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2010 Annual Report

Eco-Ethical Lifestyle 1 Â

Rags2Riches 2010 and Beyond Eco-Ethical Message from the President Rags2Riches Profile Rags2Riches History The Rags2Riches Team Rags2Riches 2010 •  Milestones for Rags2Riches 2010 •  Rags2Riches 2010 Collection •  Partners and Advocates •  Rags2Riches 2010 Results •  Rags2Riches in the News Beyond •  What’s weaving for 2011? •  Be an Eco-Ethical Lifestyle Advocate! Rags2Riches Manifesto


Eco-Ethical Message from the President for 2011 Dear Rags2Riches Partner and Advocate, First of all, thank you very much for being an Eco-Ethical Lifestyle advocate through Rags2Riches! Your friendship, lifestyle, advocacy, and values inspire us so much that we will move on to 2011 as passionately as ever, to reach out to more communities and upcycle more scrap materials. It is possible to live a beautiful life, enrich the planet, and empower people, all at the same time. Thank you for a wonderful 2010! Because of your support, we were able to: Upcycle around 50 tons of scrap materials Empower 450 women artisans from different communities around Metro Manila Spread our advocacy to more than 700 local and international publications and websites! But I am already getting ahead of myself. This Rags2Riches 2010 report that you are holding (or browsing) is packed with GREAT news about Rags2Riches and our stakeholders. You will get to know more about our wonderful team who made this all happen, our empowered community leaders and communities, our partners, our milestones, and much more! We are excited to share these, as we deeply and strongly believe that you were part of our amazing 2010! This 2011, we are looking on to more exciting events, partnerships, and opportunities to spread more positive influence! We have unique new materials, designs, designers, community members, and quality of life programs that you can be part of! Rags2Riches will be breaking new ground and creating new systems that will not only deepen and widen our advocacy, but also serve as the road map that future social enterprises could learn from and follow. We are excited to move forward in 2011 with you! Thank you very much for being part of Rags2Riches in advocating for our 4 bottom lines: People, Planet, Profit, and Positive Influence. We were, are, and forever will be missiondriven with you as our witness and advocate, as we believe that Rags2Riches is our prayer, our humble every day offering to God and our Country. We are looking forward to spreading more positive influence with you! AMDG Reese Fernandez-Ruiz

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Profile and History

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Rags2Riches From waste, to wealth, to world-class. Rags2Riches Inc. ( is a social business enterprise creating high-end designer fashion masterpieces and home accessories that are eco-ethical. Rags2Riches empowers and engages women of poor communities, and upcycles scrap cloth discarded by garment factories around the Philippines.   Rags2Riches is committed to establish a pattern-changing, scalable, and sustainable business that values and invests on:

People Communities: Rags2Riches empowers and engages communities from marginalized sectors, as well as improves the lives and secures the futures of families in these communities, through building socially responsible and sustainable community-based enterprises. Experts: Rags2Riches innovatively fosters partnerships with renowned fashion designers, runway models, fashion directors, marketers, and entrepreneurs. Market: Rags2Riches engages the market of high-end eco-conscious icons and socialites who are empowered to know the people behind their products and to choose purpose over mere purchase.


Products: Rags2Riches also respects and advocates respect for the environment through "upcycling" discarded cloth scraps and merging these with organic, sustainably sourced raw materials. Process: The process is also the product, as Rags2Riches ensures that from the production to the market, the steps are ecoethical.

Profit and Positive Influence Advocacy: Rags2Riches is a viable and sustainable social business enterprise that inspires and influences other businesses to do well by doing good. Rags2Riches also engages the market in creative recycling and advocating for fair trade. Marketability: We want each buyer to buy the product, open it, feel its beautiful texture, and know that he/she just contributed to a good cause. Each product comes with the Rags2Riches story of transformation and a handwritten signature of the mother who made the product. Sustainability: Rags2Riches is a model and successful example that proves that social business enterprises could be a financially viable company, a worthy investment, a promising career option, and a world-changer, all at the same time.


It all started with an irritation, a social injustice, talented but marginalized women, and very passionate young professionals. Payatas is the site for one of the Philippines’ largest dumpsites. It is also home to thousands of families. Most of these families live through scavenging, doing odd jobs, or taking advantage of contractual opportunities.   Payatas is also home to a large pool of mothers who stay home to take care of their children while their husbands work or look for work. Their time at home, and the garbage pile near their homes, presented several opportunities for extra income for these women. A few years ago, some of these women found scraps of cloth amidst the dump site and around their area. They started weaving foot rugs and rags out of these. Not long after, the trend grew into an informal cottage industry of rug-weavers.   Unfair trade found its way into this informal cottage industry. The mothers lacked the market access and information, and thus, heavily relied on middlemen. These middlemen started to source the scraps of cloth directly from factories. As a result, no scrap cloth could be found around the area that could be used for free anymore. The mothers had to buy their raw materials from a series of middlemen. They would then sell their finished rugs that they weave for days and weeks, to another set of middlemen who got the bulk of the profit. The women, who could make around 8-10 pieces of rugs per day, only earned P1.00 per rug (around .02 Cents USD) as a result of this chain of unfair trade.   1st Quarter and 2nd Quarter 2007   A group of young professionals (including Angeline Benavides-Bulan and Memey Mendoza) from Life Directions and Maan Lim were brought to Payatas by the Jesuit Brother who was assigned in the area, Brother Xavier Alpasa S.J. Together, they discussed the problem of the mothers and were able to propose initial solutions.   Almost at the same time, a group of students from the Business Innovations Class (including Mark Ruiz and Reese Fernandez) visited the rug-weavers of Payatas. The group of students were able to identify the same problems and created a framework that is designed to direct the women of Payatas to the market.



