and to integrate this traditional textile to everyday wear,” said the bag designer.

TFTP is targeting the release of new styles biannually for Spring/Summer and for Holidays.

For every production run, production is 50 to100 units. They are hoping to increase production when new markets open up.

TFTP is looking forward to increasing its production from the initial manufacturing of 50-100 bags.

TFTP has its social cause. Fifty percent of its net profit goes directly to the travel fund of school children, the other half goes back to production and other operating expenses.

“Since this is a start-up project, we decided to initially partner with our personal networks, who work in line with the educational sector. The children that we enjoin in field trips are part of organized groups who support them in their education. The advantage of working with friends allows us to manage better the expectations of our beneficiaries— setting the schedule, planning the trips, coverage of the budget, etc,” said Tina.

So far, TFTP have sponsored a total of 38 children for the first year of the project.

The first field trip was in partnership with Teach for the Philippines (TFP, a non-profit organization) teachers from Malaban Elementary School located in one of the most depressed areas in Laguna with most of the students have not set foot outside the province. The team brought the students to Luneta Park, National Museum and Museo Pambata to show our country’s rich history and to instill a deeper sense of national pride.

Next, TFTP partnered with one of our colleagues to bring kids from Balara High School in Quezon City to attend a play in UP Diliman.

The purpose of the field trip is to teach the kids lessons in a creative way such as performing arts.

The third field trip was conducted in Davao City with the kids from AWANA Bankerohan, an outreach program that teaches Christian education to disadvantaged communities. TFTP brought the kids to the Philippine Eagle Center and D' Bone Collector museum, with the purpose of showing the importance of taking care of the environment and protecting other creatures made by God.

In the future, TFTP plans to involve more teachers and partner with other organizations to set up more field trips in the different parts of the Philippines.

“We are aiming to distribute our bags all over the Philippines through distribution channels –online stores, boutiques, hotels, etc., that understand our vision of sharing the joy of travel to kids. We are also open to partnering with institutions and companies by providing them corporate giveaways. Hopefully, we will be able to reach the international market by enjoining the support of Filipino communities so that we can finance more field trips and also promote our beautiful local weaves and textiles to the world,” said the travel bag ladies.


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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 21, 2016.