Why being part of our Jacinto & Lirio team is different! We’re hiring!

Jacinto & Lirio is hiring for a social business manager!

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Our enterprise, EcoIngenuity Inc is now on its 3rd year!

So many things have happened already, and our young team has learned so much in building a business that strives to embody the values of social entrepreneurship. We have been involving volunteers and interns in our work, and they have helped us build our enterprise to where it is now, and for that we are grateful!

In the end, there is still so much more work to be done. But here are 5 reasons why joining our team at this point in time is more exciting and different from before:

1. We’re gearing for bigger growth!

Admittedly, we are still not as big as people think we are. But our goals are still definitely bigger than ever! We have nationwide partnerships with stores outside Metro Manila, (Cebu, Davao, South Luzon, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Bacolod, and soon Boracay). We exported our first shipment to the Middle East early this year and are actively looking forward to partnerships with distributors in US, Australia, UK and Japan.

You will be surprised what a lean team of young entrepreneurs can do to make that happen.

If we can get more passionate and stellar team mates on board to push more excellence in our marketing work, we can even reach more shores, and achieve more sales to channel back to the our community partners.

2. Unique entrepreneurial experience

Just hear from our previous interns on how their experience was with us:  https://jacintoandlirio.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/social-entrepreneurship-advocate/

https://jacintoandlirio.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/a-meaningful-summer-at-jacinto-lirio/

Although we don’t promise a walk in the park (it rarely is!), but we strive to open the eyes of those we work with to the awesome journey of entrepreneurship, as we ourselves learn how to build a business that strives to achieve positive social impact.

3. More mentors involved

We have amazing partnerships brewing with mentors from CBS (Consulting Business Services for Social Enterprises of the Benita & Catalino Yap Foundation), our alma mater Ateneo de Manila University, and partner organizations who have been with us right from the beginning (Philippine Business for Social Progress, Ayala Foundation, etc.)

4. Collaborative Projects

Take part in our upcoming collaborative projects with fellow social enterprises:

Human Heart Nature,

The Dream Project,

MUNI

and (something very exciting for us!)

KIVA.org

5. #LiveYOURStory Campaign

One of the key pillars of our efforts this year is our #LiveYourStory Campaign. It is an advocacy that aims to empower our customers to live the story that they always wanted to live. To create their own story, connect with the stories of others, and empower more people through their stories shared. It roots back to our own experience in Jacinto & Lirio — how we stumbled on this amazing story of the water hyacinth plant (a nusiance that was turned into a material of elegance), that was transformed by community artisans into beautiful products that in turn empower both those who buy it, and those who created it.

We know a lot of people need to live their own stories as well. Being part of our team, will allow you to be part of this movement in getting people to #LiveYourStory! Of course, we are set on embodying this as well, so you will get to LIVE YOUR OWN STORY as you grow with our team.

And if these are not enough, check out this article on what to expect when working with a startup! http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidtao/2013/05/23/innovation-is-required-9-lessons-learned-working-at-a-startup/

Do these interest you enough? If you feel a burning desire to join our team, then send us your CV at contact@jacintoadlirio.com!

We look forward to exploring possibilities with you!

Krz of TheSparkProject.com on Making Ideas Happen

Krz Lopez is a girl with big dreams in her heart! She is part of the team behind the game-changing crowdfunding site — TheSparkProject.com.

Here she is with the Kwaderno Pacem Journal which was shot in her trip to attend a Startup event in Singapore.

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Krz shares why she is passionate about the work she does for TheSparkProject:

What I’m most passionate about TheSparkProject is the amazement I always feel knowing that there are a lot of good ideas out there which are implementable, and which, if you give them full support, can even go beyond their limits. What amazes me more is  that there are a lot more generous people who are open to these ideas and would really share their resources to make those spark projects happen.

 

What’s your advice for Filipinos who want to make their ideas but feel a lot of restrictions surrounding them to make it happen?

While it’s true that there [are] many uncertainties out there to make your ideas happen, one certainty you can hold on to is that there are quite a lot of people who can and will support you along the way. So, pitch your idea to as many people as you can and jump!

Check out www.thesparkproject.com and see how you can make YOUR idea happen!

Community partner in Rizal by Anne Mariposa

Our product design head, Anne Mariposa shares her experience with the Rizal communities!

The Mariposa Girls

Today was a tiring but purposeful day for me. My entire day was spent visiting Ecoingenuity Inc.’s community partners in Rizal.

My first stop was in Cainta, Rizal. Inside my car, I immediately noticed the water hyacinth filled lake behind their houses.It’s been quite a while since I last saw fresh water hyacinths.

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Our Cainta Community recently moved out from the government’s leadership and is now an independent organization ran by their local NGO.  It seemed like a good thing  from an outsider’s point of view, but it actually is a scary beginning for our nanays since this is their first time to apply the piece rate scheme unlike their previous day rate salary scheme.

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Nanay Eds inlaying the box with water hyacinth stalks

—Inspired by the shoe box we had them make for our upcoming collaboration with Risqué Designs by Tal de Guzman

Below are their latest designs which…

View original post 195 more words

Thank you to our GIRLTANK Backers!

thankyoubackers

We have 9 days left for the campaign.

