The Joyful Stories & Faces Behind Our 5 Stores: Part 1

May 22, 2016 1 Comment

The Joyful Stories & Faces Behind Our 5 Stores: Part 1

If you're part of the R2R Advocate Community and get our newsletters and joyful stories straight to your inbox, you've probably received a couple of letters from our president and co-founder, Reese. Recently, she shared with our advocates the R2R story and our main strategy for sustainability: providing market access for our artisans. "It is quite straightforward – the more we are able to sell, the more livelihood we are able to create and support!" she said in her email.

One of the ways we get this market access for our artisans is through the sharing of our products and stories through our five retail stores across Metro Manila: Glorietta 1, Power Plant Mall, The Podium Mall, TriNoma, and UP Town Center. 

Aside from our many handwoven and handmade bags to be found in the R2R stores, the other special thing about them is our amazing team of store ambassadors. They're called store ambassadors because they are so much more than just sales associates or sales staff members; our store ambassadors are true representatives of R2R! You can strike a conversation with them when you visit any of our stores and they can share with the many joyful stories under their belt.

Fun fact: Did you know that some of our store ambassadors are also artisans who transitioned to sales or are part of our communities?

When you visit any of our 5 stores, strike a conversation with them! You can ask our ambassadors about how our products are made, their lives, the impact of R2R, and their impact on their communities back home.

For now, though, we're going to introduce to you 5 of our current store ambassadors – one from each store! Some of you may already know them but we’ve just interviewed them about their favorite experiences with you (our advocates!) and their hopes and dreams for R2R, among many other joyful stories. Read on below.

Ana Millan, Store Ambassador of R2R Glorietta

Rags2Riches-R2R-Store-Ambassador-Glorietta-Ana-Millan

1. When did you start your R2R journey?

I started in R2R as an artisan in the year 2008 then I became a store ambassador last 2014!

2. What’s the most joyful part of being a store ambassador?

I get to learn so much by meeting new people. I learn from the people I’m always around with at the store.

3. Do you have a favorite advocate experience?

My favorite advocate experience is probably with my regulars, Ma’am Cris Foster and Ma'am Yam Enriquez. They're my regular customers here in Glorietta and they always buy Buslos and Buslo Minis, even buying bags from our seasonal collections. They're my favorite because they're always so nice and they smile a lot when conversing with me.

4. What do you love most about our advocates?

I love it the most when our advocates are being really friendly with us store ambassadors.

5. What’s your favorite R2R bag and why?

My favorite is the Buslo because it’s beautiful and I can use it in so many occasions.

6. Who are you weaving joyful stories for?

I’m weaving joyful stories and doing this work at R2R for my family and most especially for my son.

7. In five years, where do you hope to see R2R?

I hope R2R gets bigger and reaches international, that we’re not just here in the Philippines and it becomes successful all over the world.

Sugar Ang, Store Ambassador of R2R Power Plant Mall

Rags2Riches-R2R-Store-Ambassador-Power-Plant-Mall-Sugar-Ang

1. When did you start your R2R journey?

I started in R2R back in November 2007 as an artisan.

2. What’s the most joyful part of being a store ambassador?

I think the most joyful part of being a store ambassador is when I meet advocates who can’t help but show their appreciation for how beautiful our products are.

3. Do you have a favorite advocate experience?

We have a lot of regular customers here in Power Plant Mall. They always drop by the store and share stories with us. They’re like our friends when they talk to us! And that’s what’s most joyful about this work.

4. What do you love most about our advocates?

What I like and love most about our advocates is how much they love and support R2R and its artisans and story.

5. What’s your favorite R2R bag and why?

I love my Reese Wallet because I can always bring it with me in my different bags!

6. Who are you weaving joyful stories for?

I’m weaving joyful stories for my children. I work because of them, especially now because they go to school. I also really want to share with them how much of a big help R2R is to our family.

7. In five years, where do you hope to see R2R?

In five years, I hope to see more stores and more of us ambassadors, that R2R gets more known and we get to have more advocates who end up as our friends.

Diane Pelias, Store Ambassador of R2R The Podium Mall

Rags2Riches-R2R-Store-Ambassador-Podium-Mall-Diane-Pelias

1. When did you start your R2R journey?

I was just a sub-weaver for R2R back in 2010 through Ate Sugar. I help weave the rags! But last 2015, I officially started as a store ambassador.

2. What’s the most joyful part of being a store ambassador?

The most joyful part was when I got accepted to R2R and got to meet different kinds of people like Ms. Reese. I get to encounter different kinds of personalities and that’s what I enjoy the most.

3. Do you have a favorite advocate experience?

My favorite kind of advocate is the kind who steps into the store for the first time but already know about R2R. They enter and say, “Oh, Rags2Riches! I really love this because it’s locally made.” They already know the story behind the bags!