3rd Quarter of 2007 The Rags2Riches team of young professionals grew (Timothy Agulto, Bam Aquino, Timi Gomez) to support the growing project that was then part of the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (socio-political arm of the Jesuits), CGE (Citizens by Good Example) Program.   Jeremy Kho, Dr. Protacio, and Rodney Laurel, were the first people to provide financial assistance to the budding organization. Their generosity and passion made it possible for Rags2Riches to jump start and emerge into the social business enterprise that it is now. The Rags2Riches team (Management Committee) also believed and invested in the initiative. They pooled together the Php 100,000 that became the seed capital of Rags2Riches, Inc.   During this time, the Rags2Riches team helped the women improve the quality and style of the rugs and transformed them from multi-coloured to solidcoloured rugs. The market’s response to the elegant and stylish rugs was remarkable. The first few bazaars of Rags2Riches during this time were sold-out and garnered positive feedback. The number of women members also slowly grew from 3 to 30.   Rajo Laurel: The First Believer   The Rags2Riches team decided to add more value to the current products by integrating a designer angle. Two of the team members, Angeline Benavides Bulan and Timothy Agulto, got in touch with Rajo Laurel, and the team sat down with him at an informal dinner.   During the dinner, the team shared the Rags2Riches story to Rajo, and that night itself, Rajo magically transformed ordinary rugs into elegant fashion pieces. The very next day, he was able to provide prototypes. That was the beginning of the designer line, RIIR by Rajo Laurel.   In less than 4 months, Rags2Riches was able to grow its initial capital by almost 400%. The overwhelming response of the market, especially during the Christmas season and the momentous November 22 RIIR by Rajo Laurel Launch at the EDSA Shangri-la Garden Ballroom, inspired the team to grow the social business enterprise into a formal corporation.   1st Quarter of 2008   Rags2Riches was established as a for-profit corporation that aims to provide product development, marketing, sales, and community development services to the women of Payatas.


Team Members

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Rags2Riches Board of Directors and Founding Partners Timothy Agulto– Xavier Valedictorian, Hapinoy, Leadership Guru Xavier Alpasa S.J. —Previous Executive Director of Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan, Outstanding Alumnus, UST, TED Fellow, multi-awarded Social Entrepreneur, Social Entrepreneur– Hotel Maya, Isla Cullion   Bam Aquino— Previous Chairman of National Youth Commission, Asia 21 Fellow, The Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines 2010, Jollibee Yumbassador 2010, Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, Hapinoy President and CoFounder, TV Host of Start-UP   Angeline Benavides-Bulan—Executive in a multi-national Financial Institution   Judith Caballero—Empowered Woman Leader in Payatas, Chairman of the Board of the Rags2Riches Cooperative 2010-2011   Reese Fernandez-Ruiz —2008 YouthActionNet Top 20 Global Young Social Entrepreneurs, Rolex Young Laureate 2010, The Outstanding Women of the Philippines youngest award recipient, Ten Outstanding Young Leaders of the Philippines 2010, Go Negosyo Inspiring Entrepreneur of the Year 2010, Jollibee Yumbassador, Ateneo Model Scholar   Timi Gomez—Executive in one of the country’s top multi-national companies   Maan Lim—Entrepreneur, Loyola University Chicago MBA Graduate, Strategic Manager   Memey Mendoza— Executive in one of the country’s top Telecommunications company working on community enabling and empowerment through technology and skills, Entrepreneur   Mark Ruiz—Top 10 Outstanding Young Leaders of the Philippines (Asia 21), Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, Go Negosyo Inspiring Entrepreneur of the Year 2010, Hapinoy Managing Director and Co-Founder  

TJ Agulto  

Memey Mendoza  

Maan Lim  

Fr. Xavier  Alpasa  S.J.  

Ange Benavides-­‐Bulan  

Reese Fernandez  

Bam Aquino  

Timi Gomez  

Mark Ruiz  

LGTVP—The LGT Venture Philanthropy Foundation (LGTVP) was founded in 2007 on the initiative of, and with funds from, the Princely Family of Liechtenstein. Its mission is to raise the sustainable quality of life for less advantaged people especially in the developing world. Applying a venture philanthropy approach, we seek to support both non-profit and for-profit organizations active in the areas of alleviating human suffering, education, and sustainable livelihoods by providing capital, as well as knowledge, strategic support and access to relevant contacts and networks. The aim is to create long-lasting sustainable impact while building the structures to enhance long-term development and self-empowerment. LGTVP makes use of grants, loans and equity investments. Any generated profit is channelled back into the fund and will be used for additional investments.


