In the past few years, we’ve witnessed the rise of a unique entrepreneurial vision—the social enterprise. This socially conscious business model differs with its aim to positively affect an aspect of the community through its product and profits.
As opposed to traditional business models that define their success solely on profit margins, the social enterprise or social business views the ripple effects of its presence. From creating more job opportunities to creating products that serve, impotent the different avenues of generous and heartfelt support are endless.
Being in the Philippines, we think that this business model is a refreshing way to “do well” in business while “doing good” in the community. Great examples of local social enterprises include Rags2Riches and Kape Maria, brands that are increasingly being sought by the mainstream consumer.
With the approach of the festive Christmas season, we pick out our favorite social businesses that we think create amazing presents to give. We know the joy that comes from giving these gifts, but it’s even better if we support brands that focus on giving all year round.
Pronounced “Verse” and short for Reverse the Curse, VURS is a socially conscious clothing brand that was founded by Eric Villarama and Lamont Waters.
The aim of this brand is to raise awareness on the issues of child sex trafficking, and it donates 15% percent of its profits to fund organizations that help rescue and create rehabilitation programs for these survivors, such as MTV Exit.
Often times, the victims of child sex trafficking do not have enough strength and resources to fight this battle alone. Vurs calls on individuals to wake up from their apathy, and “to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.” Vurs opens our minds to live responsibly for the service of others.
Vurs is a fantastic gift that conveys the message of faith, social responsibility, and service—backed with action.
The return of the “dapper style” for men also brought back the return of the bowtie—and our favorite among bowtie brands is the Bambowtie, which is ethically and sustainably made out of our local bamboo.
Envisioned by Bryan McClelland, these Bambowties are crafted by workers from Gawad Kalinga. Apart from providing livelihood programs, proceeds from these Bambowties also go into building a playground, a bamboo nursery, and a scholarship fund for the community’s children.
(On a side note: Bryan also created the Bambike, a bicycle with a bamboo frame, which we think is another amazing gift if you’d like to buy something bigger for your nature- or adventure-seeking loved one.)
Started by Renee Patron, the handwoven bags and home accessories of Banago are crafted in Samar and sold around the globe. Each bag is handcrafted by the women in local communities, with designs drawing from Philippine culture (such as the “Pintados” pattern inspired by local tattooed warriors) and Renee’s own personal design direction.
Not only does this brand help give the women artisans jobs, but it also exports Philippine culture and craft to the international fashion arena.
Banago has launched a campaign to help the women artisans affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. Simply purchase a Malaya Tote, and these profits will go back to helping the artisans rebuild their lives. Every bit of help counts.
No longer is “arts and crafts time” limited to a class taught in grade school. Mary Velmonte, Claude Rodrigo Cañete, Dexter Cañete, and Missy Galang started the Takatak Project in order to revive the love for local papier mache horses.
This project brings awareness of the Philippine craft industry while also providing employment opportunities to local craftsmen.
Takatak’s modern twist to this traditional art fuses past and present design, and is a relevant medium to educate the next generation on craft culture. We recommend this as a great gift to give any child… or anyone’s inner child.
Theo & Philo Artisan Chocolates
Philo Chua is the mastermind who created this brand of delicious, mouth-watering chocolates from the Philippines. The beans for Theo & Philo Artisan Chocolates are grown in Davao, while the sugar is from Bacolod—making their entire “bean to bar” process local (as opposed to the popular European chocolate brands that only import their beans before they produce the chocolate bar).
Theo and Philo Artisan Chocolates have found a way to grow the local cacao industry not just by harvesting the beans, but by finding a genius and creative way to innovate the product via their local flavors.
Try the much talked about Calamansi, Adobo, Turon, Pili & Pinipig, and Green Mango & Salt flavors. At first glance, these flavors are not easily identified with the usual romance of chocolate, but it is through the brand’s willingness to mix new ideas and personal inspirations that they create something truly unique. Share their joy this Christmas, one bite at a time.
Human Heart Nature
One of our favorite natural beauty brands to emerge, Human Heart Nature was started by couple Anna Meloto-Wilk and Dylan Wilk, together with Camille Meloto, Anna’s sister. Human Heart Nature’s mission revolves around three integral advocacies: Pro-Philippines, Pro-Poor, and Pro-Environment.
The brand is “Pro-Philippines” with its support for sourcing from local suppliers and having all the products made in the Philippines.
It’s “Pro-Poor” with its partnerships with Gawad Kalinga, The Aid Foundation Inc., and the Philippine Federation for Environmental Concern to help local growers improve the quality of their crops in order to earn better income.
Lastly, it’s “Pro-Environment” with their initiatives to encourage bottle recycling, while encouraging a no-waste and non-toxic production process.
This present is perfect for your friends who love checking out the beauty counters.