The Philippines has long been one of the best places to be a woman in terms of gender equality. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021, the country remains to be the top-performing nation in Asia, the only one to have made the Top 20, and ranks 17th out of 156 countries. With these numbers, it’s almost inconceivable to think that we’re still living in a highly misogynistic society that sometimes considers the demure “dalagang Filipina” to be the only acceptable version of a woman. Women in leadership positions are still often hit with comments about their looks, behavior, and even shoe choice.
Some may say that we should be happy that the double standards and gender disparities are becoming less and less apparent but information shows that women have had to work harder to reach where they are considering the fact that plenty of women are singlehandedly tasked with unpaid care on top of their careers. With the pandemic hitting women harder, it’s high time to give more women more opportunities to continue filling in the gaps. We need to keep working to level the playing field and encourage women of all backgrounds to pursue their dreams.
This Women’s Month, we continue to highlight a few of our favorite inspiring female-led businesses, the ladies behind them who shatter expectations and take charge, and how their brands are making a positive change for Filipinas everywhere.
The first on our list is Baby CEO, Lorina Tan of Tiny Buds. What began as a passion project to bring organic infant care products to the country is now one of the most recognized natural baby care brands in the industry. When her mother founded this family business, she had to carve a niche for themselves and it has definitely paid off. A seasoned marketing and e-commerce professional, Lorina Tan was working in Thailand when she finally got the call to return home and focus on Tiny Buds. With the same passion for their cause as her mother, she gradually grew the brand to be the go-to for discerning, eco-conscious parents in the Philippines. When the pandemic hit, inquiries and orders poured in even more and Lorina Tan took the challenge and turned it into an opportunity to double down on online sales and social media accessibility. With her knowledge in marketing, she turned the cult favorite into a major online brand by leaning into the digital initiatives that are exclusive to the internet such as live selling, blogger collaborations, and partnerships with online marketplaces and social media. When the company first launched, they were trying to fill in the gaps in the baby care industry. However, now, the industry has grown more sophisticated and they are no longer one of the few who offer it but one thing remains: their loyal customer base. This is why she credits the success of the brand to the moms and dads that trust and support their products, a relationship clear with the brand loyalty they inspire.
Discover what makes this female-led business special and try Tiny Buds' organic baby care line now, yours in a few clicks: m.me/tinybuds
Dar Ty-Nilo believes in dreams, not just hers, of course - but everyone else’s! That’s what drove her to found her company Viviamo!, Inc. Italian for “we live.” She couldn’t have picked a more fitting name for the umbrella that would house her flagship product, the Belle de Jour Power Planners. To the unkeen observer, the BDJ planners are nothing more than a fun daily journal marketed towards women. In reality, it is so much more than a simple datebook. The desire that fuels Dar Ty-Nilo and the BDJ collection is female empowerment, which is evident in every product on their growing collection. The 12-year-old brand has consistently inspired a 90,000 strong community of Filipinas to follow their dreams and take the steps towards them. What also sets the journals apart is the online and offline empowering activities that they host to help foster their users' goals, outside of the helpful prompts on the Power Planners. Another unique (and incredibly essential) feature of the BDJ collection? Their Menstrual Cycle Tracker that helps users get to know their bodies and stay on top of their monthly cycles. They also include a Bills Tracker and Cash Flow Tracker to help users take note of the financial aspects of their day-to-day life as well. With a storied career working for major companies including Summit Media, Johnson and Johnson, and Procter and Gamble, Dar Ty-Nilo could’ve easily continued onto the path towards climbing the corporate ladder. We can be glad she set out to achieve her dreams - to help us manifest ours too.
Another facet of this wave of female-led businesses is the insight of bringing positive change to society, especially when it comes to the beauty industry. One major player in the advocacy to revolutionize beauty and self-care for the better is mindful entrepreneur Rizza Lana. She is responsible for many of the body-positive and inclusive Filipino brands like Lana PH and Mink. With these brands, she doesn’t only bring something lacking in the market but she also does it in a way that uplifts Filipinas and helps them be the best version of themselves instead of convincing them they need to fit into a society-approved mold. Her eponymous skincare line Lana PH is all about healthy, holistic skin (and self!) care that’s good for you and the environment. Her other brand Mink is one of the forerunners of the local intimate care industry and embodies her core values of self-love and confidence despite societal pressures. Mink encourages its users to be bold despite the pressures around us not to. Apart from these brands, she also has three other ventures under her belt: Talaala, Whim, and Amarah’s Corner. You can hear more about her and what she’s passionate about in her podcast Camp Confidence Radio with Ayn Bernos!
Speaking of whom, beauty queen/host/TikTok star/entrepreneur Ayn Bernos rounds up our list as one of the women we love and how she’s making her mark on the local fashion and beauty industry alongside Rizza Lana. Self-love can ring hollow when beauty brands push out skin whitening products or predominantly feature fair-skinned models with sample-sized bodies. While that’s all fair game, we need entrepreneurs who will walk the talk and truly show their customers that they don’t need to change to be accepted. This multi-hyphenate does exactly that. She consistently uses her platform to stand up against colorism in the Philippines, especially with her brands, Kayu Beauty and Morena the Label. Her makeup line Kayu Beauty is created with every Filipina in mind and completely inspired by her real customers, not just international beauty trends. Morena the Label, on the other hand, is her clothing brand that champions morena skin and asks questions like, ”Who is your kayumanggi icon?”. Representation is everything and Ayn Bernos makes sure that her brands highlight all types of Filipina beauty and takes careful steps to proudly change what we collectively think is beautiful. With entrepreneurs like her on the rise, one day, you’ll never have to hear another “Bakit ang itim mo?” again.
With these women at the forefront of Filipinas in business, we can expect to see even more game changers continue to break the glass ceiling in the near future. Who knows? It might even be you.
What’s your favorite female-led business? If you’d like to see them sell inside the world’s biggest apps, let us know in the comments!
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Interested in founding your own startup or pursuing a career in tech? Read our article about women in tech and how YOU can get access to special resources for and by women in tech themselves here.