Rags2Riches Inc. Management Committee Reese Fernandez-Ruiz President Reese Fernandez-Ruiz graduated from Ateneo de Manila University with a bachelor degree in Management year 2007. As the leader who co-founded and grew Rags2Riches to a sustainable and scalable level, Reese is recognized as one of the emerging young change makers in the world. Testimonial: Reese is the heart of this organization. She embodies everything that Rags2Riches stands for – the empowerment of women, care for the environment, and social justice for the marginalized. I knew it from the first time I heard her tell the story of Rags2Riches that she loves with her whole being what she does. – Miguel Abrera, Community Enterprise Activation Officer


Rags2Riches Inc. Management Committee Vivian Lee Operations Manager Vivian Lee has joined Rags2Riches as its Operations Manager for 11 months as part of LGT Venture Philanthropy's iCats Fellowship program. Her focus will be on increasing operating efficiency through improvements to the supply chain and organizational effectiveness, as well as supporting the President with strategic decision-making and other high-level initiatives. Vivian brings with her five years of management consulting experience with a focus on operational process improvement, supply chain assessment and strategic sourcing.   After graduating from Northwestern University in the USA with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering & Management Science, Vivian joined Archstone Consulting for three years, where she worked on a number of process improvement and cost reduction projects across a variety of industries.    


Rags2Riches Inc. Management Committee Production Team Nelson Baclayo Director for Production and Product Development Nelson Baclayo is the dedicated Director for Production and Product Development for Rags2Riches. He has 18 years of extensive experienced in product development, sourcing, production and quality control of apparel, bags, accessories, footwear and swimwear for local and international brands. While his credentials and experience are indeed, impressive, Nelson is exceptional because of his amazing ability to be part of the Rags2Riches community. Testimonial: Mr. Nelson Baclayo is very hardworking, firm, and gentle. He fixed the major problems in our production system and treated our community members as his friends. He is a very happy and generous person. – Fencia Fonte, Empowered woman from R2R Cooperative, Production Coordinator

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Rags2Riches Inc. Management Committee Production Team Nhing Estabillo Community Production Coordinator Testimonial: From a struggling "entrepreneur" in the Payatas area to an empowered community coordinator of the Rags2Riches Cooperative, Nhing Estabillo or “Ate Nhing” has transcended Payatas’ poverty through hard work, perseverance and faith in oneself that she too can make a difference; that she too can effect change in our society. Currently, Ate Nhing together with over 400 empowered women continuously inspire and give hope to more women; that regardless of one’s location, even if it’s Payatas, there’s always that chance and opportunity to better one’s life. – Joe Mark Pardinas, Sales and Marketing Manager

Fencia Fonte Community Production Coordinator Testimonial: Fencia Fonte is very passionate, progressive, and talented. She selflessly shares her skills with her community within and outside her area, Payatas. She manages to successfully juggle her roles as a mother of 2, a good wife, and a Rags2Riches leader. – Helen Guerrero, Finance and Admin Officer       

Jhane Abris Product Development Community Coordinator Testimonial: Jhane Abris or “Ate Jhane” is an embodiment of a “can do” attitude. With her full commitment and determination to succeed in life, Ate Jhane has become a role model to her colleagues in the Rags2Riches Cooperative, particularly the product development team. She has given the women of Payatas a whole new perspective to what a real commitment is – she has placed her heart to everything that she does, be it a small thing or a big challenge that’s almost impossible to achieve. To her, with all the obstacles in life, she can! -- Joe Mark Pardinas, Sales and Marketing Manager


Rags2Riches Inc. Management Committee Sales and Marketing Team Dana Guzman International Sales and Marketing Manager Dana Guzman stepped down temporarily from her position as founder partner and CEO of Dedalo AC, a Zurich based agency for international sales / marketing and business strategy development for Colombian social enterprises, to join Rags2Riches as International Sales and Marketing Manager for 11 months as part of LGT Venture Philanthropy's iCats Fellowship program. Dana brings in seven years of work experience in strategy and international business development, cross-border trade and international market analysis, as well as a bachelor degree in Government and International Affairs from Externado de Colombia University in Bogota, Colombia, and a graduate degree in International Business and Trade in joint program with Columbia University in NYC, USA and Externado de Colombia University in Bogota, Colombia.

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Rags2Riches Inc. Management Committee Sales and Marketing Team Matt Pardinas Sales and Marketing Manager Matt Pardinas is a distinguished graduate of the Ateneo de Naga University. He graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor degree in Management-Honors. Matt has been recognized as an outstanding student leader during his college years, and he is now making his mark as an outstanding social enterprise marketer and advocate. Testimonial: Matt is the epitome of a great manager. He is very effective and efficient. Aside from this, he is also dedicated and passionate for our shared cause. And this is what makes him all the more effective. – Nelson Baclayo, Director for Production and Product Development

