Social Enterprise: How Rags2Riches do good design, and provide employment opportunities

Today I’m sharing with you a thriving social enterprise in the fashion business that brings high impact to the social development of a community. This eco-conscious fashion label has since attracted global retailers to stock their high quality produce, and be ambassadors to their brand and mission. How do they do it?

Rags2Riches – a  Manila, Philippine, based social enterprise that produces hand-made handbags by local artisans and locally sourced materials. Their mission is to ‘lift Filipino artisans out of poverty’.


Founded by Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, Reese was inspired by a visit to Payatas, one of the poorest urban communities in the Philippines, when she discovered talented artisans and craftsmen weaving beautiful items but were grossly underpaid due to the trappings of middlemen. These artisans were earning less than 30 cents (USD) per day, which were way below poverty line.

Determined to change the livelihoods of these artisans, Reese launched the initiative in 2007, and the atelier has since trained 900 urban artisans, enabling them to earned dignified wages and stay out of poverty.


The founder’s commitment to include these four ethos, Collaborative & Conscious Design, Empowering and Inclusive Progress, Conscientious Commerce, and To Share Oneself, have since been their pillars of success and their ever growing zeitgeist to stay true to their mission.

With its recent partnership with Antropologie, a UK based retail outlet, R2R bags and fashion accessories have been very well received thanks to their high quality produce made with love by their artisans. We’ve been a fan since discovering the label early this year and their classic collection is a personal favourite.

Here are some of their handbags on Instagram,



A Social Enterprise that got Social Media right

Their most recent collection, The Ampersand Collection has its own microsite which is both captivating and inviting to the readers. The style of story-telling on the type of women that the brand associates with is vividly delivered by the images and videos through out the microsite.





Brilliant work by the social media team!  We love, we like, and here’s the link to their shop site >


Zee Ng

Zee is a digital strategist who have worked in a number of online enterprise. She believes in technology and creativity that change lives for the better. When not blogging, she enjoys cafe-hopping, nature trails, being near the ocean and discovering films. Get in touch, for collaboration.