Like most women, I have a constant love affair with bags. To me you can wear the most plain looking clothes all you want, as long as you carry the right bag to complete the do, then you’re all good.  The first thing I notice in a girl is always the bag that she’s carrying. Personally I think the bag that a girl carries with her says a lot about the kind of person she is. Shallow to some but I am sure a lot can relate to me as well also.  So there you go, I’m not only a shoe fanatic but a bagaholic too.
Don’t get me wrong,  I don’t make a habit of collecting signature bags. I don’t have a closet full of Guccis, Chanels, and Louis Vuittons though it has always been in my fantasy.  Sure I have a couple of expensive ones but they’re either gifts given to me by my husband or a treat to myself for a job well done. Most of them though don’t even cost as much but what I like about them is that each of my bag tells a story of how and why they came into my possession. I am more of an avid fan and follower (not even a collector) of  functional art, bags. 🙂
I’ve already shared a couple of times here that I am sucker for a good story.  Especially one that involves shoes and bags. And this bag story that I am going to share with you is no different, creativity, craftsmanship, and heart all come into play here also. This truly is one for the books. It is the Rags2Riches  story.
I am sure you know Rags2Riches, a social enterprise co-founded by Reese Fernandez which started out helping  women of the Payatas garbage dump turn their rag business around. Here’s a video of Rags2Riches’ history and development.

From the rags and rugs that they make out of scrap materials, Reese and her team sought the help and advice of popular fashion designers,  Rajo Laurel, Armina Aranaz-Aluna, and  Oliver Tolentino, and taught these women how to transform their rags into fashion handbags, eyeglass cases, wallets, notebook cases etc.  Reese and her company, Rags2Riches, also enabled these women to sell these products at top-end shops making them earn thousands a month, enough to provide for their family’s basic needs. To date, Rags2Riches has  already empowered 450  women across 21 communities in the Metro Manila area and continues to expand, making its social impact and eco-ethical footprint in the country more heartfelt than ever. Here’s some of my favorite R2R’s bags:


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I super love their wallets and notebook cases too.

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Rags2Riches, aside from providing women fair access to the market and economy, also provide these mothers with additional skills-based, financial and health training for them to reach and maximize their career potential, and for them to enjoy good long-term financial and personal well-being.

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This eco-ethical business model which Reese Fernandez  started, earned for herself the recognition of being one of the chosen five inaugural Rolex Young Laureates by the Rolex Foundation in Switzerland in 2010.
Though successfully building on her own idea, Reese acknowledges through her email to me that, “A company is never an initiative or idea of just one person. In this case, R2R is the brainchild of people who want to make a difference. =) We have the best team in the world. =).”  With the great impact R2R has created on the lives of not just these mothers but on the communities that they’ve been helping for the last five years as well, I couldn’t agree with her more. Here’s the whole Rags2Riches team who continuosly uplift the lives of women in marginal communities with their sound eco-ethical business solution and personal dedication.

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If this isn’t an excellent piece of bag story, I don’t know what is. Next time you decide to splurge on a bag, make sure it has an R2R stamp on it because believe me that bag definitely came from a  good place where People, Profit, Planet and Positive Influence played an important role in creating it, which definitely makes it bag-worthy to proudly show off and carry around.
To know more about Rags2Riches, Inc.’s advocacy and products, visit their website HERE and their facebook page HERE.

About Me

I am better known as Nan’s widow, Bianca Angela’s mom, and Woodrose’s Mrs. Dela Cruz.  I am a full time teacher and mentor, a freelance writer for various print and online publications, a marathoner, and a curator of inspiring faith stories.
I am also the author of the best selling book, Grace Upon Grace: A widow’s journey.:)


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From Amazon:
“This book describes the author’s personal journey in faith and grace as a widow and single mother to her cancer warrior child. It chronicles how she managed to rise above her fears and found joy even in moments of grief and sorrow. …”

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