Currently, we’ve been on the ground coordinating with new partner communities and we’re moving to a new exciting project, WHICH WILL REALLY NEED YOUR SUPPORT:

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A COMMUNITY-BASED BAG MANUFACTURING in our partner community!

This will help us strengthen the product design, and sustainability AND greatly increase the income of our community partners WHO ARE AMAZINGLY TALENTED in bag-making as well!

HELP US MAKE THIS HAPPEN.
Support: http://girltank.org/campaigns/filipino-innovative-technique-makes-beautiful-and-eco-friendly-handbags/

Let’s keep the conversations going!

Jacinto & Lirio Impact Night 2013 from Jacinto & Lirio on Vimeo.

The Jacinto & Lirio Impact night last May 16, gave us a lot to think about! There were many interesting input from the audience as they tackled the 3 things that our whole enterprise (EcoIngenuity Inc.) is trying to solve —

The fact that our country is innately blessed with abundant indigenous materials and talented craftsmen, weavers, & bag-makers.

But despite this, there are 3 gaps:

1.Philippines still does not play a competitive role in the global design industry
2.Our indigenous materials are undermined and untapped
3.Most of our artisans / bag makers, etc are still living in poverty in the Philippines

The audience was divided to brainstorm for the 3 problems challenge areas.

Some of them we’re already working hard on! But we like what they mentioned!

* On growing the Filipino global competitive brand — a group talked about engaging our fellow Filipinos overseas since we’re everywhere! This is something we’re already trying to do, especially with the girltank campaign — reaching out to many Filipinos worldwide about social enterprises like us and the work that we’re doing! Hopefully they get to invest so we can do more good work (hope you can support! we have a few days left to raise funds for our social impact work. Click here)!

* On optimizing our indigneous materials — we loved Sir Vic’s input on the “ting-ting” material. We’d definitely take you up on that Sir, to explore the material more!

* On the sustainability of our community partners — one group mentioned the creation of a concept paper so we can strategically and effectively execute our plans towards this complex problem. We’re hoping that they can help us do this! It’s not our core competence, but we do agree it needs to happen!

I’m sure YOU have an interesting tidbit to share?

What would you like us to know so we can make a bigger, better impact?

Let’s keep the conversation flowing, as we’d like to hear from you!

The Change We Want to See

our company ecoIngenuity Inc. has a core mission to help our partner communities in our supply chain to be sustainable & scalable enterprises.
our company ecoIngenuity Inc. has a core mission to help our partner communities in our supply chain to be sustainable & scalable enterprises.

There is a need to strengthen the sustainability of community livelihoods using indigenous materials, which is a major source of income in various areas in Asia.

We capitalize on material innovations to create higher-value products using their indigenous materials.

These products are then marketed under a global brand that engages the market and links the communities in a supply chain synergy.

This supply chain synergy will be the platform to channel wealth back to the communities which will benefit community development and give higher quality of life.

——–

This is why our enterprise, ecoIngenuity Inc. exists.

And this is the role of our brand Jacinto & Lirio

For every purchase of Jacinto & Lirio, we contribute to the community development of our partners So they can keep transforming their families, and their communities for the better.

A Meaningful Summer at Jacinto & LIrio

by : Hannah To

Gone are the days of bumming around from morning to night. This summer had been an incredibly busy one for me—not because it had to be, but because I wanted it to be. Nothing beats the gratification I get from helping other people while enjoying and learning at the same time.

Working for Jacinto and Lirio is a blast. I’ve certainly become more aware of the problems in our community; at the same time realize how beautiful and rich it is. I decided to work for Jacinto and Lirio because I wanted a backstage pass to the world of social entrepreneurship and the retail industry at the same time. I didn’t expect to learn so much from plainly marketing the products, and I owe that to the brand’s inspiring advocacy.

Upon working as an intern, I realized that pursuing a social enterprise isn’t a one-shot deal. There are a lot of factors to consider, and it isn’t as easy as creating a typical start-up business. Our items don’t sell out as fast as other commercial products, our direct partnership with the community is time-consuming, but the customers are happy and the community is served. The results are amazingly rewarding. I’m very thankful to work alongside a very responsible and motivated bunch. Not only are they serious with the tasks at hand, but they’re also very helpful and inspiring. I learned a lot from my fellow interns, too. These are the kind of people we should be cultivating ourselves into.

Our country—although it has been through a lot—is still very young. A lot of communities remain untapped, a lot of riches yet uncovered. There is beauty in the Philippines, therefore there is hope. I did not write this entry to talk about how I changed people’s lives, but how a certain group of people changed mine.

One day, my grandchildren will ask me to tell them my story. I’d want my story to be worth telling, so that they’d want theirs to be worth telling, as well. It’s never too early or too late to help the world become a better place. You can start small; start by internalizing the fact that we have a wealthy community, but we can do a lot more to make it even better. I never thought I’d learn so much in one summer.