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Rags2Riches Inc. Management Committee Sales and Marketing Team Michelle Smith Sales and Marketing Associate Michelle is a graduate of the Ateneo de Naga University. She has a great eye for style and fashion and is now using these to upcycle scraps into amazing products. Aside from her fashion sense, Michelle also has the charm and skills to explain to customers why Rags2Riches should be their next purchase. Testimonial: Michelle is very good in dealing with people. She is also assertive & willling to expand her horizon. These are excellent qualities of an emerging eco-ethical fashionista and advocate. – Nelson Baclayo, Director for Production and Product Development      

William Ang Sales and Marketing Logistics Officer William is the Sales and Marketing Logistics officer of Rags2Riches. He is resourceful, friendly, and an excellent customer service representative of Rags2Riches. He is also the husband of one of the Rags2Riches community members. Testimonial: William Ang is very diligent and hardworking; I know that I can always rely on him to accomplish the tasks assigned to him. He not only works hard, but does it with a sincerity and honesty that you can see in his face. His bright smile always livens up the office and his laugh is infectious. – Miguel Abrera, Community Enterprise Activation Officer


Rags2Riches Inc. Management Committee Community Enterprise Activation Team Miguel Abrera Community Enterprise Activation Officer Miguel is a graduate of AB Social Sciences, Ateneo de Manila University, batch 2007. He served as a campus minister in Catarman Northern Samar (Philippines) as a Jesuit Volunteer. He is serving in Rags2Riches as the builder of community-based enterprises. Testimonial: Miguel is great in coming up with techniques to help our communities understand business skills and other lessons. He is very approachable. He is also the one that mothers can approach to ask for advice. --Cynthia Cabrera, Community Expansion Supervisor Jing Ludovice Community Training Officer Testimonial: Jing is the bubbly, passionate, compassionate, and creative Community Training Officer of Rags2Riches. Her love for the communities is contagious and infectious. Even though she is now no longer part of the formal Rags2Riches team, she still continues to support Rags2Riches and the social enterprise movement in Singapore. – Reese Fernandez, President Cynthia Cabrera Community Expansion Supervisor Ate Cynthia is the Community Expansion Supervisor of Rags2Riches, Inc. She is the gracious face of Rags2Riches in areas outside our current area, Payatas. She is part of the team responsible for the effective and efficient expansion of the Rags2Riches program to more communities. She is also an empowered resident and community leader of one of Rags2Riches’ communities, Payatas. Testimonial: Cynthia is a strong and compassionate leader. She is very effective in her work as Community Expansion Supervisor and she is also very committed as a servant leader in church. – Jane Abris, Product Development Community coordinator  


Rags2Riches Inc. Management Committee Finance and HR Team Helen Guerrero Finance and HR Officer Helen is the Finance and HR Admin Officer of Rags2Riches, Inc. She graduated as an accountant and has years of experience working in large corporations. She chose to work in Rags2Riches because of the cause and the challenge. Testimonial: She is compassionate when it comes to the advocacy and gently firm when it comes to putting the house in order. Ms. Helen is also a very funny, quirky, and caring team player. Her spirituality is also inspiring. – Reese Fernandez, President            

Marco Graban Finance and HR Logistics Officer Marco is the Finance and HR Logistics officer of Rags2Riches. He is resourceful, respectful, and a great representative of Rags2Riches for whatever event or function. He is also the husband of one of the Rags2Riches community members. Testimonial: Marco is very kind, hard-working and responsible. He fulfills his duties seriously but happily. He is always willing to help out everyone and he is truly trustworthy. – Fencia Fonte, Community Coordinator


Rags2Riches Inc. Management Committee LGT Venture Philanthropy Joan Yao Investment Manager Joan is the Investment Manager for Southeast Asia of LGT Venture Philanthropy. She is primarily responsible for deal sourcing and investment analysis, deal execution, and managing LGT Venture Philanthropy's portfolio in the region. She has worked closely with the Rags2Riches team since June 2009, providing ongoing support on a variety of strategic and operational issues. Â

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Rags2Riches Cooperative The Rags2Riches Producers Cooperative was established last 2010 by the group of empowered women from Payatas. The Cooperative is fully owned by the mothers and will be fully managed by the end of 2011. The Rags2Riches Producers Cooperative is also a stakeholder and shareholder of Rags2Riches, Inc.

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Milestones 2010

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Partnership with LGTVP About LGT Venture Philanthropy LGT Venture Philanthropy was founded in 2007 on the initiative and with funds from the Princely Family of Liechtenstein. Its mission is to increase the sustainable quality of life of less advantaged people. To realize this mission, LGT Venture Philanthropy supports organizations with outstanding social and environmental impact. In addition, the LGT Venture Philanthropy team in five continents inspires clients for active philanthropy, provides individualized philanthropic advice and investment implementation. Its broad range of clients benefits from the experience, systems, processes and networks built by implementing the philanthropic engagement of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein/LGT Group. LGT Venture Philanthropy provides three kinds of capital to supported social organizations: •  Financial capital in the form of equity, debt or grants •  Intellectual capital through close mentoring and the iCats Program •  Social capital by giving organizations access to relevant networks During the 4th quarter of 2009, LGT Venture Philanthropy’s Investment Manager for Southeast Asia, Joan Yao, got in touch with Rags2Riches’ President, Reese Fernandez, and started discussions about a potential engagement with LGT Venture Philanthropy. After about 6 months of intensive and extensive due diligence, LGT Venture Philanthropy and Rags2Riches agreed on an engagement. LGT Venture Philanthropy’s engagement with Rags2Riches is more than just financial (mix of equity and loan) – LGT Venture Philanthropy is also Rags2Riches’ partner in growing its sustainable impact. LGT Venture Philanthropy provides Rags2Riches with meaningful and strategic partners and networks to advance the work that Rags2Riches is doing.   This 2011, LGT Venture Philanthropy has placed two skilled and experienced professionals as iCats Fellows under their iCats Program, who will serve as International Sales and Marketing Manager and Operations Manager for 11 months.  



