Behind Rags2Riches

Image from highercircle

Her name sounds sweet but she is more than a sweet face to begin with. With her many endeavors tapping social enterprise and women empowerment, there is no denying that Reese Fernandez-Ruiz is one role model in the field of business and social responsibility.

Reese Fernandez-Ruiz is the president and co-founder of Rags2Riches. Rags2Riches is an apparel and accessories company that aims to help women earn for themselves. Most of the designs came from renowned designers in the country like Rajo Laurel and Oliver Tolentino. More than the beautiful accessories, Reese aims to beautify as well the women who were responsible in creating each item. These women from Payatas earn 2 cents a day before and now with Rags2Riches they are now gaining an average of 12 US dollars a day. They also have a stake in the company’s cooperative. They also have access to other services like micro-savings and educational programs. More than just a global brand, Reese aims to help more women.

She grows up living around churches in Manila. She and her mother would eat there, washed their clothes there and slept in the chapel. She considers herself as freelance missionary worker who led church activities and prayer. She was exposed to varied reality at such a young age. Her friends are typically street children.
Because of generous strangers, she was able to get a scholarship and went to a university. Until now, she does not know who these strangers were. That is why, her life is grounded towards care and compassion for others especially those in poverty.

Her defining moment started when she met Ate Ning, a mother of five and a scavenger for 14 years. She would weave cloth scraps as foot rugs. However, she would not even earn 20 pesos a day for all her efforts. Reese got mad and wanted to correct this. Hence with Laurel and Fr. Xavier Alpasa, SJ, she formed Rags2Riches with the orientation towards “people, profit, planet, and positive influence.” Since she grew up with them and worked with them, she is geared towards uplifting them. No wonder Rags2Riches was established.

And now, Rags2Riches items are known globally. Locals and foreigners alike embrace the intricate designs and of course the reason behind the brand. That is why Reese is pushing not only to build a business but build a socially relevant one. It is always a win-win situation to create a business yet also help others at the same time. She states, choose compassion, kindness and love.

Indeed Reese is one entrepreneur to look up to. Her compassion for the poor is beyond overflowing as evident by her missions and goals. I do hope more businessmen and future ones would be inspired by her. 

P.S. To those doing the 52 Week Money Challenge and 52 Week Money Challenge Version 2, it is Week 16 already! Did you deposit the next amount yet?

P.P.S Want to know more about investing, savings, stock market and more, check out my reference here. You can download free ebooks and resources too.