When you're the founder of a furniture firm, looks matter, of course. But for Dalisay Collective's Pristine Lampard, beauty is also about heritage and helping the community.
Lampard was born in the Philippines and moved to Texas when just one. Being gifted with numbers, she went on to read math and economics at Texas A&M University.
Her first experience in Hong Kong was a summer internship during university, where she worked for a bank. She loved the city so much that she returned in 2014 and reconnected with her now-husband, whom she met back in her internship days.
"I ended up getting a job in finance and staying. It's been seven years."
While she worked in IT and finance in her early career, Lampard's interest has always been with nonprofits and community work.
In university, she started the Aggie Rings for Veterans program to raise funds for military veteran students to obtain their class ring.
"So when I had the opportunity in Hong Kong to work full time in social enterprises and non-profit, of course I took it."
The Hong Kong-based social enterprise works with a women's college in Rwanda and focuses on higher education, skill-building and access to work opportunities - themes that she focuses on with Dalisay as well. She also started collecting home items from her working trips for her Hong Kong apartment.
Being in the city's multicultural and international environment has sparked Lampard's interest in exploring and appreciating her own heritage more.
"Being back in Hong Kong and in much closer proximity to the Philippines, being able to travel there more often pre-Covid - not only to meet friends and relatives but to visit other places as well - has helped me to connect and have that urge to continue learning more about my heritage."
As her collection grew, she started recognizing products with materials or techniques native to the Philippines sold online without any acknowledgment or recognition of their origins.
"So what I wanted to create with Dalisay was getting that acknowledgment of where the piece came from and also adding in that special feeling that I had when I was traveling and bringing pieces back - something that is unique and has a story behind it."
Combining forces with her husband, who is an architect and designer, Lampard built the brand Dalisay - Tagalog for "pure, genuine or sincere" - last year, starting with custom projects and slowly developing its retail line.
Its logo is the national flower of the Philippines, the sampaguita. Not only is the pure white jasmine associated with the notion of dalisay, it is also similar to the meaning of her own name.
It was not a smooth start. In early 2020, Lampard's first customer was ready to order when cities across the world, including the Philippines, went into lockdown.
"We had to reduce the order by quite a lot and were able to take maybe only half of what we were originally going to because of the client's timeline as well," Lampard recalled.
It was not an ideal situation, but Lampard was glad that they were able to complete the order, as it provided work for staff during that difficult period, and the team learned a lot about managing the different aspects of the operations during the pandemic.
Working with small workshops and local artisans in the Philippines, Lampard hopes that it will give them the opportunity to access larger markets worldwide.
Recently, Dalisay Collection has launched a pop-up store at K11 Musea, where people can see up close the different pieces that the brand has to offer. It is open until end-August.
The brand has also rolled out a flexible ownership system where people can try the furniture out for three to 12 months in their living space before committing to a purchase.
"At the end of the period, you can either have us come and pick it up again, renew, or change to a new plan," she said. The other option is to pay the difference between the retail price and the payments you already made to own the piece forever.
Lampard said that while this is not a new system and can be found in the United States, it is also a great opportunity for people to refresh their space with less money and waste.
"A lot of fast furniture cannot be repaired," she added. "Our products, which are made with real wood, can very easily be sanded, refinished or even remade to reduce waste."