Rags2Riches Ambassadress Chin Chin Gutierrez Chin Chin Gutierrez has earned a lot of distinctions in Environmental Education, being named one of Time Magazine’s “Asian Heroes” in 2003 and one of The Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service (TOWNS) for environmental advocacy in 2004. She has supported a lot of causes for ecological awareness and recently became part of Rags2Riches as its official Eco-Ethical Ambassador for the Philippines.


Partnership with Vivian Sarabia Optical and CIBA Vision Fresh Look For Sarabia and partners CIBA Vision and Fresh Look, it’s important to “see life clearly – giving “light” and hope to seeing life at a better perspective”. This is the exact same vision Rags2Riches wants its community members to have – a perspective that transcends poverty through living a sustainable lifestyle, upcycling waste and empowering women and their communities. The partnership shared the same vision on a social cause that provides for a “quality” life.

Photos from:  Vivian  Sarabia  Op4cal  Facebook  Page  


RIIR by Aranaz Spring / Summer Collection Launch

Every fashion season, the Rags2Riches featured designer applies his/her signature designer techniques to our designer line, RIIR, which are then expertly handcrafted and hand-woven by the highly empowered Rags2Riches women artisans, who are affectionately called the “Nanays” of Payatas. For Spring/Summer 2010, the RIIR by ARANAZ features an exceptional convergence of upcycled cotton fabric scraps and organic raw materials like Pandan and Bankuang. Every piece contains lines and swirls and are in vibrant, bright and neutral colors.  25   RIIR by ARANAZ Spring/Summer 2010 Collection. Social Statements in STYLE.

Rolex Young Laureates Award 2010 Five visionaries aged under 30 from Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, the Philippines and the United States have been selected as the Young Laureates in the inaugural Rolex Awards for E n t e r p r i s e Yo u n g L a u r e a t e s Programme. Chosen from a pool of nearly 200 candidates worldwide by an international jury of experts, these outstanding social entrepreneurs impressed the judging panel with their passion and conviction to overcome challenges in the areas of science and health, applied technology, exploration, the environment and cultural preservation.  “Rolex is delighted to support these exceptional young men and women who represent the best of their generation,” said Rebecca Irvin, director of philanthropy at Rolex. “In tackling the problems that face humanity, they do not think in traditional ways or stick to old ideas. Their innovative projects have begun to have a profound effect on their own communities, and potentially could improve the lives of millions of people.”  An expansion of the long-standing Rolex Awards for Enterprise, the Young Laureates Programme honours men and women between the ages of 18 and 30 with inventive ideas. The Rolex Awards international network of innovators, comprised mainly of former Laureates, is available for guidance and to help the winners take the projects to another stage. Excerpt taken from: http:// media_centre/rolex_announces_first_winners


The Rags2Riches Quality of Life Program Aside from providing communities with a regular source of income, Rags2Riches also designed a system that encourages productivity and enhances the quality of life of its community members. This system is called the Quality of Life Program (“QLP”). With Rags2Riches’ Quality of Life Program, communities will have the opportunity to create for themselves real and lasting impact. Below is the model of the Quality of Life Program that Rags2Riches is pioneering in the Philippines. What is the Quality of Life Program? The Quality of Life Program is comprised of Fair wages + Savings Plan + Incentives. Fair wages are computed using an accurate and updated time & motion study that measures the average length of time to create each product. Then, a per minute multiplier is computed based on a daily wage – either the minimum wage or higher, or as discussed with our communities. This daily wage is divided by 8 hours and divided by 60 minutes. For every product created, the artisans will receive outright fair wages and will automatically have a percentage directed towards a savings plan that will enable them to choose programs that will improve their lives, such as education plans and investments. On top of this, artisans will also receive incentives for quality and ontime deliveries in order to encourage and reward results.   Who can benefit from the Quality of Life Program?

Outright daily   wages,  fairly   computed  

AutomaRc Savings   Program  for   insurance  and   investments  


All communities that are in partnership with Rags2Riches.


The Rags2Riches Quality of Life Program

Rags2Riches implemented the Quality of Life Program last May 2010. In 2010, the QLP enabled our community members to save up to PHP 180,000.00 (around 4,000 USD) within only a few months. The QLP was also very well received by the community members. According to some testimonials, the mothers found the QLP really helpful for them, as it not only helped them with the discipline of saving money, but also assisted them in thinking long term. With the Rags2Riches QLP, Quality of Life can really last a lifetime.

