Artisan of the Year 2023

Artisan of the Year 2023

Tora & Friends product family designed and manufactured by Kilatora Design won an artisan competition, in Finland 17.11.2023. Link to the Finnish craft & Design news

Artisan of the year 2023

I was pleasantly surprised and very grateful to be chosen as Artisan of the Year. This is a great honor and recognition of my work, to which I have devoted so much time and energy. Drawing has been my passion since childhood. I am happy that I dared to change my field and move to the creative field. It feels good to be rewarded.

While studying textiles and fashion to become a manufacturer of Design Textiles, I designed a product family of four patterns. My plans were to start a company and manufacture my own products for it. Towards the end of my studies, I was encouraged to participate in the Artesaani competition with the products I designed and manufactured.

 "The handprint of an expert artisan is like a breath of fresh air"

I wanted to create small and cute kawaii characters that have adventures in their own designs, but belong to the same world in terms of style. I did the first pattern experiments with my mascot Tora, then I drew a bunny, a cat and a bat. This is how the popular Tora & Friends product family began. Each cartoon character has its own color scheme, and in addition to the fabric, I designed a lining fabric that matches the color theme of each character, which creates a retro-like and kawaii  effect on the products.

Artisan competition winning products bykilatora Design.

During the design phase of the fabrics, I took into account both of the products I designed. The prints are designed in such a way that after the pouch is cut from the fabric, a piece can be cut for the wristlet keychain, so that a certain line of characters remains in the middle. This way, the fabric is not wasted. When designing the products, I also wanted to take into account my target audience and produce utility products with different prices. In addition to pencil cases and key rings, I made bookmarks out of possible scraps. This is part of my commitment to sustainable and ecological design.

In the future, I want to expand this product family to different products. I have already designed various paper products, such as notepads and stickers as well as book and tablet pouches. I have already made a collectible enamel pin set of my kawaii characters, which are now available in my online store!

colorful pencilcases from Tora & Friends collection by Kilatora Design.

Artisan competition prize money, own fair stand and company start-up money

The awards were given at the Finnish handicraft fair on 17 November 2023, Europe's largest handicraft event. As part of the prize, in addition to the prize money, I got my own fair stand, which I could design and build it however I wanted. This three day event was the biggest I have ever been to. During that time, I made my own sales record, received a lot of good feedback from customers and also good tips for my future business. During this time I was also called and informed that I was granted start-up money for my company.

The competition and participating in it was an ordeal, but I'm glad I did it. For the competition presentation, I had to research my own vision of my company and products and also think about things through my target group. Putting my thoughts into text is difficult and time-consuming for me, so in addition to the written presentation, I decided to also make a more extensive video, which I can later use for marketing as well.

Closing words 

I want to thank my design textile teacher for all the help and guidance. As well as my visual arts teacher who encouraged me to become a 4H entrepreneur at one time, and our school's metal- and wood vocational fields who made me great display stands for the event. Also thanks also to my classmates for their support and encouragement 💜

colorfyl wristlet keychains from Tora & Friends collection by Kilatora Design.

Back to blog