At a recent talk in Toronto, 24 year old founder EJ Isada Mariano shared the importance of making an impact now. After contemplating whether to accept his lucrative job offers to a Google-backed high-growth startup and to work at Apple, EJ told the crowd that he opted to take an alternate route where he would make an immediate impact. Instead of choosing the path where he would wait to amass enough wealth to make an impact, EJ chose a path that gave him the opportunity to scale up a social enterprise right away. He continued to explain to the crowd that he had a relatively easy life growing up thanks to two hard working parents who paved the way for him to attend private school and a top university in the Philippines. While he was more fortunate, he explained that there are lots of people in the world who are not as lucky, and that it is his responsibility to make a change in their lives.
AKABA is a sustainable fashion brand from the Philippines founded in 2014. The company was founded by EJ along with some of his close friends from University, with the goal of providing an avenue for designers and local artisans to work together in creating a line of unique, high quality travel bags. It is the company's mission to ensure that every bag that is created not only showcases the benefits of using handwoven textiles, but demonstrates Filipino values of craftsmanship and hard work. Further, Akaba hopes to lead the movement of the creation of Filipino brands that actively work toward poverty alleviation.
In order to achieve its mission to help alleviate poverty in the Philippines, AKABA has created partnerships with weaving communities throughout the Philippines to provide resources and training. AKABA sources directly from weavers and compensates weavers at, or up to 4 times the market price traders would generally pay for bags. Further, they are working with a master loom weaver in Ilocos Norte to preserve prized weaving techniques and bring over 30 families out of poverty in the next 10 years. The company has already created a significant social impact in its first few years of operation, and plans to continue to create new partnerships as it grows and expands its global reach. To learn more about their social impact, please watch the video below:
The AKABA brand provides a large assortment of bags which include Knapsacks, Backpacks, Shoulder Bags, Tote Bags, Duffel Bags and other accessories. Each bag has a unique design, catering to both men and women looking to add an artisanal touch to their outfit. The bags are all very fairly priced, retailing under $100 and available to be purchased both online or in a variety of retail stores in the Philippines, the United States, Canada and Singapore. Our personal favorite bag is the Black and Maroon Ramit Alumno Knapsack (see below) due to its geometric patterns (we love those), it's sleek look and its ability to store laptop devices.
Comments will be approved before showing up.