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The Establishment of the Rags2Riches Producers Cooperative

Rags2Riches is in partnership with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and one of the biggest telecommunications company in the Philippines, SMART Communications. SMART funded a series of trainings facilitated and organized by PBSP, called the Organizational Strengthening Program. Through PBSP’s Organizational Strengthening Program, the Rags2Riches Producers' Cooperative in Payatas evolved into a more cohesive and dedicated group of weavers. The new batch of officers have made progress by creating systems and policies for the Rags2Riches Producers Cooperative, which they independently own and manage. The Rags2Riches Producers Cooperative is also a shareholder of Rags2Riches, Inc.

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Opening of the Rags2Riches Creamsilk Women Empowerment Center The Creamsilk Women Empowerment Center (CWEC) was formally opened for use on April 19, 2010. Guests were treated to a short interactive tour of the production area, where the community members showed them the different steps involved in making Rags2Riches products.

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Rags2Riches Community Mothers’ Day Celebration

Rags2Riches celebrated Mothers' Day with our community “nanays” (mothers) on the 21st of May in a resort in Montalban, Philippines. The mothers were able to bring their home cooked meals to share with their communities, and Rags2Riches gave each a simple token of appreciation along with roses.


RIIR by Rajo Laurel Tree Bag Launch, June 2010

Rags2Riches has always wanted to collaborate with more communities and get them involved in its Eco-Ethical campaign. In 2010, RIIR by Rajo Laurel, Rags2Riches’ designer brand, in partnership with AntHill Fabric Gallery and San Carlos Development Board Inc., launched the RIIR by Rajo Laurel Tree Bag at Travel Café Philippines, Greenbelt 5. The RIIR by Rajo Laurel Tree Bag is the first line that supports three different communities with unique areas of expertise. Every Tree Bag purchased gives life to a new tree and is a celebration of the tradition of Ilocano weaving and Filipino culture.


Launch of the Mercato Bag, RIIR Aranaz for Bounty Fresh @ Members Only, October 2010

Gourmet Chicken Hors d'oeuvres from Bounty Fresh. Stylish Eco-Ethical RIIR Aranaz Bags. Beautiful Eco-Ethical Muses. Exciting hosting lessons. One Beautiful Event. RIIR ARANAZ, Bounty Fresh Muses: Audrey Tan-Zubiri Amanda Griffin-Jacob Hindy Weber-Tantoco Kaye Termulo-Garcia Issa Litton Juana Manahan-Yupangco Loralee Baron-Soong Erica Paredes Nicole Jacinto

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Rags2Riches Community Artisans Training in ARANAZ and School of Fashion and the Arts (SOFA Manila)

Amina Aranaz-Alunan, her mother Becky Aranaz, and SOFA Manila gave scholarships to the Rags2Riches community artisans for them to learn more about different weaving techniques and bag construction.

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RIIR by ARANAZ Fall/Holiday Collection Launch

ECO-ETHICAL STYLE took center stage as the RIIR Designer Line unveiled its Fall/Holiday collection of signature bags and accessories created by premier designer Amina Aranaz-Alunan. The launch of RIIR-Aranaz’s Fall/Holiday collection is the collaboration of Filipino style connoisseurs – RIIR, Aranaz and Rajo Laurel, who graciously lent pieces from his couture collection for the event. The RIIR by Aranaz Fall/Holiday 2010 Collection brought forward crochet-knitted and woven fabrics in vibrant hues. The RIIR-Aranaz bags and accessories exude modern glamour, as the collection emanates fashion-forward and sophisticated styles suitable for both youthful and older fashionistas.  In 2010, Rags2Riches officially became fashion’s Eco-Ethical Lifestyle.


Rags2Riches Community Christmas Party December 16 was the Rags2Riches community Christmas party, where all of the different R2R partner communities gathered in Blue Ridge Covered Courts for a day of celebration and thanksgiving. Members were given medicine kits from Unilab, groceries from Talk N’ Text SMART, and beauty and home packages from Uniliever and Cream Silk. Special awards were also given by Surf, SMART, and Cream Silk for outstanding community members. The food and desserts were sponsored by Jollibee, Starbucks, and the members’ very own home-made Filipino delicacies. The highlights of the event were the creative presentations of the communities.


2010 Collection

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Rags2Riches 2010 RIIR Aranaz Collection Spring / Summer

For catalogue requests, kindly email

38 Miguel  Abrera  

Rags2Riches 2010 RIIR Aranaz Collection Fall / Holiday

For catalogue requests, kindly email

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RIIR by Rajo Laurel Tree Bag Collection 2010

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RIIR ARANAZ Mercato for Bounty Fresh 2010


Partners and Advocates 2010

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Partner Designers

Rajo Laurel is one of the top Filipino fashion designers. His innate eye for fashion was enhanced through his training from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and Central Saint Martin’s in London. Fifteen years into his career, he has received several awards locally and internationally for fashion design and entrepreneurship. Last 2008, he was named as one of the People of the Year 2008 for his excellent years as a designer and for his advocacy through Rags2Riches. Rajo Laurel is one of Rags2Riches’ first believers who truly revolutionized the social enterprise. The RIIR by Rajo Laurel line gave birth to other designer lines and began the transformation of Rags2Riches into an EcoEthical Lifestyle Brand.


