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The Focolare Carpentry Training Center (FCTC) had its humble start as a social center for adults who possessed particular talents but have no means of sustenance. It developed and grew into a stable institution in 1968 when an Italian master carpenter and two talented Filipino carvers from the Mountain Province decided to pool their skills together and start such an activity. This communion of work gave birth to a manufacturing center for furniture.
The team's creative talents did not escape the eyes of an Israeli interior designer. She commissioned the budding carpentry shop to make a piece of furniture for one of her projects. She was so satisfied that she talked to her friends, relatives and clients about having their furniture made from that shop - if they wanted good quality. From the many Filipino customers, the list grew to include people from other countries who come to the Philippines for varied reasons. All these happened without the minimum effort of advertising.
In spite of recurrent economic crises, the Shop was also able to accept more apprentices to train because of the different approaches adopted in production. In times when almost everyone resolved to choose the way of mass production, the Focolare Carpentry Shop went against the current by opting for a highly personalized, made -to-order furniture production.
Everyone in the Shop is considered a craftsman who progresses by developing his talents and capabilities. Every piece of furniture is built by someone who has learned to give particular attention to proportions even though the designs and specifications have been prepared, perhaps, by somebody else. He is aware that the finished product will serve a human being, a person worthy of all the meticulous preparations involved in "creating" a piece of furniture. That is why suggestions are given much importance.
The teamwork and the art of learning from each working experience becomes a lifestyle. Therefore every piece of furniture produced becomes a personalized property for every phase of planning and production is imbibed with the dynamics of interpersonal relationship between the administrators and the working staff, eventually benefiting the end-users. In this atmosphere of fraternal rapport, the apprentice learns from the instructor and their relationship positively affects the customers.
At times they would volunteer their own ideas or come with their own interior decorators, or even without the least idea of what they wantted. The staff listens to them, then tries to really understand their needs, their tastes; then draws out proposals, or offers a practical solution, taking into consideration the customer's economic and aesthetic exigencies.