(Hannah To is a business management major at Ateneo de Manila University. She interned with Jacinto & Lirio during the summer of 2012)

Challenges on the ground

Our partner Water Hyacinth Group in Pampanga

This post was originally written by Kat Chan – a Filipino graduate of management engineering who visited our partner water hyacinth community in Pampanga in 2011.

A lot of things have changed since, but it’s good to look back on these experiences to remind us just how hard it is to be on the ground for social change.

Certainly, what we do is not easy as it sounds. There are real challenges that we try to overcome as we continue to journey in this road.

But this is an empowering account on the approaches we are taking to solve the problems, especially through the approach of business

Read her experience and reflections during that visit with minor notes of what has happened since.

—–

January 12, 2011

My spontaneity brought me to Pampanga, Philippines today!

Today was my most real taste of community work to date. I didn’t have much of an idea exactly what Noreen from Jacinto & Lirio wanted me to do when she invited me to go just last night, after CSI (Center for Social Innovation) night.

When I went there, I was in a meeting for price negotiations. There was a problem with the price “requested” by the community. Into the first 15 minutes of the meeting with Department of Trade industry representatives and the community Nanays (Filipino word for “mothers”), my initial hypothesis was that the costing might be flawed in terms of assumptions, estimations and even computations. Yes, some of it was, but not significantly.

What I found out was, despite what seemed like already a high price per sheet for Jacinto & Lirio (J&L), the price the community was requesting was a mile far from what will give them a minimum wage. I speculated that the problem might be that the community input costs were too high, because they were buying it at retail prices, in small quantities in nearby stores, at which I recommended that it might make more sense for J&L to provide the inputs first, since they have higher access to cheaper supplies here in Manila and can work on the possibility of sourcing these from manufacturers in bulk instead from retailers; at least until the community can do it on their own.

My next hypothesis, which I think needs to be put more attention to, is that the Nanays are simply not productive enough. And no, I’m not saying this is their fault, the cause can be derived from two key things: the process of leatherization is not optimal yet, with so much “necessary” idle time in the system and within the key processes, labor optimizing should be made available to the Nanays, because manual labor is prone to error and the water hyacinth is too delicate that speed in handling it compromises its quality. I cannot disclose how much they earn per day based on their current productivity, but I tell you that it is not enough even at subsistence levels. Labor optimizing machines should be provided not so that J&L can employ less or pay less, but so that the yield per Nanay will be enough to sustain their daily living.

My Management Engineering education might not be a waste, after all.

From this experience, I saw just how difficult it is to be a social entrepreneur.

Based on the previous paragraph, you might think J&L is evil and unjust, but speaking more from the management aspect, J&L is paying very close to the maximum it could. I already studied their costing and pricing scheme and their margins are down to the minimum it is to survive in the entrepreneurial and the competitive fashion industry.

The processing of water hyacinth is simply still too expensive, proving difficult in just how to create a viable, sustainable business around it.

From the way I experienced it, this is not simply a problem of greed or something which can be easily solved by compromise. This is just one example of the complex problems our society faces today, a micro representation of our nation’s macroeconomic issues. One might say that J&L should just compromise, further cut its margin and pay the Nanays a price that will be equivalent to their time based on minimum wage laws.

I know Noreen personally and I believe that she will if only she can, but apart from compromising J&L’s business and financial health, this “compromise” will also not be beneficial for the community in the long run. With price premiums as a form of protectionism wherein the Nanays will still be patronized despite the fact that the price paid is not even slightly equivalent to its potential returns or its market fair price, the community will not have enough incentive or drive to become more productive or efficient and without evolving into a stronger and more stable entity, they will never emerge as a supplier competitive enough to survive in the long run. Sooner or later, a competitor supplier more open to challenges will appear and take its claim of the industry. And the Philippine economy, and more still the Philippine water hyacinth market, is far too small to allow the flourishing of many players. The pie’s too small and if they don’t claim it now, it can be someone else’s in the (near) future. In this example, compromise as a solution based on a superficial analysis to a deeper problem will simply kill both parties, not benefiting even one in the end.

Businesses not backed up by an already existing power (family business, corporation, loads and loads of capital, etc.), starting up either as producers or suppliers are expected to face difficult times at the beginning, as this is a period of continuous struggle for stable cash flows, for immediate returns for steady capital accumulation and for robust strategies to deflect defensive (which sometimes end up being offensive) actions of already existing entities in that industry, who are also fighting to maintain their position.

The free market is a competitive world where the phrase “survival of the fittest” hold true, but this “screening process” wherein the unworthy are weeded out is necessary, because without being subjected to unregulated and liberal market forces, one cannot sustainably survive.

The above is just an exercise of neoclassical perspective. I love how my learnings from Management Engineering, Economics and Development Studies enables me to see the world in new fusions of light. Development studies tells me there are other ways, lens by which to see this phenomenon,

But more than a reminder on perspectives, the complexity of this problem reminds me that there isn’t always a correct answer, that development is difficult and change takes time.

READ UP ON WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE:

* Visioning Session with our Community Partners