Business,  Interview

Eco-Friendly Wedding Dresses By A Filipina |INTERVIEW|

How are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Thank you for asking, I am very well. First and foremost, I am a mom-preneur to two beautiful girls. Most of my days are focused on being a mom and day dreaming about how to make the world a better place. At night is when I turn to working on my passion and making my day dreams a reality.
I have a deep passion in building an empire that makes beautiful products that are both good for the environment and for the people that make them. We take pride in creating eco wedding gowns that that will make you proud to say “I do” in.

We have been focused on supporting our Filipino weavers, and farmers in making piña the next eco-sensational fashion item. We are doing so by blending the piña and abaca with other fibers to create modern eco fabrics that are used to design eco wedding dresses that are made by indie international wedding designers.

Please present us your business? Why did you decide to be eco-friendly and create sustainable wedding dresses?

My first ever job out of university was a sustainability analyst position at BlackBerry, which used to be Research In Motion. I felt so fulfilled to land such a prestigious job, but after the company collapsed and was forced into a massive layoff, I ended up being let go.

At the same time, typhoon Haiyan swept the southern Philippines, and this devastation left my Facebook page with a litany of posts from friends all over the world looking for their extended family. It left me with a sense of patriotism that needed to be fulfilled. I wanted to help our kababayans. My thought process was this… I need to help them.. let me send them money… but will it get to them?… how can I provide my support sustainably and more long-term?

Then I thought about this quote “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” I thought, yes, charity would help and that would be a wonderful thing for our kababayans, but I wanted to do more. I wanted to instill a sense of self-sufficiency and shift our economy to a more green-focused one. The world is changing, and we need to change with the times. Eco-living is not just a trend, and I believe that it is here to stay.

You are one of the only companies, that run a blog: Do you see a big value for your company in running a blog?

Our blog is meant to be a platform to connect with our customers, and also a way for our partners to collaborate together and share their stories – their inspiration for their creation and serve as an outlet to get feedback from our customers on what their needs are. 

In addition to your blog you are on different social media platforms: Do you think social media is important?

Story-telling has always been a prominent way of how we as humans connect with each other. We believe that the different social media platforms allow us to tell our story in a more modern way. We believe social consumerism is prevalent in today’s economy – social media allows future customers to identify a company’s value system and vision, and from there be able to make a decision on whether they’d be willing to support the business and their mission by making a purchase. 
As Anna Lape puts it “every time you spend money, you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want”.

What is your biggest achievement?

Being able to create a business that supports farmers, weavers, independent designers etc. The real blessing is having the opportunity to touch people’s lives in a positive way.

What was one of your biggest struggles?

Our biggest battle is stretching the capabilities of the pina fiber, and breaking the traditional view of what the pina is used for, which is typically for barong.

What does the Filipino Community mean to you?

Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay ‘di makakarating sa paroroonan.’

Although, I grew up in Hong Kong and studied and worked abroad, my values are very much filipino. I always look to my roots and my life experiences to show me the way forward. 

The Filipino Community is an integral part of who I am, and I believe that we should always stand by each other and offer support. If I can help any filipino kababayans, I will always be here to do the best I can to help.

What do you miss most about the Philippines?

The sun. I currently live in Washington, and it is a very green state. This means that most of the year, it is always raining. It is great to have an abundance of trees, but there are times where I do miss the Philippine sun and (yes, the heat too).

What are your future plans?

My ultimate plan for the future is to make pina an eco-sensation!

Since you have been part of so many weddings, Any advice you want to give to the brides?

A successful marriage is not determined by where you stand right now, but it is defined by your struggles together, dreams together and building your love for each other. Marriage is difficult, but the effort is rewarded by a life-time partner that will know your every quirk, every tear, every smile and every struggle, and what a blessing it would be to lay down with this amazing partner to the very end.

Any advice you want to give to the husbands?

Appreciate her – and show that you appreciate her. Being a wife and a mother is a challenging role, be patient and know that with every struggle, comes a story that you both will share to your children, and they will admire your tenacity for life’s challenges and strength for building a marriage that future generations can admire and learn from.
Any advice you want to give to other entrepreneurs?
Keep going. Just keep pushing. Use every opportunity to learn and do better, trust that with every struggle, God has a greater plan, perhaps we just can’t see it right now. Believe in yourself, and just keep going.

A last thing you want to plug?

If you are a farmer, embroiderer or designer that wants to work with us to make pina an eco fashion sensation, please contact us!

We are also looking for boutiques that would showcase the designs we have made, and showcase to the world that pina is a beautiful fabric to say “I do” in.