4. What do you love most about our advocates?

What I love most about our advocates is they don’t see it as a bag made out of rags. They love R2R because of the quality of our handmade bags, how durable they are. So when they enter the store, they’re already satisfied. Then when they go out of the store, they’re so happy because they’ve bought an R2R product.

5. What’s your favorite R2R bag and why?

My favorite R2R bag is the Cruiser [from the High Seas Collection] because it’s my first one! Aside from that fact that it’s an R2R bag, I use it every day. I feel so proud when I get to use an R2R bag.

6. Who are you weaving joyful stories for?

Firstly, what I’m doing is for my family. Second, it’s for the artisans in our communities who we can help more. If they said that currently there are only 150 artisans who are active, I wish that in the future, we could have more artisans.

7. In five years, where do you hope to see R2R?

After five years, I see a steady R2R with a lot of active artisans in the communities. I want to see not just five stores but more stores and more store ambassadors so we can build a big family where we can hug each other during the ups and downs of R2R.

Erica Tosposo, Store Ambassador of R2R TriNoma

Rags2Riches-R2R-Store-Ambassador-TriNoma-Mall-Erica-Tosposo

1. When did you start your R2R journey?

Last August 2015. Honestly, during my interview, I was one of the people who judged the bags at first. I was wrong, saying that the bags were just made of rags. When I got accepted at R2R, that was when I realized that I was one of the people who misjudged our bags. I now have the responsibility to educate the advocates and tell them that this bag is not just a rag. It’s so much more.

2. What’s the most joyful part of being a store ambassador?

When I get to sell a bag to someone who doesn’t know about R2R and our artisans. At first, it’ll be difficult, especially when you’ve already explained everything. But when I get them to buy even a small item, it’s so fulfilling. It makes me think, “Wow, they listened to what I said, to the story of our artisans that I shared!” And on their part, it’s more likely that they share the R2R story to other people. Our advocates are like that. They keep on sharing the R2R story.

3. Do you have a favorite advocate experience?

Every time our advocates get informed on social media about the launching of our new stores or events, like Weaving with the Weavers, they really do come and check out our place and items. They try their best to tell other people to purchase our items, especially if they’re newly launched.

4. What do you love most about our advocates?

I love them because they love Rags2Riches!

5. What’s your favorite R2R bag and why?

My favorite R2R bag is the Buslo Mini! I find it unique and I can use it anywhere, like at the mall. It’s so easy to carry and the shape is cute.

6. Who are you weaving joyful stories for?

I’m doing it not only for our artisans but also for myself. I still get so embarrassed about my perception of our bags before. I said they were just made of rags without researching more about R2R. I was too judgemental so I think this is also a learning process for me.

7. In five years, where do you hope to see R2R?

I think about the expansion of R2R, that we’re not just good here locally but we reach the international market. We’re going to be helping more communities, not just the ones we have now in Payatas, Caloocan or Parañaque. Hopefully, we really do get more communities and our collaboration with them is continuous so we can help more people.

Marj Villanueva, Store Ambassador of R2R UP Town Center

Rags2Riches-R2R-Store-Ambassador-UP-Town-Center-Marj-Villanueva

1. When did you start your R2R journey?

I started as a weaver for the Gawad Kalinga community with R2R cooperatives back in September 2011. Then I became a store ambassador on June 10, 2015.

2. What’s the most joyful part of being a store ambassador?

I get really happy when I interact with our advocates and clients. Then when you tell them about the stories of our communities, they become advocates and buy our bags, it’s so overwhelming! It’s so nice to hear them admiring and loving our products.

3. Do you have a favorite advocate experience?

When we have a new bag or collection out, I tell our advocates over text or Viber immediately. And they’re so excited about it! They go to the store right away or they’ll ask me to reserve for them. That’s what makes me so happy.

4. What do you love most about our advocates?

Our advocates love local products a lot. Then they also say that since it’s handmade, they really see the love in the product. Each style and each product has its own story and our advocates really like it when they learn this and about our communities.

5. What’s your favorite R2R bag and why?

My Cruiser [from the High Seas Collection] is my favorite because I bought one for myself. It’s an on-the-go crossbody bag! I also love my Reese Wallet and my Lia [from the Viaje Collection].

6. Who are you weaving joyful stories for?

I’m weaving joyful stories for my fellow store ambassadors; we each have our own story to tell in each store. I’m also doing this for my family, especially for my son.

7. In five years, where do you hope to see R2R?

I hoping to see R2R spread all over the country, to have more advocates in the Philippines. Then I also want to see R2R spread internationally, of course, that people abroad will know that there is a company like R2R that exists and that we produce high-quality, handwoven, and local products that can compete abroad.

Rags2Riches-R2R-Shop-Local



1 Response

Jona
Jona

May 23, 2016

Wow! Fantastic! each ambassador i really admire :)

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