Partner Designers

Amina Aranaz-Alunan is a bag designer and School of Fashion and the Arts’ (SoFA) co-founder. She graduated Cum Laude from Istituto Marangoni in Milan and returned to Manila to build the family bag brand, ARANAZ. She was awarded by Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Super as the Designer of the Year for 2006 and was nominated in the Accessories Designer of the Year category at the Mega Fashion Awards 2007. She is also a member of the Fashion & Design Council of the Philippines (FDCP). Known for her flair for fashion, she is also often cited as one of Manila's style icons. Amina Aranaz-Alunan and her mother Becky Aranaz, greatly contributed to Rags2Riches’ growth as a more sustainable social business enterprise. Amina also supported the Rags2Riches women with skills trainings through her School of Fashion and the Arts, or SOFA Manila.


Institutional Partners

Bonifacio Global City has been a home to many of Rags2Riches’ launches and events, such as the Spring/Summer Collection Launch and anniversaries. This 2011, Bonifacio Global City will become a permanent home to Rags2Riches with the installation of the Rags2Riches Architectural Piece by Ed Calma and the opening of the Rags2Riches Eco-Life Laboratory. Both the art installation and the laboratory will house creative and passionate minds that will nurture Eco-Ethical Lifestyle in the Philippines.

Cream Silk is the Philippines’ most trusted conditioner brand. As Cream Silk inspires women all over the country to bring out their hair’s full beauty potential, the brand also supports the women of Rags2Riches through its Cream Silk Women Empowerment Center in Payatas, Quezon City. The center houses the assembly line and some community artisans in the Rags2Riches Payatas Area. Cream Silk and Rags2Riches continuously inspire women to improve the quality of women’s lives and to conduct business without compromising their commitment to reduce their environmental impact.


Institutional Partners Smart Communications Inc., through its Smart Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Programs, has supported community livelihood programs and environmental causes. Recently, Smart engaged Rags2Riches into a more sustainable business partnership – the RIIR for Smart. The RIIR for Smart is a designer brand in collaboration with some of the Philippines’ young professionals, top fashion designers, empowered artisan communities and SMART Communications Inc., a responsible wireless services leader with social and environmental initiatives that are embedded, relevant and aligned to its commitment to create a cohesive, consolidated Eco-CSR and community service program. In line with Talk n' Text's Livelihood Advocacy, Tipid Sulit Pinas, Rags 2 Riches was also chosen as a Tipid Sulit Idol Community, embodying the values of hard work, ingenuity and perseverance.   A 9 month organizational Strengthening program, funded by the Tipid Sulit Pinas Fund and executed by the Philippine Business for Social Progress, was conducted for the R2R Coop.   This intervention and strengthening was instrumental in preparing the team for the official launch of the RAGS2RCIHES PRODUCERS COOPERATIVE in August 2010. As an official Information and Communications Technology (ICT) partner, Smart and R2R Inc are creating a techy idol roadmap for its community members, dedicated towards increasing the mobile literacy, internet literacy and mobile commerce capability of its members.   Smart continues to develop customized  ICT solutions for R2R to support its growth and expansion.


Institutional Partners

As a group of businesses that wants to create meaningful social change, the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP): •  implements development projects on behalf of the private sector, and •  promotes the practice of corporate citizenship as a model for poverty reduction Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), in coordination with Smart’s Tipid Sulit Program, paved the way for the development of the Payatas women’s Rags2Riches Producers Cooperative, helping it to transition into a registered and more sustainable business entity.

“We've always believed that businesses can - and should - have a positive impact on the communities they serve.” (Source: Since 2009, Starbucks Shared Planet Youth Action Grant has supported Rags2Riches’ community expansion programs and provided trainings to more than 400 mothers in Metro Manila. This grant enabled Rags2Riches to empower more women, upcycle more fabric scraps, and spread its positive influence on a wider scale.


Partners and Advocates

Bounty Fresh stepped up to household premium lifestyle with Rags2Riches by supporting our Eco-Ethical Lifestyle with its Organic campaigns. Bounty Fresh is a winner of the Asian Livestock Industry Award 2009 for Established Integrator. It also received High distinction in: Industry Leadership, Use of Technology in Operations, Health and Safety, and Marketing and Promotions.

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Partners and Advocates

Jake Verzosa Photographer

Jake Verzosa is a freelance photographer based in Manila. His work as a successful fashion and commercial photographer has given him a chance to expand his craft and has taken him to outside destinations in the region. He has traveled extensively around Southeast Asia and includes documentaries and portraits as his personal work. His works have been exhibited in Manila, Singapore and Paris. Source:

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Social Enterprise Partners

“Where Culture meets Style”. AntHill builds an Alternative Nest and Training Hub for Ingenious/Indigenous Little Livelihood Seekers.

“Building communities to end poverty”. Gawad Kalinga promotes Volunteerism in Nation-Building.

“We Clean. We Green. We Educate”. Messy Bessy is a line of worry-free household cleaning products; proceeds go to their scholarship program.


