Gelaine Santiago couldn’t believe she’s one of the winners of the prestigious Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards — something she’s always hoped for but felt was a far-off dream.
Now a reality, she admits she once doubted herself and her work, which she had to overcome through the support of her husband.
“Even though I’m the one who’s receiving this award and I get to be at the award ceremony, it’s not really an award for me but instead it really is an acknowledgment of the work of the Filipino community and of my parents and family and the people who’ve put in the work to make sure that people like me can have my story shared.”
Santiago and her husband founded Cambio & Co, an e-commerce fashion company, dedicated to promoting Filipino craftsmanship, culture and heritage while creating sustainable livelihood for artisans in the Philippines.
The company’s name has Spanish roots, meaning change, which reflects the couple’s desire to promote a more ethical way of doing business.
“We really focus on sharing the stories of Filipino craftsmanship, how pieces are made, as well as the stories of the artisans and the communities themselves. One of the core things that we try to understand early on before we choose a partner is understanding how deep is the social impact is built into the model itself.”
With a blend of traditional Filipino craftsmanship and contemporary designs, Cambio & Co provides a tangible way for Filipinos to stay connected to their roots by wearing a piece of Filipino culture day-to-day.