Partners and Advocates PR, Marketing, and Events

ActivAsia is an enterprise that believes in doing well by doing good – from the development of strategic insights that help create a social impact to mounting solid executions that aspire to delight and deepen the human experience.

Bright Idea Events Management is an emerging PR and Events Agency. BRIGHT IDEA is a dynamic partnership that banks on passion and teamwork.

LDL is a boutique advertising agency that provides end-to-end marketing services. LDL also deals with operations and sales on a consultancy basis, depending on the needs and wants of our clients.

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Partners and Advocates

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Partners and Advocates Awards and Recognitions 2008-2010



Partners and Advocates Media and Publications

The Philippine’s leading business newspaper represents four decades of professional economic journalism. is the site for the Filipina professional.

Highlife is the guide to the luxury lifestyle, the good life, the Highlife.

MEGA Publishing Group is the DISTINCTIVE FILIPINO voice that delivers the best of local and international design and lifestyle trends to an increasingly sophisticated Filipino market. 


Results 2010

Rags2Riches in 3 Years From 3 to over 450 empowered community members From 1 to 24 communities From 18 to over 2,000 indirect beneficiaries From a wage of USD .16 cents per day to a potential of USD 12 per day, increasing average household income by 100%-200% From 1 to 14 full-time employees From 200 USD initial capital to revenues of over 350,000 USD From social stigma to national pride From Rags to Riches 55 Â



What’s Weaving for 2011?


EcoLife Lab is an innovation and social entrepreneurship center creating products that are Eco-Ethically designed and produced through fostering collaborations with renowned designers, engineers, scientists, and artisan communities. The EcoLife Lab was started by Rags2Riches, Inc. as a platform to spread positive influence. The EcoLife Lab is already operational as a department in Rags2Riches and is currently creating new weaving techniques and discovering new eco-ethical materials. The Lab will be formally launched by 4th quarter this year. Are you an industrial designer, engineer, fashion designer, chemist, community artisan, materials expert, or simply an Eco-Ethical Advocate? You can be part of the EcoLife Laboratory!

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This 2011, we are looking ahead towards… An event and exhibit that will celebrate women and happiness. Imagine colorful pieces intricately woven by the skilled hands of empowered artisans and designed by one of the country’s most celebrated designers who is making waves in Hollywood. Another magical event and exhibit that will showcase exquisite art home pieces designed by an Internationally renowned Filipino Designer. A beautiful and eco-ethical international model who is joining Rags2Riches as our international ambassadress. An amazing customer-centered, stylish website and online store that will open up a Rags2Riches to the world. A unique community franchise model that will more easily allow new communities to become part of the Rags2Riches family. Stylish and Eco-Ethically conscious international outlets that will carry the Rags2Riches brand. And more… RIIR Exclusive designs for exclusive advocates, surprising new materials and concepts, and over 250 new community members and artisans who will help us move forward this year in an Eco-Ethically, stylish way.


Be an Eco-Ethical Lifestyle Advocate this 2011

Eco-Ethical advocates who want to live a lifestyle that is life-giving Garment factory owners who are looking for a sustainable cause Communities who want to be part of Rags2Riches Designers who want to change the world through upcycling and empowering communities Corporations who want to integrate social responsibility with building your brand You can be part of Rags2Riches! 60 Â

rags2riches manifesto My lifestyle is life giving. I refuse to live in any other way. I believe that we should never compromise beauty for life or life for beauty. They come together, and they are perfect together. I live an Eco-Ethical lifestyle. I am a stylish, Eco-Ethical advocate. I believe in recognizing the names and faces of the hands that made the products I enjoy. I want to know that the products that enrich my lifestyle also enrich and empower the lives of the community artisans who make them. I am not a worshipper of faceless brands. I respect and admire the humanity woven into every fabric and fiber of the products I love. I believe that while fashion changes with seasons, style is timeless. And when style is fused with Eco-Ethical values, it then becomes Eternal. Eco-Ethical style is more than a fashion statement, it is a social statement. This stylish social statement makes me a stylish advocate. I believe in celebrating a beautiful and stylish lifestyle without scarring the planet in any way. My beauty and stylishness is a reflection of the beauty of the planet made even more beautiful by my decisions. I live and breathe Eco-Ethical products. Upcycling uplifts me. Organic makes me ecstatic. My stylish lifestyle gives life to the planet. I live the Eco-Ethical lifestyle. I live and celebrate Rags2Riches.

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Photo Credits: Cover Photo: Jake Verzosa, Ambassadress: Chin-Chin Gutierrez Photos of Chin-Chin Gutierrez: Jake Verzosa Photos of Rags2Riches Team: Miguel Abrera Photos of Rags2Riches Board of Directors: taken from respective board of directors Photos of Communities and events: Miguel Abrera Photos of Products , Macro view of products, and article divider photos Rolex Awards/Marc Latzel Logos of companies – from company websites Anthill and Rags2Riches TreeBag photo – Dresses of Chin-Chin Gutierrez: Rajo Laurel


Rags2Riches 2010  

Eco Ethical Lifestyle 2010

Rags2Riches 2010  

Eco Ethical Lifestyle 2010